CMO 2.0 Conversation with Will Prest, CMO at Transamerica Retirement Management

Written by on February 26, 2009 – 3:54 pm -

will prestYesterday I had the opportunity to interview Will Prest, the CMO for Transamerica Retirement Management, for yet another great CMO 2.0 Conversation (these are proving a ton of fun for me – hopefully for you, our listeners, too). Will and I talked about some of the issues and obstacles around creating  a new “challenger” brand within a larger company and in an environment that is heavily regulated.

From a marketing perspective, Will faces unique and interesting challenges. While retirement investment decisions may be some of the biggest decisions in one’s life, most people procrastinate and actually spend very little time making those decisions. Unlike the tax world, where you have to pay your taxes every April 15th, the retirement market has no such deadlines. For most people, retirement investment decisions are, surprisingly perhaps, not top of mind. Add to that the fact that the products one can choose from are fairly complex and you start understanding the unique marketing problem he faces – how do you get people’s attention in a space like that and how do you alter their behavior when you know that current behavior is not in the person’s best interest?

Here again we covered a wide variety of topics, including how:

  • you switch market penetration strategies when your initial plans prove harder to achieve than previously thought
  • to reach people when they increasingly make buying decisions based on information that does not come from the company
  • to insert branded content into conversations that you do not control and in a heavily regulated space
  • you can get customer and market insights into your product innovation process

We also talked about the importance of the company culture in allowing a startup to flourish by trying things, failing fast and learning.

You can listen to the CMO 2.0 Conversation below. We will also be posting transcripts of the interview soon.


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Posted in CMO 2.0 Conversation | 2 Comments »

CMO 2.0 Conversation with Paul Levy, CEO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Written by on February 18, 2009 – 6:04 pm -

paul-levyI had a great CMO 2.0 Conversation today with Paul Levy, the President and CEO of the Harvard affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) here in the Boston area.

Just as with his blog Running a Hospital, or his Twitter and Facebook streams, Paul’s no-nonsense attitude and his sharp mind provided for a really fun and insightful discussion.

Paul spoke at length about how transparency was a key factor in changing the culture within BIDMC that allowed it to transform itself from a near failing Academic hospital to a viable institution. He also talked about how they reframed themselves with a focus on the science of care delivery instead of cure delivery (it reminded me of the Eli Lilly story where the reframing of their purpose led to a true transformation.)

In the case of BIDMC, success meant a fair amount of behavioral changes for a staff that does not necessarily take top-down advice – something that is really hard to do. In that context Paul described the importance of creating a blame-free zone as well as including the people whose behavior needs to change into the change management training process.

The conversation went into many different and interesting directions – including:

  • the role of social media in scaling word of mouth and changing the way people make health care decisions
  • the role of social media in transforming marketing, advertising and communications
  • the importance of customer satisfaction in the health care space
  • the difference between protecting brand reputation vs. earning it
  • how far to take openness
  • general health policy issues

You can listen to the full interview below. We will soon put edited transcripts on the site as well.


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Posted in CMO 2.0 Conversation | 7 Comments »
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