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How Cleveland Clinic Builds Brand Recognition via Multichannel Marketing

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer
Paul G Matsen

Paul Matsen Cleveland Clinic

[SHSMD14 Speaker Podcast Series] Stewart Gandolf, CEO of Healthcare Success talks with Cleveland Clinic’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Paul G. Matsen. Mr. Matsen will be speaking at the 2014 SHSMD Connections Conference on the topic: Building a Global Healthcare Brand Through Multichannel Marketing.

In today’s podcast, Stewart Gandolf and Paul Matsen discuss how the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic has successfully built a widely recognized and trusted brand...without a dependence on traditional or large media advertising budget. Some of the topics discussed in this podcast include:

  • Building an effective mix of Paid, Owned and Earned media at Cleveland Clinic;
  • The dramatic growth of Owned media, with over 90 million website visits per year;
  • How social media and mobile devices are vital to brand storytelling;
  • Leveraging existing assets and multi-channel content marketing; and
  • Designing a messaging strategy and great content around the needs of the consumer.

Here are some of the highlights from this discussion with Paul Matsen—topics which will be part of his upcoming SHSMD presentation:

Stewart Gandolf: How does Cleveland Clinic determine priorities and the best use of available time and budget toward building a global brand?

Paul Matsen: It’s a process of learning what has been effective for us in the marketplace. Over time we have built a good mix of Paid, Owned and Earned media. Of course, we don’t have the budget to rely on paid media—particularly on a global scale. So we have had to be smart and innovative about how to use Earned and Owned media in the mix.

Over the last three to five years, the explosion of digital media and mobile has transformed our ability to reach people around the world and tell our brand story. And the creation of engaging content from the Cleveland Clinic makes us relevant to people even when we are not their regular healthcare provider.

SG: Provide our listeners with an understanding about how Cleveland Clinic views Paid, Owned and Earned media, and how that relates to the brand.

PM: Paid media for us includes traditional advertising, such as television, print, radio, outdoor; and it also includes digital display advertising as well as some of the content work that we do.

Earned media is what has traditionally been considered public relations or corporate communications. At Cleveland Clinic we have an extensive media relations program with typically over 50- to 60-thousand media hits per year. Some of this has also moved to online channels in addition to targeting all the traditional channels.

Owned media starts foundationally with our website, clevelandclinic.org, which will have over 90-million visits this year. It also includes all of our social media strategies that are anchored by our Health Hub for all of our social media platforms. Plus this includes search engine marketing Owned media has, in many respects, become our fastest growing platform.

SG: You said 90-million visits to your website?

PM: About six years ago we were at 15-million visits to clevelandclinic.org. This year we’ll finish above 90-million. And one of the things that I stress is that mobile has been transforming the Owned digital media space in the past three to five years, and this is going to continue.

In August, 69 percent of the visits to our website were made on a smartphone or tablet device. Mobile, combined with social media have really been driving tremendous growth on our website.

The growth of mobile is highly significant. So having a great mobile user experience is vital, build that into your planning, and think about responsive design. Even when you’re thinking about your search campaign, consider if they work on mobile devices.

SG: The numbers that you shared indicate that a significant part of your domestic audience is using mobile. Those are the highest numbers I’ve seen.

PM: We are well above the national averages. A lot of that is driven by the success we’ve had in social media. Many people access their Facebook and other social media accounts do so on their mobile devices, multiple times each day.

If you’re creating great content, you can pull them through to your website. So, if you haven’t designed for mobile from the start you are missing out on a huge part of audience.

For listeners who will be attending the SHSMD 2014 conference, be sure to attend Paul Matsen’s presentation on Tuesday, October 14th, which will include case studies of how the Cleveland Clinic has brought their brand strategy to life.

Paul Matsen will be speaking at the SHSMD conference on the topic: Building a Global Healthcare Brand Through Multichannel Marketing. And, for conference attendees, meet up with Stewart Gandolf at the Healthcare Success booth in the exhibit hall.

This article and podcast are part of a Healthcare Success continuing education series featuring speakers at the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, SHSMD CONNECTIONS 2014 conference in San Diego, October 12-15.

TO HEAR MORE: additional discussions in this series and previous Healthcare Success leadership conversations are available on this page and on our iTunes Podcast channel.

Paul G. Matsen, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer - Mr. Matsen is responsible for all marketing and communications programs at Cleveland Clinic including brand development, key clinical line marketing, digital marketing and corporate communications. Mr. Matsen was formerly Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Delta Airlines. He is a graduate of Rutgers University, NJ.

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Stewart Gandolf, MBA

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