My guest on the show today is Eric
Adam: [00:08] Hi, and welcome to the Good People, Good Marketing Podcast, a podcast about digital marketing and how to make it better so the good people and good organizations can have good marketing as well. I’m your host, Adam Walker, co-founder of Sideways8, a digital marketing agency and 48in48, a nonprofit dedicated to hosting events that build forty-eight websites for forty-eight nonprofits in forty-eight hours.
[00:29] My guest on the show today is Eric Oyan. Eric is the Membership Marketing Program Manager for the American Nurses Association where he has demonstrated success in the nonprofit and information services industries. He’s skilled in marketing analytics, corporate communications, marketing strategy, social media and advertising with strong project management background. He’s a certified PMP and expertise in member acquisition and development. Eric, welcome to the show.
Eric: [00:57] Thanks for having me.
Adam: [00:58] It’s so good to have you on here, man. I can’t wait to hear what you’ve got going on. Is there anything you want to add to the illustrious bio here or do you want to dive into the questions?
Eric: [01:08] I’ll do a shameless plug for our organization. We are the fastest-growing large individual membership organization in the country, have been for some time now. We’ve grown almost 50% over the past five years and we’re really excited about where we’re headed.
Adam: [01:25] I love it when guests do plugs for their organizations. And what’s funny is out of recording seventy, eighty shows now, something like that, I think you’re maybe the fourth person, maybe the third to do a plug for their organization. So, I really appreciate you doing that. Also, just so our listeners know, what’s your website so they can go check you out?
Eric: [01:48] Sure. You could check us out at nursingworld.org. It’s a fairly new website. We redid it this year. We’re pretty proud of it.
Adam: [01:57] I love it. I love it. I looked at it before the show we were talking and I love it. It’s a great approach. I know you’re probably going to talk more about it here in a minute so I don’t want to spoil that. So let’s go ahead and dive into the questions. So question number one, related to digital marketing, can you tell us something that has worked well for you?
Eric: [02:12] Sure. Really one of our big wins in the past couple of years has really been something behind the scenes. We’ve done some pretty innovative data work. So one of the things we did with the help of one of our business partners, we created a prospect data model. So we took our house files and we appended some third-party data to it and then created an algorithm to see which of these people are going to be most likely to join. And that has really been a huge win for us. What they’ve done is that they created our house list in a series of deciles and those top deciles, the top ones being the most likely to join, have been, in some cases, twice as productive as our normal efforts.
[03:03] So that was really a huge win for us and that helps us, not only with targeting our audience online, but also our more traditional acquisition methods. We do a lot of direct mail, a lot of email. So we’re able to better target these people, become much more efficient with who we send things to, and that has really been a huge win for us. In addition to that, we have done some really great work on segmentation. There are a lot of registered nurses in the U.S., about four million of them, and we really needed to take a step back and look at how can we position ourselves to best serve this population. Nursing is a very diverse population. There are hundreds of specialties and we tried to figure out how can we be an organization that covers all of the profession and still be relevant to nurses in their day-to-day careers.
[04:07] And so what we’ve done is really positioned ourselves as the organization that is going to take you through your nursing career from day one, once you pass your NCLEX exam, all the way to when you’re a nursing manager or chief nursing officer. We’re going to be the organization that is going to help you navigate those transitions and really be your career partner. And that’s something that we really let the data take us to. I mean, we compiled a huge number of records, and once again, appended third-party, both demographic and psychographic variables and really let the data show us how does this population break down into groups that are more relevant than just talking to nurses as one group, but not so small that we are trying to do too many things. And so we broke them down into three career segments.
[05:14] So you have what we call early-career nurses, our up and comer population so those are your mid-career nurses, and then your nursing leaders, people who have been in the profession for a long time. And so that is something that we’re really working with now. We continue to validate that through our acquisitions. Particularly our early career segment has been very productive for us reaching that younger audience as well as nursing leaders. And we’re in the middle of testing all these things online in other places and doing some lookalike audiences on Facebook, some custom audiences, and we’re really excited to see where that leads us.
Adam: [05:59] I love that. I love that you are segmenting out your audience so specifically, but even it sounds like— Because my mind would immediately go to specialties so I would almost immediately go, “Oh, well let’s go to all the cardiology, or cardio…” I don’t know what they’re called, nurses or whatever. I’m super ignorant. But it sounds like you’ve taken actually a nonconventional approach there and said, “No, that’s not how we’re breaking it down. We’re breaking it down in early, mid, and late career.” And that way because there’s going to be common needs among even different specialties based on where they’re at in their profession. And so I think that’s really, really clever.
Eric: [06:37] Correct. And then the reason we didn’t go with the specialty approach is because there are hundreds of specialties. There’s no way that…
Adam: [06:46] Yeah, it’d be next to impossible.
Eric: [06:48] Exactly. There’s no way we’d have the ability to talk specifically to each of those specialties. But what we do have is a great overview of the profession and what it takes to move through it. So that is something that we’ve been able to realign our resources towards.
Adam: [07:05] I love that. I mean, it’s how you’re targeting your audiences. I mean, too many nonprofits tend to sort of lump their entire audience together and just sort of shout at one big blob of an audience and it’s very ineffective. And so when we begin to segment out the audience and really understand, who are the people that we’re serving, how are they different, what are the nuances, what are the groups that we can put them in, can we put them into several groups and speak directly to those groups in a way that is meaningful to them, it really increases the productivity of all of our marketing. So I love that you’re doing that. That’s fantastic. So question number two, related to digital marketing, can you tell us something that has not worked well that we can learn from?
Eric: [07:47] Sure. This might sound a little counterintuitive, but at least for our audience, the super creative, super colorful bright approach to advertising and also in our (unclear 08:01) segment really hasn’t worked for us that well. We’re trying to embrace these very 21st-century marketing ideas of bright colors, short text, all that stuff, and just for our audience, it hasn’t played. We had to take a step back and figure out that that’s okay. I mean, we had to learn to let the data take us in the right direction as opposed to what we think our best practices should be. And when you’re marketing, there’s always failure built into each of our campaigns. We’ve tried certain platforms that didn’t work out well for us.
[08:43] I mean, Google was not an effective use for our audience. We find most of our audience is on Facebook so that is primarily what we use. And we’ve learned the hard way about certain subjects that are a little touchy, not to put out there. And it’s just really taking the data and seeing where the data leads us, and that has been a learning curve, but I think we’ve gotten to the point where we could really just look at the numbers and see, is this working? Is this not?
Adam: [09:24] Wow. I love that. And to do that, you have to be willing to experiment, right? Because for example, if all you ever produced were super creative, super colorful, bright advertising, you’d never find out that that’s not what’s working because you’d just see one set of numbers and nothing would ever change, but if you’re willing to change it up and you’re willing to try something a little bit different then you can go, “Oh, wow. When we sort of went maybe slightly older school approach or slightly longer format approach or whatever, the engagement went through the roof,” and then you know, “Okay, let’s start moving in that direction,” and the data can begin to determine your design choices, right?
Eric: [10:00] Yeah, absolutely. It’s not just the creative that we’ve really been testing too. I mean, we’ve tested different audiences, we’ve tested different messaging, we’ve tried some segments that were just too small that didn’t have the productivity that we were looking for. But we’ve come to a place where our online program really has been a boon to us. We’ve run several different campaigns at once. I mean, of course, we have remarketing on our site, but we do lookalike campaigns. We’ve recently just changed the data set of what’s going into the lookalike campaign, and that’s been productive for us. We have custom audiences for our reinstatement campaigns, renewals. And then we also use a product called AdRoll that we use in conjunction with our Facebook remarketing that we use in tandem with it and it’s really been a big boost to us.
Adam: [11:00] Oh, cool. I’ll have to check that out and maybe add a link here in the show notes. That’s great. I love that. So next question then, last question, really fun one here: related to digital marketing, can you tell me something that you are excited about?
Eric: [11:13] Sure. So another shameless plug for our place over here. We just redid our website and that’s going to give us a lot more functionality that we didn’t have before. We are going to be able to do some really great testing that we’re looking forward to as well as gather more behavioral information and hoping to leverage that. In the coming year, we’re planning to build a business intelligence tool to further help us leverage all this data we’ll be bringing in. And also, I had mentioned that we had this acquisition model. We are creating a 2.0 version of that model.
[11:50] The first version was sort of a proof of concept. We used it for a couple of years now and it hasn’t come to the end of its useful life, but we did start to see signs of fatigue. This new model should be a truly predictive model that will not need to be refreshed, only the data, new data, should be populated. So this model will be able to better target people. It should be able to, as it runs, get smarter and learn. And we’re hoping that this has the same effect as our first data model. And we’re really excited about that.
Adam: [12:28] I love that. I love how deep you’re going into the modeling and it’s powerful when you begin to really look into that data, dig through the data and really understand what’s going on. That’s really fantastic.
Eric: [12:39] Yeah, and it’s something that we learned in the past few years as we have this wealth of data, and how to best leverage it, and in our circumstance, it has been even more powerful than finding the right creative, the right copy, the right offers. Just getting your message to the right people has really been our biggest win.
Adam: [13:09] Right. That’s fantastic. I mean, that’s the marketing dream, right? Getting the right message to the right people at the right time. I mean, you’re living in the marketing dream. That’s what we all want.
Eric: [13:20] Absolutely.
Adam: [13:21] I love that. Well, let me see if I can recap our conversation up to this point so our listeners have some good takeaways. So related to digital marketing, what has worked well? You said really data has been working well behind the scenes, that you’ve created a prospect data model which helped you in significantly better targeting your prospects and you even created an algorithm to see who would be the most likely to join and then you use that to then segment your audience in order to kind of cover a very vast profession and you then use that to break down your audience into those very clear sort of paths, so that sort of early, mid, later career—my words, not yours—sort of path to know how to target those nurses in order to better speak to their experiences and their needs so that you can then engage with them in a more meaningful way, which is fantastic.
[14:15] Question number two, what has not worked well that we can learn from? You mentioned that super creative, colorful, bright, short messaging, the exact thing that you would expect would work great doesn’t work as well as you would’ve expected. And the learning from that is that some audiences really need counterintuitive design approaches. And the only way that you’re ever going to know that is if you let the data drive your decision-making around your messaging and around your design. And so we’ve got to be willing to experiment with our designs and with our messages in order to gain enough data in order to see where that data is going to take us because if we just are bullheaded in one all the time, then we’re really never going to see is there a better direction. And so you’ve been willing to experiment, you’ve seen the payoff of that experiment. It’s fantastic. You also mentioned in that conversation using AdRoll. So I’ve got a link to that in the show notes as well for those that are listening.
[15:04] And for question number three, what are you excited about? You mentioned a new website with more functionality, more ability to test, more behavioral information so that you can begin to modify that site to better fit the needs of users. And then also continuing to do new modeling to help you grow and learn and grow and learn and grow and learn and grow. Does that sound about right at this point?
Eric: [15:24] Yeah. Just one quick point of clarification. Our segmentation work was a different project than our acquisition model. So that doesn’t directly feed into our segmentation work, but we’re using both of these in tandem together and finding great success with that.
Adam: [15:46] Great. Okay. Yeah, my mistake. Thank you for clarifying that. I appreciate that. So any sort of final thoughts you’d like to share with our audience before we wrap this up?
Eric: [15:55] Yeah. We’re excited about the future. We’re excited. We think we are looking at some strong growth in our future. And yeah, we’re excited to see what these new tools that we can build and leverage some of the great resources.
Adam: [16:12] That’s fantastic. Well, I’m excited to see where it goes. Maybe I can have you back on the show again in the near future and sort of hear more about what you’re doing and you can give us some updates. That’d be great.
Eric: [16:21] Absolutely. I would love to.
Adam: [16:22] Thanks so much for being on the show.
Eric: [16:24] Great. Thanks for having me.
Adam: [16:26] Thanks for listening to the Good People, Good Marketing Podcast. To get more resources about digital marketing, make sure to go to goodpeoplegoodmarketing.com where you can find more podcasts, blogs, and other fun resources. Also, if you want to find me, your host, you can find me on Twitter @ajwalker, and on my blog at adamjwalker.com where I blog about leadership, productivity, habit building, and the craziness of having five kids. Thanks, and tune in next time.