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Ep: 65 - Fresh Takes: How Diverse Backgrounds Enhance Marketing Ops

- Hosted by Glenn Bottomly

Justin Noznesky, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at AtriCure, Inc. talks how Diverse Backgrounds Enhance Marketing Ops.

When you think about marketing, you probably think of creative minds meeting and collaborating over colorful content calendars or Canva documents, drumming up witticisms for social media, or coming up with clever product positioning.

But in highly regulated environments – like the healthcare industry – that level of creativity comes with an extra challenge. From strategic positioning to data analysis, marketers have to be on an entirely different level when it comes to launching new products, educating their audience, and thoughtfully building their business.

What happens when you find your way into this art-meets-science field by accident: culture shock or effective execution? Justin Nozensky, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at AtriCure, Inc., tumbled into marketing for a medical device company by way of the world of finance. He’s found that the first thing any great marketing ops pro does is adapt.

The second thing? Build a team of marketers who are also from unconventional backgrounds.

Top-tier talent can come from anywhere

Marketers know firsthand that the field relies heavily on technical skills, not just creative chops. That’s how Justin was able to leverage his background in finance into a career in marketing; he recognized early in his career that marketing also relied heavily on solid, logical processes – and that he wanted to be part of that as well.

He also realized pretty early on that some of the best marketing professionals he worked with hailed from other careers originally. Rather than presenting challenges, those experiences brought out some of their greatest strengths. Leveraging the nontraditional, more technical sides of their skill sets enabled his entire team to operate with more agility in such a regulated industry. It also equipped them with the foresight needed to navigate a space where marketing decisions now have a long-ranging impact. It’s not just about bringing in results for the life of the campaign – it’s about changing lives for the next decade.

“We’re making investments now that impact our company and our customers five or 10 years down the road,” he said. “From a marketing perspective, a lot of what we do early on in a healthcare product launch absolutely impacts what happens that far down the road. A lot of thoughtful analysis goes into that process.”

“I think about marketing as being a lot about process.” — Justin Noznecsky

When data meets doing, the magic happens

Speaking of analysis, Justin asserts it’s not just about understanding how marketing impacts the future of healthcare – it’s also about understanding how marketing can work cross-functionally to impact other teams and their work.

Doing this ties back in with Justin’s former life in the world of finance, he said. The collaborative process of analyzing marketing spend and revenue and understanding the role other departments play in new product launch efforts is so tied into data analysis that he can’t help but flex those muscles. That’s yet another case for bringing in marketers who once operated in other, more technical industries, he added.

Another bonus to cross-functional partnerships? Working alongside like research and development, quality control and sales ensures marketing departments are lightyears ahead of the competition when crafting marketing campaigns that lay the foundation for the years ahead.

“Working with the people who are producing what you’re selling is incredibly important,” he said. “We represent to customers what was created by someone else. That collaboration is something we spend a lot of time on.”

After all, Justin said, it’s ultimately about maximizing the impact a product has on patients.

“Utilizing cross-functional team partnerships can be a humbling process, but ensures we are doing the right things and developing better solutions for customers and patients in the future.” — Justin Noznecsky

Customer education as a quality marketing tool

In a highly regulated field like healthcare technology, you might think that the most impactful marketing tools are a bit outdated. After all, what room is there for innovation in a space with so much perceived red tape?

But Justin and his team have perfected the art of hands-on marketing that pairs digital assets with physical assets that educate potential customers about the product. Because so much of medical device marketing has to do with in-person interfacing, ensuring an impactful physical experience is essential, he said.

“At the end of the day, our marketing is a physical interaction with our physician customers,” he added. “At the end of the day, we try to marry what we can do digitally with what we can do to make a lasting impression on our customers.”

Justin and his team execute this in educational environments – getting physicians into a classroom and teaching them about the devices, then making those sessions available online. This ensures that the core interaction physicians have with the medical devices is a physical one but that the experience is scalable.

“We try to create physical assets that are didactic in nature and scale and leverage them digitally,” he said. “There are so many ways those two things can work together, and we’re always trying to find new ways to do it.”

At the forefront of all these efforts is a simple ethos: the patient comes first. Justin and his team prioritize the patient experience whenever possible – whether through marketing assets underscoring the benefits of medical devices or through the ever-present thought that the industry-defining campaigns they’re running will impact patient care for years to come.

It’s not every day that marketing departments learn about how their campaigns or assets make a difference. But in healthcare, sometimes patients share their experiences – and, Justin said, regardless of where they came from or what they do now, every marketer loves to hear that their work matters. At the end of the day, we’re all just people trying to do the best we can for one another.

“Patient testimonials are certainly the most rewarding aspect of what we do.” — Justin Noznecsky

Interested in learning more about how to successfully navigate regulated industries, what it takes to bring fresh perspectives to marketing operations, and how integrating digital and physical marketing is a game-changer in today’s environment? Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you find your podcasts.

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