Evolving health tech marketing: Clinisys and Highland Marketing


Pathology software provider Clinisys has been working with Highland Marketing for four years. Marketing manager Matthew Fouracre explains why the company needed a health tech marketing partner, the benefits of working with Highland Marketing, and how the relationship may evolve in the future.

Why did Clinisys decide to look for a health tech marketing partner?

It was impossible to cover everything with the marketing team that we had – and have. Writing is a skill and making sure that every piece of content we put out had the right message for the right audience was not in our skillset. Plus: approaching media outlets is a huge job, and we needed help to do it.

Why Highland Marketing?

I remember looking at all the options out there, and there were a lot of them! We wanted an agency with a track record in healthcare and enough experience to drive us and not just respond to us. Highland Marketing came top of the list, and over the years they’ve never let us down.

Why look for a healthcare specialist?

Highland Marketing’s experience of healthcare is second to none. That means they can produce well-informed press releases, and case studies, and blogs very efficiently, but it also means they can offer other services, such as research and analysis. There was a huge piece of work that we commissioned from Highland Marketing on the market for the Integrated Clinical Environment, or ICE, that was very useful to us.

Knowledge of the audience is essential. If you are producing content, you can’t just write something down; you have to understand the audience and what it wants to read and where it wants to read it. It’s the same with analysis; you have to understand who you need to reach, what their problems are, and what you can do to address them. And Highland Marketing really understands that.

Why look for a responsive agency?

Highland Marketing has always been willing to challenge us. It’s easy for a client to say: ‘jump’ and for an agency to say: ‘how high?’ But Highland Marketing isn’t like that. It’s proactive – if there’s an opportunity coming up, they’ll say: ‘you should do it.’ Or, if we have an idea for a piece of content, they’ll say: ‘we could do that, but this might work better.’ That kind of positive exchange is invaluable.

Also, they’re very responsive. Highland Marketing isn’t the biggest organisation, but everything we send over is accommodated. Nobody ever says: ‘we are too busy – it will have to wait.’ Any customer of an agency wants to think they are the agency’s only customer; and with Highland Marketing, it really does feel like that. It’s like they are an extension to our team.

You have a retainer with Highland Marketing: are there benefits to that way of working?

Yes, there are. In the early days of the relationship, when I had bills for account management coming in, I had a lot of arguments internally to justify them. But being able to contact people at Highland Marketing for help and support is what makes them feel like part of the team. There’s a cost to that that’s entirely legitimate.

It’s up to us, as a customer, to make the most of it, because things change all the time. When Clinisys started working with Highland Marketing, we needed to issue press releases to show our laboratory information system, WinPath Enterprise, could win business from pathology networks. Then, we heard customers saying: ‘you have sold all these systems, can you deploy them?’ So, we switched focus from contract wins to go-lives. Being fleet of foot is a big part of the job.

How has health tech marketing changed?

Many other things have changed in four years. The media that we deal with has changed; there are fewer outlets, and the sites that survive are under more pressure, which has changed the kind of content that they are interested in. At the same time, companies have moved towards publishing and promoting their own content.

Running a blog was hardly an idea when I started in this job, but a blog is an important output now and so is social media. But the basics about knowing the audience and how and where to reach it still apply, so Highland Marketing is helping us to navigate this changing environment. I can give a blog to Highland Marketing and know it is going to be written correctly.

How will Clinisys’ relationship with Highland Marketing develop?

Clinisys has also changed in four years. We have consolidated a number of businesses under the Clinisys brand and acquired new businesses that take us beyond the traditional, NHS laboratory and into new areas, like environmental and life sciences. As Clinisys continues to expand, I hope that Highland Marketing will help us to grow, and to become more of an international corporation.

For example, when we issued a release about our new branding, Highland Marketing worked with our global agency to get the message out in the UK. Highland Marketing suggested publications that they hadn’t thought of targeting and helped with the pitch to journalists. As a result, take-up was impressive. Every time Clinisys ramps up the working relationship or we change our requirements, Highland Marketing steps up. Every time we push, they deliver.

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Evolving health tech marketing: Clinisys and Highland Marketing