Interview with a SiriusStar: Mark Erwich, VP Marketing, Imprivata
- The SiriusStars blog series provides an inside look at how select high-performing clients use SiriusDecisions research and analyst inquiry to increase revenue, meet and exceed goals, and transform their organizations
- In this edition, we feature Mark Erwich, VP Marketing at Imprivata
- We caught up with Mark to discuss what makes for an optimal marketing organization in the healthcare industry, what his dream job would be if he weren’t a marketer, and tips for success he would offer to other marketing leaders leveraging SiriusDecisions
SiriusStars is an exclusive community of high-performing and highly influential clients selected for their exceptional work leveraging and implementing SiriusDecisions research and advice. The SiriusStars blog series is designed to share the personal and professional world of your B2B peers. In this post, we spoke with Mark Erwich, VP marketing at Imprivata.
SiriusDecisions: If you weren’t a marketer today, what would your dream job be?
Mark Erwich: A cook. Like marketing, cooking is a great combination of science and creativity. I’m a foodie, and I like the concept of bringing different concepts together and making something bigger than what you started with.
SD: Given the complexities of healthcare and your business, what does an optimal marketing organization look like, in your point of view?
Mark: From a structural perspective, I would recommend product marketing, demand generation, customer marketing and marketing operations. Product marketing will drive thinking on how to apply people within that organization (e.g. physicians, nurses) who have the fundamental understanding of workflows and can translate meaning – positioning is critical. The workflow component is so critical. If you are unable to articulate that well, it will not translate into success.
Secondly, healthcare references are extraordinarily important. Before a sales rep gets a foot in the door, CIOs will call their buddies and ask if they are using Imprivata in their organization. Potential customers are well connected.
Third is having a strong demand team. Over the past four to six years, there’s been a constant level of pressure on the healthcare industry. Hospitals are working with a razor-thin margin. Oftentimes, CIOs will say, “You have a great solution and we are interested, but it’s not the right time because your project is number 15 on the priority list.” You have this constant battle to get on, stay on and shift on the priority list. The only way to stay on that list is to generate a level of interest with the decisionmakers and broad support among influencers within the organization. Furthermore, there are different dynamics within IT and clinicians that you have to navigate and appreciate. The way you choose demand is not so much finding leads – you are working with a defined market – but identifying individuals within hospitals to generate interest.
Fourth, in an organization such as ours where we sell multiple products into the healthcare industry, you want to ensure broad adoption of your solution and satisfaction among users. Customer marketing is critical. Through user meetings, user webinars and welcome kits, you share best practices and create a user community and a long-term relationship with the vendor. One of the first things I did at Imprivata was implement a customer marketing function.
SD: How did you become a client of SiriusDecisions?
Mark: Before Imprivata, I worked for Nuance. It was a highly acquisitive company and we learned what the acquired companies were doing well to improve our processes. At one point, we acquired a company that was using SiriusDecisions. They exposed me and my team to a wealth of information and consultancy. I really appreciated working with SiriusDecisions when there was no CMO at Nuance – and I owned the relationship with SiriusDecisions. Some people I worked with years ago are still using SiriusDecisions. It’s great to see that although people have different roles, they stay with SiriusDecisions. The different divisions at Nuance were using different SiriusDecisions services. As a result, we learned more about how SiriusDecisions assists from a marketing and a sales perspective, and at different strategic levels. When I moved to Imprivata, the CMO asked if I was familiar with SiriusDecisions and if we should engage with it. I said, “If you want me to work here, that’s the first thing I would do.”
SD: What differentiates SiriusDecisions from any other company you’ve worked with?
Mark: First, you offer different models, and with the model comes the consultancy – talking with someone who doesn’t defend a model but instead helps me understand it and is open to listen if we don’t think it’s going to work. SiriusDecisions is open to making changes to the model. I feel I am part of an engine whereby SiriusDecisions is providing and gathering information and using it to make a better model. That is kind of the process that I’ve liked, and it makes a difference.
Second is Summit, which I’ve attended for more than eight years. I appreciate the way you create a network there. We can talk to people in similar situations or who have the same framework in mind but a different way of leveraging that framework is a tool that can be leveraged.
Third is the constant flow of information. For a while, I had access to another similar company. It provided good frameworks and a different perspective. But once you become a member of SiriusDecisions, there’s a constant flow of new information – it doesn’t stop. Sometimes that triggers me or my team to think about different problems we have.
SD: What would you recommend to other marketing leaders who are focusing on similar initiatives or have similar goals? What tips for success would you offer?
Mark: First, to any marketing leader: Look at how your team is using SiriusDecisions. At first, my team would bring a problem to me and then I would go to SiriusDecisions. I altered the approach by asking my team to come up with a new concept or to propose a solution to the problem. Now my teams come to me and say “This is how we want to solve the problem” and I reply, “How would SiriusDecisions solve that problem?” You only get as much value out of SiriusDecisions as you use it. We needed to instill a behavior within our teams to get that usage out of SiriusDecisions.
My second recommendation is networking. You can learn so much from colleagues from Summit or other SiriusDecisions events. I’ve always been in IT, but in different companies, many marketing leaders struggle with the same things. Everyone has a different way of solving the same problems. Talking to different people, you learn more – which is really exciting.
Third, once you define your strategic initiatives, work early and figure out what that means for the organization and what needs to change. That’s a great moment to start thinking and sharing with SiriusDecisions. That’s how it was with Imprivata and the Demand Unit Waterfall. Another great moment to connect with SiriusDecisions is when thinking about planning and what the big problems are that you want to solve next year.