Jennifer Kuesel on how NextGen Healthcare achieves healthcare industry goals through an integrated communications partnership

Jennifer Kuesel on how NextGen Healthcare achieves healthcare industry goals through an integrated communications partnership

By Brad Dodge on August 23rd, 2011

In the latest installment of our 10th anniversary blog series, a Dodge Communications client is interviewed to discuss her experience with Dodge over the years. To view earlier installments please click here. Jennifer Kuesel is the director of marketing at NextGen Healthcare. She says that partnering with Dodge Communications has been fruitful and that Dodge has always been a great team player with the NextGen team. 

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Dodge: How long has NextGen Healthcare been a Dodge client?
Kuesel: We’ve been working with Dodge for nine years.

Dodge: How has Dodge Communications helped with your integrated communications needs over the last nine years?
Kuesel: Dodge has been our dedicated PR partner and our go-to partner for integrated communications support over that time frame. We are a full service marketing organization here at NextGen, but oftentimes the volume of work that we have exceeds the internal capacity. We’re always looking for partners who can seamlessly fit in with our team and feel like they’re a part of our team. Dodge has always done a really good job with that for us. Additionally, what we find is that their expertise in integrated communications augments some of the skill sets that we don’t maybe have here on the team. They are able to take our goals and our objectives and help us formulate an action plan that goes beyond what I would view as standard marketing communications and help us develop a plan that really reaches both web, live events, printed collateral, and full service campaigns that help drive lead demand for us, which is typically one of the key functions we look for in integrated communications action plans.

Dodge: What are some of the major accomplishments you have been able to realize through your partnership with Dodge? How have these accomplishments impacted your overall business?
Kuesel: Well, as I mentioned, a lot of times what we’re looking for is lead gen and support with developing our funnel, so integrated communications is an integral part of that. A lot of times what we’ll do, is have a kick-off call with Dodge and work through what our specific objectives are—whether it’s in a specific market, or whether it’s a specific trade show we’re working on. I’ll give you an example: Last year we worked on a brand awareness campaign in the areas of Maryland and St. Louis. They were important to us because we acquired a business unit in Maryland and the same was true of St. Louis. They were all for one business line but were two companies coming together to form that business line for us, so it was important to begin to be recognized in those markets as a key player. The business units we acquired were considered small market vendors. It really helped us make sure the market saw the companies we acquired as now part of the NextGen family, and it helped us expand our footprint to the national level we were looking for. The campaign we put forth, we ran first in St. Louis, and then we copied the best practices from St. Louis to Maryland. It was a brand awareness campaign, but there was a full suite of objectives that were based in web and printed collateral as well as online and face-to-face. There was a live event to culminate the end of the campaign. We were working on brand as we went along, but a secondary objective was to create lead demands in those markets. Dodge was our partner for that and worked seamlessly with our internal department in both creative services, web services and marketing communications to put forth a campaign that supported those markets. They really took the lead on it and managed the project for us and helped us measure our objectives. In fact, we submitted that along with Dodge as a candidate for the 17th annual Communicator Awards, and it was named as an award of excellence for the campaign. It was a great partnership; it helped us drive the brand; it helped us meet our lead objectives; and it helped us get to a place where we were able to measure both the hard dollars and the soft dollar because brand tends to be more soft dollar.

Dodge: Thanks for sharing. That’s a really great example.
Dodge: Where do you think integrated communications is headed, and why do you think Dodge is positioned to succeed?
Kuesel: I think there has been a major shift in what integrated communications means in the last 12 to 18 months. Some of it has to do with social media; some of it has to do with one-to-one marketing advances that people are making out there in the market; and some of it has to do with the way the world does its research these days. I feel like one of the things that  in the last four or five years has really switched is that it used to be very much a direct mail world and integrated communications was a piece of that, and that’s really shifted . A lot of the communications in an integrated communication plan are now focused on web and social media and areas where previously it had been maybe not so—popular—to communicate via the web and email. Campaigns were driven in a much different way than they are today. I think Dodge for us, specializes in the healthcare market, so they have that knowledge going in and they have a fairly robust bench. Each member of the team has a different skill set. You have experts in marketing communication; you have experts in PR; you have experts in web; you have experts in social media.  Many times an organization who is looking for a partner doesn’t have all those skill sets in-house, so it’s beneficial to have a partner who is dealing in those types of media everyday and has expertise right at the pulse of the industry.

Dodge: That’s all the questions we have for you. Is there anything you’d like to add to the conversation or say?
Kuesel: I think overall our partnership with Dodge has been a very fruitful one for both Dodge and NextGen, and I believe that true partnerships are born from that. I couldn’t have better things to say about our experiences with Dodge along the way the past nine years.