Season 4, Episode 3
How Progeny Health Leveraged Customer Brand Loyalty, Thought Leadership, and Patient Advocacy to Build Brand Awareness and Drive Sales
Join us as we delve into the fascinating world of femtech and maternal health with Linda Smith, VP of Marketing and Communications at Progeny Health. Discover how Progeny is revolutionizing women’s healthcare and tackling the maternal and infant health crisis.
Plus, gain exclusive insights into the marketing strategies driving their success and learn about the latest trends shaping the future of healthcare. Tune in for an eye-opening conversation that will leave you informed and inspired!
Linda Smith describes her career in three chapters. Her early days in advertising and PR, marketing consultant, and joining the “dark side” as a client. With over 40 years of experience, Linda Smith discusses some of her favorite marketing strategies and her biggest wins at Progeny Health.
In this episode, we discuss:
- Who is Progeny Health
- What is FemTech, and why is it exploding now
- Progeny’s commitment to thought leadership
- Why AI might be the final push back to human marketing
- The importance of internal thought leaders and subject-matter experts
- The importance of finding your voice in a crowded space
- How Linda Smith stays up to date with industry trends
- The importance of strategic thinking and creative messaging in a digital marketing environment
- Progeny’s approach to creating thought leadership content, including the process of outlining, drafting, and seeking input from senior leadership and subject-matter experts
- The role of data and technology in enabling human connections, and the importance of maintaining a focus on people in your marketing efforts
More From This Episode
(01:32) Linda describes her career path in three chapters: starting in advertising and PR, becoming a marketing consultant, and transitioning to the client side in healthcare.
(05:50) Kriste and Linda discuss the importance of a team and external partners
(08:29) Linda emphasizes the importance of finding a niche and focusing on thought leadership to stand out in a crowded field
(11:13) Linda tells Kriste about the success of Progeny’s thought leadership approach, with a specific example of a piece titled “An Unfair Fight” contributing to a major partnership.
(14:58) Linda explains that results in thought leadership have early markers, but it takes time to see big results.
(19:52) Linda discusses the process of creating thought leadership pieces, including internal outlining, collaboration with leadership, external writing support, and the importance of visual appeal.
(22:30) Kriste emphasizes the significance of taking the time internally to frame up the thesis and understand the context before engaging with external partners.
(23:21) Kriste and Linda connect on their client experience, highlighting the challenges when clients lack clarity in their requests
(26:06) Kriste and Linda discuss the importance of human-to-human communication in marketing and they express hope for a return to a discipline around strategic thinking and creative messaging. Kriste predicts a future pivot back to emphasizing the human element in marketing amidst advancements in AI and technology.
(28:50) Linda provides an overview of Progeny Health, and she discusses the alarming crisis in maternal and infant health, with high mortality rates, and the company’s role in addressing these issues.
(31:39) Linda and Kriste discuss where the newfound attention on FemTech has come from
(32:45) Linda shares her favorite sources of information
(36:58) Linda shares how Progeny engages clients to understand their perspectives on relevant topics and trends
[00:00:04.410] – Kriste Goad
Hey, welcome to How It’s Done, a podcast for curious marketers. I’m Kriste Goad. I’ll be your host. And I’m really glad you’re here. Hello, curious marketers. Today we get to talk to an extremely talented and experienced marketer. We’re going to talk about her career and her career path. We’re going to talk about the explosive growth in the femtech fem health space. This is a subject that’s increasingly taking center stage at healthcare forums across the globe, including the most recent Davos, JP Morgan, Health, the Nashville sessions, and on and on and on. We’re also going to talk specifically about Progeny Health, which is definitely not new to the scene. Progeny celebrated its 20th anniversary last year and we’re going to talk about so much more, including Linda is going to tell us a little bit more about Progeny Health. So let’s get to it. My guest today is Linda Smith, who is vice president of marketing and communications for Progeny Health. Welcome to the show, Linda.
[00:01:11.470] – Linda Smith
Well, thank you. Thanks for having me, Kriste. And I’m really looking forward to our conversation.
[00:01:16.130] – Kriste Goad
Me too. Thank you so much for joining us. I can’t wait to learn from you.
[00:01:20.600] – Linda Smith
[00:01:21.390] – Kriste Goad
So, Linda, how about we start with your journey? I would love to know. I know our listeners want to know what led you to marketing and what has your career path looked like.
[00:01:32.380] – Linda Smith
So I would describe my career path in three chapters. And I started out in advertising and PR. That’s when I first got out of school. My degree was in mass communication. I thought I was on a journalism path, but then I did a summer internship at an ad agency and that’s it. I fell hook, line, and sinker
[00:01:50.590] – Kriste Goad
You were done.
[00:01:51.760] – Linda Smith
I was done. I found my true life. And so the first part of my career I spent learning the business of advertising, public relations, and the larger world of marketing. And it was a fantastic run. Enjoyed it immensely. It’s a great place for a young person, especially. You make a lot of friends and there’s just a built-in social circle when you’re working in that kind of environment. And then around the second chapter of my career, I would say, was when we had our kids and I decided that I was going to hang out my own shingle and I was going to be a consultant. And so that’s why I started out as a marketing consultant. Eventually, I had employees, business partner, had all the trappings of a true business and it was a great ten-year run. My husband and I both had our own businesses. We’re self-employed. And our kids were getting ready to go off to college, and I decided that maybe one of us should have a predictable, more predictable future. And so the third chapter was I decided to go to the dark side, as they say in the advertising business. And I became the client.
[00:03:01.800] – Kriste Goad
Now some people say the opposite, though, Linda. They say going from client side to agency side is the dark side.
[00:03:10.750] – Linda Smith
That could be, but I definitely took the reverse path. And I’ve been working for about eleven years in a role of marketing leader within side healthcare organizations, running their marketing and communications. So that, in a nutshell, is 40 years of my life in those three chapters.
[00:03:31.520] – Kriste Goad
Okay, and now you’re at Progeny Health. When did you join there? And maybe just give us a little glimpse into your day-to-day.
[00:03:43.030] – Linda Smith
So I joined Progeny at the end of 2020. It was in the middle of COVID And so I started my role in a remote function, as many of us did during that time. And my role was really to help build the Progeny Health brand. And so that meant everything from working on our brand awareness program and figuring out what we were going to say in the marketplace, how we were going to position ourselves, and really figuring out that strategic position, and then working on our tactical marketing plan to get that message out, figuring out what channels we were going to use, what was going to be most effective for us. And today we do our department, which is myself and two other individuals, we’re really focused on our external communications, everything that has to do with speaking to our target audience, our internal communications. We do a lot of support for our executive team, for other departments within our organization, helping them put their best foot forward. And then we’re also in a newer role. We’re working with our health plan partners and providing their support for the marketing of our maternity program, our maternity and NICU care management program.
[00:04:58.800] – Linda Smith
So we co-brand our materials with them, and we collaborate with them on the best ways to educate their members about the program that is available to them. So that’s really what we do on a day-to-day basis.
[00:05:11.580] – Kriste Goad
Okay, thank you for sharing that. I think there are some misconceptions just generally that companies that have been around as long as yours, 20 years, and it almost doesn’t matter the size, there’s a misconception that there’s this huge marketing team that is inside companies and often that’s just not the case. And you said you have three people on your team, so I’m curious. That means I would assume that you have agencies that you also lean on, or freelancers that you lean on to help support a lot of the things that you’re doing. Is that a fair assumption?
[00:05:50.740] – Linda Smith
Absolutely. In fact, I don’t know where I’d be without them. They are fabulous partners, and I mean that very sincerely. When I arrived at Progeny, I inherited an ad agency out of Atlanta, and I continued working with them. I just love them. I think they do a wonderful job for us. And then I also brought on a PR firm. I felt strongly that Progeny had a story to tell in the way of education and advocacy, and I wanted to invest in that when I first got here. And so our PR firm also does some market research for us. They have also been a fantastic partner. And then we use some smaller freelancers from time to time based on special projects, like internal employee newsletters, and things like that. You have to figure out who does what well and leverage those resources as best you can. When you’re a small organization like we are, I’m a working manager. So while I’m in many ways working, I’m looking from a strategic point of view about how to make our communications work most effectively. I’m also rolling up my sleeves and taking on tactical projects.
[00:07:04.460] – Kriste Goad
You’re doing a lot of the work.
[00:07:05.880] – Linda Smith
I am doing things every day, and we do a lot of divide and conquer on my team. So, yes, the answer to your original question, you cannot do this on your own. You have to have a great team around you, and you have to have partners outside your organization who can help. You appear to be larger than you really are, honestly.
[00:07:30.030] – Kriste Goad
Right. In fact, what you’re describing is what I find more often than not, a much smaller internal team and outside resources, because that’s easier to scale up and scale down. And also, it’s a lot easier to hire that diversity of talent than to have that. You would have to have a lot of headcount to do some of the specialized things that maybe you need, but you only need it from time to time. Is that correct?
[00:07:55.880] – Linda Smith
That’s true, Kriste, absolutely. In many ways, it allows you to scale, and you wouldn’t be able to do that as a small organization. So we’re able to cover a lot of ground for really a very small team, thanks to our partners.
[00:08:14.040] – Kriste Goad
Right. So in that kind of environment, when you’re assessing partners you want to work with, and when you’re assessing just even your own team, how does a smaller, mid-sized firm compete in a crowded field?
[00:08:29.440] – Linda Smith
Yeah, it’s a really great question. The first thing is you really have to go to your strategic roots I’ve mentioned that a couple of times now. It’s so important, those fundamentals. Who are you? What are you trying to say to your target audience? Why would people want to work with you? And what is unique about your organization that allows you to stand out from the competition? Right? You have to really start with the basics, and then once you do that, you really want to think about, okay, I can’t boil the ocean, so what can I do? What are the few things that I’m going to focus on that I can do well? And that’s really what we try to do. When I first came to Progeny Health in 2020, Dr. Ellie Stang and Progeny had an incredible reputation, but they were not well known. And I sat in on some client meetings in those early days as I was learning the business, and I’d hear clients say, completely unsolicited. I wish all of our partners were like Progeny. Their team is so dedicated and has such expertise. They’re producing results for us year after year.
[00:09:49.850] – Linda Smith
I mean, they really sung our praises without any prompting from us.
[00:09:53.630] – Kriste Goad
Were you like, oh, my gosh, this is a gold mine?
[00:09:56.100] – Linda Smith
It is. It was just like that for me. I said to myself, well, one thing is clear, we have a lot of brand loyalty. We just don’t have a lot of brand awareness. And so that was the first order of business, was to raise the visibility of the organization. And our team decided that we were going to lean in on our 20-year history, especially in today’s cure today, gone tomorrow startup world. We thought that was a strategic advantage to have that 20-year legacy. And so we said we’re going to concentrate on one thing, and that is we’re going to educate and we’re going to advocate for better maternal and infant health. And we really doubled down on thought leadership. That was where we were going to focus our efforts, and it was important for us to make sure that everything we did after that took its cue. So we started with a health trends report that was a compilation of some of the thinking of our subject matter experts from within our organization and from our experiences. And we’ve now done that report every year. It’s now our signature thought leadership asset. It has more downloads than anything that we produce.
[00:11:11.980] – Kriste Goad
Really? I love that.
[00:11:13.300] – Linda Smith
Yeah, I would say that was what set the tone for everything else we were working on, our public relations, our social media webinars that we chose to participate in. We wanted to get away from trying to sell ourselves in the traditional way and really let people decide for themselves if they were going to have a partner in maternal and infant health. It was going to be us. And I think it’s worked really well because last year alone, our sales team told us that they were going to conferences, and for the first time, and it took a couple of years, people were coming up to them and knew exactly who we were and what we did. And we had our best sales year in the history of the company last year. And while the lion’s share of that credit goes to our sales team, I’d like to think marketing played a small supporting role in that story. That’s really, I think in our case, that’s how we competed. We found a niche for ourselves, and we decided we were going to invest all of our money, our efforts, all of our talents into that particular area.
[00:12:20.720] – Linda Smith
And I think that’s how small and medium companies have to compete, is you have to find your voice, and then you have to find the best way to tell that story.
[00:12:30.240] – Kriste Goad
That is so well put. I want to drill a little into some of the things you just said, because one of the things first, was it difficult to, quote, unquote, sell this approach into your leadership team? This notion of let’s invest in thought leadership and let’s invest in something that you also said it might take some time. You said it maybe took a couple of years to really get to that thought leadership space, but you’ve got to start somewhere to get to that. So can you talk a little bit about that?
[00:13:10.380] – Linda Smith
Yeah, it’s a great question. I was very fortunate that I had a leadership team that was really bought in. They understood what we were trying to accomplish. They knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight. That’s not always the case for marketing leaders. Sometimes they’re not. Sometimes they are dealing with other forces that make it very difficult for them to do what they know is right. Certainly we had a tactical obligation to deliver leads to our sales team, but we promised them that that was going to happen as a result of this higher mission we had. And that’s exactly what happened, because as people started to seek out our content and reach out to us to hear more about something we spoke about at a webinar or conference, obviously that resulted in leads that were turned over to our sales team, that eventually, of course, some of whom became our clients, and you only need to have that happen once or twice, and suddenly you’ve got the choir behind you. You’re not having to convince anybody anymore that this is the right way to go. So we were really fortunate, our team was really fortunate that we had the support of our senior leadership, and they have been tremendous to work with since the day I arrived. Really.
[00:14:34.390] – Kriste Goad
That’s awesome. What about that timeline? Is that like, for our listeners, our marketers out there who are like, yes, I love this approach. I’m so bought in that sort of couple-of-year timeline. Is that what people should expect in general when you’re embarking on true thought leadership and establishing that credibility at that level?
[00:14:58.510] – Linda Smith
Yeah, and I would say it’s a little bit like a curve. So you’re going to have some results in your first year, and then it will be exponential year after year after year. If you continue to commit to the sorts of things that you believe in.
[00:15:16.040] – Kriste Goad
That’s a key statement.
[00:15:17.990] – Linda Smith
[00:15:18.520] – Kriste Goad
Continuing to commit.
[00:15:21.590] – Linda Smith
That’s right. You cannot abandon the ship. Right. Once you have set your path, you have to stay on it. And so we did have results in that first year. It isn’t that nothing was happening. It’s just that you really started to see a sea change somewhere around year three. The awareness was now a lot more prevalent when we were out in the marketplace. And even things like watching our followers on LinkedIn became a measure of how we were doing. How are we doing with regard to attracting people who want to hear what we have to say on a day-to-day basis? And so there were markers of progress, but I think it was that sort of three-year mark where I sort of felt as though we hit our sweet spot, and now we’re experimenting with new things and trying to grow even more. It’s hard to top last year, to be honest with you, but we’re all in. We’re going for it.
[00:16:24.970] – Kriste Goad
Can you say just a few of the kinds of things that were kind of big wins in that regard, or what was so great about last year? You said that’s sort of when you felt like really hit your stride with all the work that you’ve been doing these last, going on four years.
[00:16:41.090] – Linda Smith
Let me just give you a very tangible example of something that might help illustrate this. We had produced an advocacy piece called An Unfair Fight, and we wrote it in the early stages of a national conversation that was beginning around health equity, or I should say health inequity. And we decided that we were going to write a piece that would help educate some of the key stakeholders. And in our world, that’s payers, policymakers and providers. And we wanted to make sure everybody understood the full breadth and depth of this issue. And that particular piece we promoted obviously through public relations, through just our regular activities, social media, email marketing and so forth. That piece was opened up by a chief diversity and equity officer at an extremely large Blue Cross Blue Shield plan. I won’t mention names.
[00:17:47.440] – Kriste Goad
What state? But kidding.
[00:17:49.990] – Linda Smith
A large Blue ross lue Shield plan opened that piece, read it and said, I want you to help us bring greater health equity to our members.
[00:17:59.990] – Kriste Goad
Oh my gosh, that’s amazing. I love this story.
[00:18:02.380] – Linda Smith
And that was the beginning of a conversation. Now, that contract took a long time to get to, you know how these things go, right?
[00:18:08.960] – Kriste Goad
Usually with a health plan it can be two to three years, right?
[00:18:13.100] – Linda Smith
That’s right. We’re a little bit faster than that. I would say on average we’re around twelve months or so, twelve to 18 on the plan. But it was just a perfect example of how a marketing asset and a story we were trying to tell struck a chord with somebody. And it wasn’t that we were using a lot of healthcare nomenclature and all those sorts of, we weren’t getting into words, using all the buzzwords. We really said to ourselves, this is people talking to people. And ultimately that’s what I believe marketing needs to be about. Right. And so our message always has to be viewed through the lens of, is this going to resonate with somebody? Is someone going to read this and understand what we’re trying to say and see that we have the ability to work together and make a difference?
[00:19:07.950] – Kriste Goad
If you will allow me, our podcast. Podcast for curious marketers. I’ve always built it as, let’s get into like, okay, but you, or could you share any level of detail into how you approach the writing of that particular piece? Is this one where Linda rolled up her sleeves and started writing? Or do you go and you hire someone, for example, that’s a former journalist, and it’s almost like a piece of brand. You know, I’m just curious if you could share with our listeners the approach a little bit, the process of such a piece, because I do find that not all marketers and certainly not all c suites understand how you go about putting together something like that.
[00:19:52.670] – Linda Smith
Yeah, it’s a great question and different organizations do it in different ways. But for us, the way we tackle that is the first thing we do is we ask ourselves what’s not being covered that we can add our voice to. What is some aspect about maternal and infant health in particular, where we can provide something insightful, new, meaningful to people. And then we begin to outline our thesis. What is it that we want to make sure we cover in that? And that’s usually done internally by our team. I’ll usually start that process, or one of my teammates will start the process and we’ll do a little bit of our own outlining, sort of drafting, so to speak, of some key concepts that we want to make sure we touch on. We’ll share that with our senior leadership and ask them to weigh in. Is there something we’re missing? Do you have any context you’d like to add to something that we already have been thinking about? What’s a go to source that you’d like us to use or cite in this particular piece? And so we get all of that input and then we have a pretty solid starting point for one of our outside partners to help us with.
[00:21:08.220] – Linda Smith
Sometimes our PR firm helps us with that. They helped us write the unfair fight. Sometimes we’ll use our agency or an outside writer who specializes in this sort of thing. And then of course it goes through a pretty heavy editing process. It has to be approved and then we have to design it. Right. Once it’s all written, what’s this thing going to look like?
[00:21:32.930] – Kriste Goad
Which is very important too, for people’s interest. Right?
[00:21:37.680] – Linda Smith
That’s so true. I mean, a picture tells 1000 words, and if it doesn’t have some visual appeal, forget it. You’re going to lose people. So that process, when you’re working on these pieces can take, at least for us, doing it right. It takes a couple of months, so you really have to think ahead of time about what your year ahead is going to look like. What are some of the themes you want to touch on and build assets around? And you’re working a few months in advance all the time. At least my team is, because we know it’s going to take time to build these signature pieces around which we build campaigns. So that’s a little bit about how we do it. I’m sure there are very large organizations who have teams internally that can do these things in-house, but that’s usually not the case with small and medium-sized organizations.
[00:22:30.900] – Kriste Goad
Right. But one thing you said, I think is so important is taking the time internally to be able to really think through it and frame up the thesis. What is the context here? Because internal, you are the experts. You’re living and breathing this brand every day. You are keeping up with all the latest news reports, thought pieces, you’re hearing all the conversations internally, you have insights that it’s really hard for an outside agency, even if they’re really familiar with your brand and you’ve been working within them a long time. That can sometimes be a very difficult position to be in if the internal team hasn’t really taken the time to do the work that you just described.
[00:23:21.650] – Linda Smith
That’s a really good point. And I think maybe I feel so strongly about doing the upfront work because I was the agency at one time in my life.
[00:23:32.880] – Kriste Goad
You had empathy.
[00:23:34.770] – Linda Smith
I remembered what it was like when a client came to us and said, I want x, but gave us nothing to work with. And part of my job was to.
[00:23:44.250] – Kriste Goad
Wait a minute, you had that happen to you, too.
[00:23:48.410] – Linda Smith
Anyone who’s worked in the agency business has heard common refrains from clients like they want something, but they really aren’t sure what it is. Or a phrase that we used to hear all the time was, I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for, but I know I’ll know what it is when I see it. Right?
[00:24:08.660] – Kriste Goad
Yes. Should be a meme. Probably is somewhere out there. So kind of from that perspective, you’ve likely experienced a sea change in the marketing industry over your career. What do you think has been maybe some of the biggest gains or losses in that respect?
[00:24:31.290] – Linda Smith
It’s a great question, Kriste. I would say, first of all, that the digital environment that we live in today allows us to harvest and nurture our target audience in ways that was just not possible 20 years ago. We can watch their behaviors. We can send very targeted messaging to subsets of our target audience. We have ROi data now that you never would have had 20 years ago. And so that has been a phenomenal advance, in my view, in the marketing world. The other thing I think it’s done is it’s really the great equalizer because it allows small and medium-sized organizations to compete on the same playing field as much larger rivals.
[00:25:21.990] – Kriste Goad
[00:25:23.210] – Linda Smith
And so I think that that has been a huge gain in the world of marketing. On the flip side, I would say that with all this data, one of the things that feels like it’s gotten lost, from my point of view, is a discipline around strategic thinking and creative messaging.
[00:25:43.650] – Kriste Goad
[00:25:44.670] – Linda Smith
And I guess that should be expected in a world where we’re very distracted and where we’re forced to communicate in 40 characters or less. But the truth is, and I said this earlier, really good marketing is about people communicating with other people.
[00:26:05.510] – Kriste Goad
[00:26:06.170] – Linda Smith
And if you’re not focused on that message and your strategic position in the Marketplace, all that you’re doing in this digital environment is just a lot of activity.
[00:26:18.810] – Kriste Goad
I agree. I think that we are actually, and I’ve talked about this in other podcasts and just predictions for the future and there’s all this talk around AI and ChatGPT, I think what you’ve just described is something that we’re going to see a pivot back to. I think we’re on the cusp of that, because there is, across our lives, not just in marketing, there’s got to be that human element, and things start looking the same out there. And so the standing out is really tied to not just leveraging data or technology or any of those things, but leveraging them to help uncover those human stories, those human elements, the simple person-to-person, human-to-human story, that, at the end of the day, is really what drives all of us.
[00:27:24.350] – Linda Smith
You’re absolutely right. And I mean, it’s one of the reasons why, from a business standpoint, we always tell our prospects that we are a high-touch, high-tech company. The technology is empowering our people to make better human connections. And so I hope that that’s a discipline in the world of marketing, that thinking about the other person on the other side that you’re delivering that message to and what you want them to hear, I hope that that discipline will become fashionable again.
[00:28:06.410] – Kriste Goad
Me, too. Well, we’ll just keep promoting it Linda.
[00:28:10.270] – Linda Smith
It’s up to us. Kriste.
[00:28:12.290] – Kriste Goad
It’s up to us. If we don’t do it, who?
[00:28:14.910] – Linda Smith
[00:28:15.570] – Kriste Goad
Well, I think what you’ve just described and mentioned in terms of the tech enabling that human touch is a great segue into Progeny health. Let’s talk about Progeny Health a little bit in terms of tell us more about what Progeny does, who you are, and also, why do you think so many people, well, people, companies, investors are. Why do you think this space is getting so much newfound attention?
[00:28:50.650] – Linda Smith
So the first part of your question is that Progeny Health is a tech-enabled women’s healthcare company with 20 years of experience in maternal and infant health. And we’re hired primarily by health plans to deliver maternity and NICU care management. And what that means is that we’re working with their members, specifically pregnant women and infants and their families, to make sure that they have the best health outcomes possible. And that is essential in today’s market because we have such an incredible crisis in the maternal and infant health space.
[00:29:35.450] – Kriste Goad
Oh, my gosh, we do. I mean, we’re going backward, a bit backward.
[00:29:39.010] – Linda Smith
Backwards, indeed. Just to give you an idea, the maternal and infant mortality rate in this country is the worst among the richest nations in the world, and we spend more on health care than anybody, any of our peers. Our mortality rate today makes having a baby more dangerous for women than it did for their mothers years ago, another generation.
[00:30:07.410] – Kriste Goad
Which is mind-blowing.
[00:30:09.430] – Linda Smith
Exactly. And so when you asked why is this such a hot topic, I think that what’s happening is there has been a national awakening around these really just abhorrent statistics. How can you have this in a country like ours? It really is hard to fathom. There is a national conversation now about what are we going to do to improve maternal and infant health. And as a result, I think you’ve seen this huge influx of startups around women’s health, and that’s a broad spectrum. There are lots of different stages along the continuum of a woman’s life where all of these various startups may be coming in to provide a solution. And as a result, there’s also been, of course, a huge influx in investment. And, if you think about it, it was an area of healthcare that was underrepresented, and underfunded, and now suddenly there’s a lot of opportunity around it. And I think it’s just a convergence of factors. It’s what’s happening in our society and people see an opportunity to help solve that problem. And so I think that’s really what explains what’s been happening in this whole femtech space right now.
[00:31:28.490] – Kriste Goad
Can you tie any of it back to the thought leadership that you described earlier? You guys have been raising awareness on the issue, so I think you should take some of the credit.
[00:31:39.070] – Linda Smith
Well, that’s very nice of you. We take a tiny bit of credit. It’s also organizations like the March of Dimes, even the federal government, some of the policies that they’ve adopted. It’s a lot of different stakeholders that have raised the red flag and said that this is really unacceptable and it must change. And we’re hopefully contributing in a positive way to that conversation.
[00:32:06.450] – Kriste Goad
That is amazing. I appreciate everything you’ve shared so much. I know we are running out of time for today. I love to ask a burning question. The burning question I would love to ask you, considering all the information that’s out there and you mentioned earlier, just overload. We’re all overloaded with technology and information and headlines and content. When it comes to your job, what are your go-to sources of news and information?
[00:32:45.830] – Linda Smith
Well, I have a list that’s too long to go into now because I’m curious by nature, which I know you’ll appreciate, since you do appreciate that you’re speaking to curious marketers. But I want to just give a shout-out first to our team. My team that I work with is one of the best sources of information in the world of maternal and infant health. It’s not uncommon for me to reach out to our chief medical officer, our VP of clinical, our senior vice president of clinical operations, and others to really understand what I’m reading, because sometimes the dots don’t always connect for me. So I just want to make sure that I give a shout out to them because.
[00:33:28.260] – Kriste Goad
Can you elaborate on that a minute? Because I think that’s really, you know, we.
[00:33:33.810] – Linda Smith
I’ll often refer to organizations like the March of Dimes, the Kaiser Family foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, McKinsey, their health institute. I’m oftentimes consuming that information, but there could be something in what I’ve read that doesn’t necessarily make sense. Or a perfect example is when I first got to Progeny, I did not understand that there was a difference between mortality and morbidity. And so I went to my chief medical officer and I said, could you educate me a little bit about this? And so for your listeners, mortality is just as it sounds. That’s the number of deaths that we’re counting, either for mothers or for infants. But when we talk about morbidity, it’s all of the long-term effects of various conditions that have a lifetime impact on people. Things like, you’re a diabetic, you have high blood pressure. These are all things that will impact your pregnancy and could have a long-term effect for you if left unmanaged. And so we refer to that as morbidity. So that’s an example of something I was reading didn’t understand, and I used my team to help educate me further. And there’s plenty of that. Every single day when I’m reading something, there’s something new.
[00:34:57.470] – Linda Smith
I’ve learned that I need some context around, or I want to really understand it in a deeper way than the words I see on the paper.
[00:35:06.520] – Kriste Goad
Does it ever hit like this? I had an example just a week ago, keeping up with the news and the headlines associated with my clients. I’ll often see a headline. Sometimes it involves a new policy that’s been passed in Washington, or maybe it’s a merger that’s going to be going on, and there’s coverage around that, whether it’s going to happen or not happen. And a lot of times I have an inkling that what is going on in the news has relevance for my client. But I don’t quite know what their point of view is on that topic and whether it’s something we could leverage to have them be a part of the conversation and, or whether they’re interested in being a part of that conversation. Is that something that happens for you internally as well?
[00:36:07.190] – Linda Smith
Certainly there are times where we’ll uncover something, a trend that we think might be occurring in a particular region, let’s say, of the country, and we wonder how our clients think about that particular item. And a lot of times it’s just a matter of asking them. We’d love to talk to you more about this. This is something we read recently, and we think it could have an impact on your members. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts about that. So we often just engage our clients directly and ask them to tell us where they are on something. What does it mean to them? What does it mean to their business, and what does it mean to the people that they’re serving? And that usually helps us to understand whether or not it’s relevant to them, whether it’s something we can build a story around, for example.
[00:36:58.070] – Kriste Goad
Awesome. Thank you. I kind of went off on a tangent, which I’m prone to do, but the question was, what do you read? What keeps you so informed? So you mentioned, what’s your go-to source? You mentioned internally, your thought leaders internally. But what about outside of your organization? I think you mentioned March of Dimes just a minute ago. Go to as well.
[00:37:23.680] – Linda Smith
Definitely March of Dimes. Kaiser Family Foundation, Commonwealth Fund. One of the things I love about all these organizations is they’re really digging deep on so many things that are relevant to our world in maternal and infant health. They don’t have a particular political position. They’re really just reporting on something as it stands and trying to inform their audiences. Those types of organizations have been very, very helpful to me in understanding the world in which our team operates, and there are many others. But these are organizations that are committed to doing, making a difference in some way. And so I really respect their opinion and will try to consume their information as frequently as I possibly can.
[00:38:19.460] – Kriste Goad
That’s great. Well, Linda, I just have to thank you. This has been so amazing. I’ve learned so much from you in a short amount of time. I would love to continue our conversation if you’ll agree to come back on a podcast in the future.
[00:38:35.910] – Linda Smith
You bet. Absolutely, Kriste.
[00:38:38.350] – Kriste Goad
That would be awesome. As always, we will include links and some background on many of the things that we talked about today in our show notes. So for our listeners, be sure to check those out on our website, growwithfuoco.com or wherever you get your podcast. And don’t forget to hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out on future episodes again, my guest today has been Linda Smith, vice president of marketing and communications for Progeny Health. Thank you, Linda.
[00:39:14.460] – Linda Smith
Thanks so much, Kriste.
[00:39:16.460] – Kriste Goad
That’s it for now. Thanks so much for listening. We’re looking forward to keeping great conversations coming your way as we grow this podcast. There’s even more great content from our conversations on our blog. Be sure to check it out at growwithfuoco.com. That’s growwithFuoco.Com. Stay tuned until next time. And no matter what, stay curious.
- Blogs and Podcasts
- Better women’s health could add $1 trillion to the global economy (McKinsey, Davos 2024)
- A subsection of tech is set to be worth $1 trillion. But taboos are holding it back (CNBC)
- What is FemTech?
- Even in femtech, it still pays to be a male founder
- AI-powered Health Care Model Proves Successful in Reducing Preterm Births and NICU Admissions
- Blogs and Podcasts
- Linda’s Top Industry News Sources
- Find Linda on:
- Progeny Health
- Find Kriste on:
Email Kriste: email@example.com
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