Right On Interactive Presents: The Marketing Spotlight Podcast with Slimband
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Lisa Borg, VP of Marketing and Communications, Slimband
Right On Interactive developed this podcast series as an exclusive forum for marketing executives within the industry
to share their innovative interactive marketing communications campaigns. The following is the written transcript of
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Narrator: From Right On Interactive, this is The Marketing Spotlight – a look at how marketing leaders
are producing meaningful business results through innovative marketing communications.
For anyone who has ever tried to lose weight and keep it off, you know it requires a lifestyle change.
When you’re in the business of helping people change a dietary lifestyle behavior, the ongoing support
program is vital to long-term success.
Lisa Borg: That’s why we have the four year post-op support program. We actually have an online
community for these people as well. It’s funny, I mean, a lot of patients initially think the whole process
is the surgery and then they’re good to go, but like you said, it is a lifestyle change. It’s a learning
process. A lot of our patients are experts in calorie counting and in what’s a protein and a carb, and so
it’s not so much educating them along those lines, but it’s more offering the emotional support and
helping them find other ways to deal with the pressures and stresses in their life and not turn to food for
Narrator: Today, we’re talking about multistep drip campaigns used to educate and nurture
relationships with patients that are on the surgical weight loss support program with Slimband, based in
LB: This has been really good for us to create that drip campaign because from our experience we know
the stages that people are experiencing certain things and we can proactively deal with those issues
rather than leave it in the hands of the patient to have to call us.
Narrator: This week in The Marketing Spotlight.
LB: My name is Lisa Borg, and I am the vice president of marketing and communications at Slimband.
I’m responsible for a team of about eight individuals who work together to generate leads and nurture
those leads until the point that we can bring them in for a consultation.
Narrator: Slimband is a surgical procedure, and it’s less invasive than other types, such as those where
the stomach is stapled.
LB: Slimband offers a real solution for people who are struggling with their weight. Using the latest
surgical techniques, we insert a silicon band around the person’s stomach, and this band helps them feel
full faster and therefore they eat less. As a result of that, they actually lose weight.
Two things that really set us apart are our surgical team and our four year post-op support program. We
have three of the top bariatric surgeons in Canada and together they have performed thousands of
these surgeries. Our four year post-op support program is the most comprehensive program out there
at this time.
Narrator: One of Slimband’s priority marketing goals is to educate and nurture relationships with both
pre- and post-operative patients.
LB: Many times people are not initially aware that what we’re offering is a surgical procedure, or
sometimes they assume that the type of surgery is more invasive, sort of like the gastric bypass option.
It’s difficult to explain what the procedure entails and how simple it is in a short ten minute call after the
lead comes in. We find that it generally requires more of an ongoing educational approach.
Narrator: To achieve this priority goal, Slimband looked to a marketing automation strategy.
LB: What we do is we look towards creating an email drip campaign that covers a range of topics and
FAQs that we’re used to people asking us based on our history of managing these leads. We also include
some emails with success stories and we have a couple of emails with options for consultation dates and
Narrator: The key performance indicator of success is simple.
LB: The end goal is to have a person come in for a consultation with someone from our sales team.
Before, we were phoning and emailing all of our leads and that sort of restricted the number of leads
that we could manage. Now we focus only on phoning the leads so we can handle a larger number of
leads. Plus, we’ve noticed that many of our leads actually call us back with their choice of a consult date
and time because they did receive that automated email offering a choice of dates and times for a
Narrator: So, let’s dig a little bit deeper into one of the specific multistep drip campaigns at Slimband.
LB: About one third of our bookings actually come through patient referrals, so we decided to
implement a program that ensures we continue an open communication with our patients even after
they’ve had their surgery. We’ve created a new post-surgery support drip campaign that has post-op
support emails. These are emails related to the surgery and healing process after surgery. We have tips
and advice emails that allow us to keep in touch. And then we have referral bonus communications
which allow us to promote the fee that we give and bonuses that we give to patients who refer a friend
or family member.
Narrator: With 5,000 or more procedures, Slimband recognizes a predictable pattern along the path of
the four year support program.
LB: There’s a period after the surgery which is the healing phase where they are on special diets. They
start with clear fluids and then they have full fluids, and then they move to pureed foods, and then on to
solid foods. And we know that those changes offer different challenges for the patient. So, now we can
proactively send emails saying that this is what’s going to happen, these are the things you can expect,
and it takes away that feeling of uncertainty that they’re not sure if what they’re feeling is okay. That
has reduced a lot of the support calls where people are calling us and saying: Oh, well I’m feeling this. Is
this normal? Now, they get the email anticipating that and saying that it’s normal to feel this, it’s
normal that you’ll be experiencing this.
And then you’ll find that patients go through a period of testing the band and seeing how far they can
push it, can I eat this, can I eat that, and that usually happens around the six to eight month mark. And
again, we anticipate that with this series of emails we’re creating to help them along.
Narrator: Slimband is looking at the success of this campaign both in terms of increased revenues and
LB: In this case we’re actually measuring two things. The first being an increase in actual patient
referrals and the second being a reduction in the post-op support calls and emails. But we’ve also
already planned for a decrease in staffing costs as we anticipate that we’ll need one less person on the
patient support team as a direct result of this new program. When you consider that a support person’s
salary is in the region of $50,000 a year, you could effectively say that we’ve already saved that amount
of money by implementing this campaign.
Narrator: Developing a sophisticated drip communications program such as this creates a lot of
opportunities for learning what works and what doesn’t. The effectiveness of this campaign has
benefited from these lessons, among them the benefit of simplicity.
LB: I’d say the biggest take home lesson was to keep it simple. Initially we had developed a lot of A/B
scenarios and branching logic and we had, you know, if they open this email and click this link they’ll get
another email, but it turned out to be very difficult to properly implement and manage. Now what we
do is we focus more on the timing and the frequency of the email delivery and that has produced better
results for us.
There’s almost what we’d call a sweet spot to how many emails people will receive before they
unsubscribe. So, you want to keep up the communication with both the leads and the patients, but
each of those groups have different expectations of how often you contact them. What we’ve been
testing is the ideal period in between emails that people will continue to be happy to receive them and
not unsubscribe, and that’s turned out to be about a period of three weeks.
Narrator: The strategic marketing initiatives being implemented today at Slimband are setting the
course for even greater success over the next three to five years.
LB: We’re already the leader in weight loss surgery programs within Canada. But what we’re hoping to
achieve is a faster growth on a national scale. Our goal is to open several new centers in all provinces
across Canada and we’re hoping to do this within the next twelve months. This program has allowed us
to expand faster than we normally would have done without it.
I mean I have to say that Right On Interactive were really good in helping us achieve a lot of goals which
allowed us to grow really quickly because like I said, removing the email communications, automating
that process freed up a lot of time, both from the pre-op stage where we are dealing with the leads and
the post-op stage in dealing with patients, so it’s a very nice solution. We’ve been very happy with it.
Narrator: The Marketing Spotlight is a production of Right On Interactive. Information about our
customer lifecycle marketing automation products, as well as our latest whitepapers, podcasts, and
other resources are available at rightoninteractive.com.
About Right On Interactive
Right On Interactive (ROI) is a customer lifecycle marketing automation software provider that
transforms the way marketers nurture business relationships – from initial contact to brand advocacy.
The ROI “software-as-a-service” (SaaS) solution helps companies win and retain more customers,
optimize marketing effectiveness, and maximize the lifetime value of customers. ROI serves more than
300 customers, including Carrier, Marsh Supermarkets, Wild Birds Unlimited, Compendium, TeaLeaf
Technology, and LightBound. For more information, visit www.rightoninteractive.com.
Audio production and voice-over services provided by Rich Cunningham Voiceover