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Sarah McIntyre

Sarah McIntyre
Head of Marketing at MedAdvisor | Founder & Chief Strategist at Bright Inbound on The Future of Growth Strategy.

At Marketing Trends we are discovering what drives Australia’s top marketers. MedAdvisor is a global MedTech platform founded with the purpose of simplifying medication management. Sarah McIntyre tells us about her role as the company's Head of Marketing, her thoughts on the future of Growth Strategy and her experience as Founder & Chief Strategist at Bright Inbound Marketing.

Read her story here:

Career & professional background

Sarah, how did your career in marketing start?

I started my career at a start-up in Sales. I eventually grew with the company and ran US marketing, until we were acquired and merged with another start-up based in San Francisco. When you’re in a start-up you have to be resourceful, accountable and do everything. I wasn’t “trained” as a marketer, so I learned from doing and have a sales centric mindset.  This resourceful and entrepreneurial approach still informs my approach to marketing today.

If you hadn’t pursued a career in marketing,  in which other industry do you think you might be?

I completed professional dance training, so dance still holds a place in my heart. By now, I’d be a choreographer or administrator in the arts, as my knees didn’t make it. I also grew up in a family of renovators, my family home was a continual construction site! So far, I’ve renovated two properties of my own and would love to do more.

Could you tell us about your role at MedAdvisor and about founding Bright Inbound Marketing?

MedAdvisor is a global med-tech company focused on the problem of non-adherence to medication and improving health outcomes for those with chronic illness. Our solution connects people to pharmacies and educational content.

At MedAdvisor my team covers three business units (patients, pharmacy and pharma) and two geographies (ANZ and UK).  We are a small, but mighty team and lean heavily on marketing technology to give us the ability to swiftly execute at scale.

I founded Bright Inbound when I had my second child. I wanted to continue working, however, my global campaigns role meant that I was often travelling across Asia. This wasn’t sustainable and flexible working wasn’t possible. So, I founded my own company to give myself and my family flexibility.  

It was also fun to run an agency as you get to execute marketing “best practices” without having to compromise. I was also able to be one of HubSpot's first Australian partners. I’m tremendously proud of the way it's evolved and continues to grow with businesses.  

That was one of the things that attracted me to working with HubSpot. They genuinely care about the success of their partners. Which was different from my observations of other partner channels in the tech industry. I still use it in my job at MedAdvisor and continue to recommend it to other organisations who need a platform for growth.

What type of impact has COVID-19 had on your industry?

For MedAdvisor, COVID-19 has been a blessing as it has fast-tracked the digital transformation of healthcare in Australia. With the release of ePrescribing in the middle of last year, we can now facilitate a completely remote health care journey.

People can have a telehealth consultation, receive an eScript, load it into the MedAdvisor app to connect securely to the pharmacy. The pharmacy can then dispense the prescription and deliver the medication to their home. This 100% digital health journey has only been possible in the last year.

I think for everyone, COVID-19 has proved that flexible working is possible and is not something to be provided as an exception. That alone is a tremendous change for working mothers and working families, giving people back hours of time to their days.

What is the most exciting trend or innovation happening in your field in terms of growth?

I’m very excited about community-led growth, which acts as a multiplier on top of product-led growth.  While this concept isn’t new, what is new is the way companies are intentionally leading with this, rather than it being an afterthought or a nice add-on.

Building an online-community around your product, or industry niche is a people-first way of creating a competitive moat. It’s easy to leave a product, not so easy to leave a community.

Community is the future of growth strategy and introducing a community early on in the customer journey is key for creating:

  • Low touch sales channels.
  • Simple product feedback channels.
  • Brand loyalty.
  • Differentiation.

As a marketer, what do you believe is the biggest challenge facing your industry in the future?

Prioritising, process and consistency. There are so many tools, tactics and channels that marketers need to be across, but you can’t possibly do everything. So you need to be able to gather masses of data, make decisions and trade-offs to continue to execute consistently.

Consistency sounds boring, but it’s the fundamental driver of sustained growth. That, and processes. Building process into everything you do, so that as you grow, you can bring in people to continue to execute consistently.

Tools, recommendations & sources of inspiration

What does a typical day look like for you? How do you structure your week?

I get up at 5:30am, do yoga, meditate, write in my journal and have a green smoothie...LOL. Not really.

A typical day at the moment, does involve walking the dog.  She’s a border collie and very unhappy without two walks a day, so that happens without fail. Yoga and meditation occasionally.

I work four days a week at MedAdvisor and on Wednesdays I work with the charity The Run For Good Project.  For MedAdvisor, I start the week with team meetings, and I try to schedule most of my meetings on a Monday, block Tuesdays out for clear working space and then I come back refreshed and inspired on Thursday.

I do 1:1 meetings with team members on Thursday to make sure things are on track and identify if there are any blockers before we end the week.  At the end of each day, I like to do a brief review of the day and plan the 3 things that I need to get done on the next day, so that I start that day fresh. I also close all my tabs down at the end of the day.  I can’t bear to have multiple windows and tabs open, my kids disagree with this!

What brands do you take inspiration from?

  • HubSpot - their relentless focus on being helpful and adding value to their customers.  The generosity of their content program, HubSpot Academy and the partner program has fuelled their growth.  I can’t wait to see where Yamini Rangan takes them next.
  • Databox - Led by ex-HubSpot execs, Databox’s content strategy is proof of what content marketing excellence looks like and the power of a small team. John Bonini’s journalistic approach to content makes obvious sense and should lead other content marketers to reconsider their content strategies.
  • Airbnb - Their rebrand re-defined the category. They identified the universal truth, that everyone wants to belong. This resonated with people who didn’t want to be tourists, but rather travellers with an authentic lived experience. This brand essence of belonging meant they catapulted themselves above the competition and became a multi-billion dollar business with community at its heart.

Software and tools recommendations: what is the one software you can’t work without and why?

  • HubSpot is the one software platform I can’t work without.  I’ve worked with many other CRMs and marketing automation platforms.  However, HubSpot is the one with the best user experience and commitment to customers.  You can do a lot with a small in-house team and HubSpot and ultimately get to the marketing holy grail, where marketing is clearly attributed to revenue.
  • Canva is another that keeps getting better. There’s no excuse for appalling graphic design now with Canva. Literally anyone can create beautiful graphics and it’s such a joy to work with.

What are three resources you would recommend for anyone working in your field?

I read a lot and am a lifelong learner. I’ve curated a great marketing Twitter feed and I've just discovered April Dunford. I'm currently reading her book Obviously Awesome, which is about taking positioning beyond the traditional framework that gets trotted out time and again.

I’m always taking short courses. LinkedIn Learning has some great content. However, the most interesting and useful ones I’ve done lately are:

  • Brand Strategy Sprint by Prof. Galloway - fantastic immediately actionable brand frameworks that work in today’s environment
  • Build The Right Thing by Sara Sodine Parr (Airbnb researcher) - I participated in her first cohort of this course. It was a fantastic deep dive into creating an actionable qualitative research plan. I learned how to ask the right questions, in the right way, so you build the right things. Instead of validating assumptions and building the wrong thing.

Most important, I would recommend to anyone working in marketing to always keep investing in their own learning.