On Wednesday, I will share Fujifilm SonoSite’s YouTube case study at the Medical Development Group (MDG) May Forum on New Media Strategies for Medical Devices.
SonoSite is the innovator and world leader in bedside and point-of-care ultrasound and an industry leader in ultra high-frequency micro-ultrasound technology. Headquartered near Seattle, the company is represented by 26 subsidiaries and a global distribution network in over 100 countries. SonoSite’s portable, compact systems are expanding the use of ultrasound across the clinical spectrum by cost-effectively bringing high-performance ultrasound to the point of patient care.
In early 2011, SonoSite began preparing for major product roll-outs over the next two years. Although SonoSite’s management was confident that these new products would raise the “innovation bar” in point-of-care ultrasound visualization, it also needed to deal with a shift in the marketing paradigm.
According to a study commissioned by Google that was released in November 2009, 86% of U.S. physicians use the Internet to gather health, medical or prescription drug information. This is why healthcare firms need to reexamine their business models and proactively seek new ways to stay ahead of the competition.
In January 2011, SonoSite engaged the Rutgers Center for Management Development (CMD) to offer a customized executive education program to 40 SonoSite employees at the company’s headquarters. The Rutgers Mini-MBA: Digital Marketing program was tailored to SonoSite’s specific corporate needs for eight target audiences and marketing objectives.
I taught two of the 10 modules in the program. One covered Video Marketing and showed how to get more people to discover, watch and share the videos on SonoSite’s channel on YouTube. The other covered Online PR 2.0 and showed how to use content marketing, SEO PR, and blogger outreach to generate publicity, traffic, and leads.
Following the program, Rutgers asked me to provide additional consulting and advisory services to each of the eight teams created during the program. On March 8, 2011, these teams presented specific proposals for new projects. Following these presentations, SonoSite’s executive board approved all eight proposals.
And Kevin Goodwin, SonoSite’s President and CEO, said,
“The Rutgers Digital Marketing Program was not only eye-opening for us, but also laid the groundwork for several inspired projects we currently have underway. I have no doubt that the results of these new initiatives will pay for the course many times over.”
For example, before I taught the Video Marketing module two years ago, SonoSite’s channel on YouTube had 99,529 total upload views. This was 17.8% fewer views than the 121,109 total upload views that GE Healthcare’s YouTube channel had.
But Luke Baldwin, the Manager of Digital Content at SonoSite, took what he’d learned in the Video Marketing module and implemented all the important tips, best practices, and strategies that I’d taught.
Among other things, he wrote optimized titles, tags, and descriptions for SonoSite’s existing video content. And if you search for a term like, cardiac ultrasound parasternal, you will see that SonoSite videos rank #1, #2, and #3 in YouTube search results.
You will also see SonoSite videos rank #1, #2, and #3 in Google search results for the same term.
By the way, the fact that other companies are advertising for cardiac ultrasound parasternal indicates how valuable it is for SonoSite to have the top three organic rankings.
Baldwin also built a cohesive channel strategy and viewing experience. Two years ago, SonoSite’s YouTube channel had 253 subscribers. Today, it has 4,590, an increase of 1,714.2%. He has also produced a compelling channel trailer that helps to turn first-time visitors into long-term subscribers.
SonoSite also created new content to build a genuine community around the company’s YouTube channel and what it stands for. You can see this in one of its newest videos, which is entitled, “Floating Doctors: Emergency Ultrasound in Bahia Azule.”
The video tells the latest story about the Floating Doctors, a non-profit medical team that delivers medical services to remote communities, which has been using SonoSite portable ultrasound since they set sail for their first medical mission to Haiti in 2010. Since then, they have performed nearly 1,000 ultrasound exams and over 600 mobile medical clinics using the same system. In this episode, Dr. Ben LaBrot and his team travels through torrential rains and rugged terrain to reach a woman, 5 months pregnant, who had recently fallen down a hillside and was concerned for the health of her unborn child.
Two years later, SonoSite’s channel on YouTube has 1,735,902 video views. This was 102.3% more views than the 858,025 video views that GE Healthcare’s YouTube channel had.
And SonoSite’s YouTube channel is turning viewers into customers. According to Compete PRO, unique visitors to SonoSite.com increased 569.7% from 4,710 in March 2011 to 31,543 in March 2013. By comparison, unique visitors to GEHealthcare.com increased almost 40.0% from 58,987 to 82,564 over the same period.
SonoSite’s ability to develop and produce industry-leading and price-competitive products for both point-of-care and traditional diagnostic markets is one of the reasons why Fujifilm acquired SonoSite for approximately $995 million in March 2012. SonoSite’s ability to use YouTube to build brand awareness and drive a significant number of visitors and leads to the company’s website is another.
The combination of innovative products and innovative marketing are an unbeatable one-two punch.