Future Focused - Healthy content: a conversation with Josh Casey

Published on

March 19, 2024


Josh Casey

Josh Casey, Marketing Manager, Global Content at US-based QuidelOrtho, and Daniel Dagher, Founder and Managing Director of Bray St., talk shop.

Hi, Josh. Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself; what unique blend of experience and expertise paved the way for your current role?

“I started my career working with large financial services clients as an Account Manager in ad agencies. I became more interested in the creative side of the business as my career moved along and ultimately switched over to copywriting roles in agencies then in-house creative teams on the corporate side. I worked for a large animal health diagnostic company for several years before eventually finding QuidelOrtho.

But it was 2015 when content marketing became really big that I realised I could use both my strategic and creative skills in this way, so I transitioned from traditional marketing communications work to content marketing and inbound demand generation. I joined a SaaS start-up and it was my executive education on all things content, inbound and marketing automation. I really learned a lot about paid, earned and owned channels and how to keep the pipeline full.”

Can you tell us more about QuidelOrtho, what it does and your role within the organisation?

“QuidelOrtho is a global in vitro diagnostics company serving hospitals, clinical laboratories, blood banks, physicians and consumers. Our products range from simple handheld tests for COVID-19 to automated chemistry laboratory systems. As the Marketing Manager for Global Content, I deal with everything from digital content to sales collateral. We’ve got 29 regional websites, 7,000 employees and operate in 130 countries with around $4b in annual revenue.”

In the realm of demand generation, could you share insights into content strategies that have proven effective both within the industry and your specific role?

“Company marketing can be traditional, so there’s a huge opportunity for brands to lead with content and a demand-gen approach rather than sell sheets. I was hired to help operate a content marketing function and we had a lot of early success with top-of-funnel efforts, webinars, whitepapers, leveraging KOLs in the space, newsletters and sponsored content in proven industry media channels. There are a few very large, deep-pocketed competitors of ours who are doing a good job with demand-gen and content marketing.

Content is a way to stay in front of the customer and provide value over time without pestering them. That's especially important because by the time a prospect is talking to sales impressions have already been made by the information they find on the internet, in the trades, from their peers and or on review sites. It's critical for companies to think up-funnel. Regardless of industry, what works best in demand-gen is finding the intersection between what your audience really cares about and the products you sell. They won't want to read your brochure, but they may be interested to read your whitepaper on the impact of staffing shortages and burnout in healthcare, for example.”

Can you explain why funnel-led communication is the most impactful approach?

“Because purchasing anything is a process, not a transaction, and the more money something costs the more of a process it is. People need to trust you, and they have to trust you to buy from you, and a proven way to get there is by offering them something of value for nothing. Content marketing is a lot of fun because behavioural economics come into play. If you can show customers you're really trying to help them, you’re going to be able to bring them through the funnel so that when they’re ready to buy, you've made it clear that you're the right choice. It's helping, not selling. Now your brand has to demonstrate real value, not just make a great impression, although that's still a very important part of it, too.”

Can you detail a couple of stand-out projects you collaborated on with Bray St.?

“Two of my favourite campaigns were in the animal-health tech space. The company was historically focused on bottom-funnel activities, so I was brought in to build the content approach. Working with Bray St., we created two large-scale integrated campaigns focused on change management in the veterinary practice and the second was focused on the value of wellness plans to pet health. These were multifaceted campaigns and we had tactics from top-to-bottom of the funnel including ebooks, animations, case studies, user reviews, paid ads, vibrant infographics, blogs, emails, web and landing pages. Everything was completely integrated from a design and messaging standpoint. It was especially great because the company and industry had never really seen anything like it. It took off instantly and we saw thousands of leads from it, generating millions in revenue. We ran these campaigns for 18 months and kept seeing great conversion rates. The campaigns were also adapted for our global markets, so we really got a lot of mileage out of them (or ‘kilometres’, as you say in the UK!).”

How has content strategy and demand generation evolved in recent years, and where do you see as the game-changers of the future?

“Content and demand gen has definitely changed and the same strategies and tactics may not have the same pull as they had before, depending on the industry and dynamics. If you're bringing something new to the category it will work. But categories like SaaS have seen it all, so you'd better sharpen your pencil a bit. A simple example is gating content, which everyone used to do. But that defies behavioural economics now. Everyone knows you're going to spam them. So, whatever you're offering better be truly valuable or you don’t gate it and let them have it for nothing knowing that it's helping to build your brand. But there can be a pretty simple litmus for whether or not to gate something. And, of course, there are metrics. So, if your content isn't performing, consider why. Is it quality? Is it not good enough to gate? Has your audience soured on giving up their contact info for a sales pitch?”

What do you see as the biggest opportunity for content-led demand generation strategy in 2024?

“AI and PR. First, AI. Not for the reasons you think I might say, perhaps, but the inverse. As more marketers rely on AI-generated content, the content will become less unique and valuable in the process. People aren’t going to rush to consume something they’ve seen a million times before. And they are certainly not going to hand over their contact information for it. AI has its place and value, for sure. But, if you’re trying to create unique content and stories that attract your audience, that takes a lot more work. So, while others may rush to AI and clutter the market with more digital litter, companies that really focus on what the audience cares about and go the extra mile (or ‘kilometre’) to create something of unique value will find it a lot easier to win.

Second, PR. I had the good fortune to work with an amazing tech PR colleague at the first start-up. He really understood what the media wanted (hint: it wasn't press releases about your latest product feature). We collaborated on a lot of great ideas and got amazing coverage in top-tier consumer and business media with every campaign we ran. That was in part because we could tell stories with our content based on data. I recall getting grilled by an editor at WSJ over some data we had provided for a story that came from one of the studies I ran. We weren't making it up and we knew how to drive interest in the story. Not every company can do this but putting the PR filter on your content strategy can amplify your efforts. But it has to be real and on subjects people care about. Ultimately, topics that will help the media connect with its audience. If you can layer that onto your content strategy it’s gold.”

If you could leave readers with one last thought, what would it be?

Measure everything you can and make sure your results have visibility with key stakeholders in the organisation. I suppose that’s two thoughts but the key idea is really to demonstrate how content marketing and demand generation can help build audience and brand, and how that in turn directly influences sales and revenue growth. Connecting the dots from “click to close” and being able to show the financial impact of your campaigns is essential. Demand gen is one of the few areas in marketing where that kind of measurement is not just possible, but relatively easy to achieve.

written by

Daniel Dagher

Founder & Client Partner

Bray St.

Become a Bray St. brand and choose long-term success
We partner with brands we believe in, whatever your stage of growth. If we've found each other, then we share the same vision.
Get in touch