The role of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in healthcare has changed significantly over time. Traditionally, CMOs mainly focused on advertising and branding. We now play a part in improving the patient experience, aligning the organization’s values with its marketing, and promoting patient-centered care. We help to build trust, encourage innovation, and make sure the patient is at the center of everything. This shift reflects how healthcare is evolving and highlights the CMO’s growing importance in driving positive change.
Recently, I was interviewed by Setup CEO, Joe Koufman, for a CMO Spotlight. We covered various aspects of my role as CMO of Kaiser Permanente, lessons I have learned along the way, and even my favorite book and quote. Below are highlights from our conversation.
“I spend a lot of time with our early career employees, which is a gift. I’ve always been curious and a self-starter, and like to find things that can be fixed, so my advice to them is to have a process improvement mindset. To really think about what comes before and after. Can the process be better? I have done this from early on in my career and it has enabled me to drive for efficiencies and optimization.”
“My superpower is the ability to connect things and make them make sense. I am then able to describe them in a way that people can understand.”
“Trust, integrity, respect, and innovation are the values that we live by. Being willing to show up as your whole self, to be honest and really lean into the work is important, especially in this virtual environment. We need to honor and respect each other as individuals and understand the contexts in which we’re all operating. Building trust is foundational to strong, high-performing teams. My team and I need to be willing to innovate, to take risks, even to fail. Leading with a growth mindset is how you improve.”
“It’s easy to find inspiration and motivation from the communities we serve. We start many of our meetings with customer stories. They are the reason why we do what we do.”
“One of our most successful campaigns took place during the global pandemic where our brand being a source of hope, emotion, and connectivity gave us an opportunity. We told stories that were emotionally driven. It was what people needed to hear at the time. This resulted in some of our highest brand recall, performance, and association ever in the history of KP. On the flip side, in a different campaign we moved too far from the emotional connection and focused more on functional aspects. We didn’t get the results we were looking for. We have learned from both experiences.”
“I carry around a copy of the book “How Will You Measure Your Life” by Clayton Christensen. It’s highlighted. It’s tabbed. I’ve got sticky notes on it. It keeps me grounded and reflecting on the meaning of my life. How do I hold myself accountable personally and professionally?”
“My favorite quote is by Maya Angelou: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ It ties into our campaign conversation. When you focus too much on the functional and non-emotional aspects, that’s not what people will remember. They will remember how the interaction made them feel.”
To view the full CMO Spotlight interview, click here
Kristy LoRusso is a strong advocate for marketing integration and growth through innovation with more than 25 years of leadership experience. Well regarded for her ability to build, lead, and motivate teams, she is a senior marketing executive and an expert in digital and direct marketing, marketing technology, big data, analytics, and consumer insight. As an agent for positive change and advocate for collaboration, Kristy is a creator of sustainable growth and empowerment for those around her. Her degree in psychology aids her in understanding human behavior — as a marketer, a leader and a corporate spokesperson.
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