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Featured Marketer: Kyle Berry, Director of Marketing, Emmi Solutions

Mike Santoro

We’re launching a new monthly feature on Footprints in which we interview some of the top marketing minds who, everyday, deal with the same issues that you do. They are dealing with ever increasing pressure from sales, new emerging technologies, and a desire to continue to produce results in the changing economy.

Kyle Berry Marketing DirectorOur first featured marketer is Kyle Berry, Director of Marketing for Emmi Solutions, a company that “helps patients make sense of complicated medical information”. My understanding is that if I’m about to undergo heart surgery, I want to know what’s going to happen. My doctor prescribes an Emmi program to show an interactive engaging web-based program of exactly what’s going to happen, discussing the risks and providing me with the ability to document questions for my doctor, thus easing my fears and answering many of questions I’ll have. Pretty cool stuff.

We’ve been fortunate to work with Berry on a few projects and he’s one of the most talented marketers we know. Here, as he transitions to a new role at Emmi Solutions, he agreed to sit down and chat about what’s made him successful.

Give us the company boilerplate. What does your company do?

Emmi Solutions helps patients make sense of complicated medical information. Our award-winning programs use interactive media to engage patients—empowering them to take more active roles in their care.

What’s your story? How did you get to where you are now?

I got into marketing right out of college. My career started on the agency side of things but I quickly realized that I wanted to be on the "other side of the table" and calling the shots. Over the years, I've led in-house marketing departments for both large and small firms in a variety of industries.

This most recent position allows me to bring that vast experience to a new industry - healthcare. I had worked with Emmi Solutions in the past on a consulting basis so I understood their issues. When the position became available on a full-time basis, the Founder called me and asked me if I'd like to return. It was an opportunity in a challenging field that I couldn’t turn down.

Tell us what a typical day is like for you.

A typical day is not typical at all. As with most small companies, we operate within a very entrepreneurial environment and I do what I can to pitch in - marketing-related or not. My focus is on building the strategic marketing plan, working to generate leads, and creating the support for sales that impacts the bottom line. But sometimes you have to step up to prepare for a big meeting or pull together a deck for a presentation. You do what you need to do to keep the business moving forward.

then we came to the endWhat book do you recommend every marketer should read?

There are always the traditional marketing reference books, but I just finished a lighter, more entertaining read: Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris. It’s a story of a copywriter's experience at a Chicago ad agency during the dot com bust. Funny book.

What are some publications, newsletters, websites, you consider must read on a daily/weekly basis?

For me, it's mostly healthcare and healthcare IT-related publications.  I'm relatively new to healthcare, so I am doing my best to get up to speed on the industry.

What's a marketing activity that you’ve been a part of that makes you proud?

Current economic conditions are forcing very limited budgets and resources so I don’t have a big flashy marketing campaign to talk about. Most of my team's time and effort is spent supporting our sales and support teams with relevant and effective marketing and PR.

Emmi_Solutions_WebsiteOne big project that I’m really proud of is the new Emmi Solutions website. We architected, designed, coded and wrote the entire site, in house with "borrowed" resources. It took a small team two months to get the site ready for launch, but it allowed us to really own the brand and execute in the exact way we wanted.  Developing the site internally saved the company more than $50k. I’m really proud of that.

That sounds challenging. What made this a success?

Developing a website in-house does present some challenges - especially when you are working with "borrowed" resources. With the rich interactive experiences we build for our clients in the healthcare industry, we were fortunate to have team members on staff that could do this. That isn’t the case for most companies.

The big challenge we faced was that these folks have their 'real' responsibilities and client projects (and product development) takes precedence over a new website. So it might have taken longer to develop the site in house, but we saved money and have a pride in ownership that we wouldn't have had if it were outsourced. I'd recommend that other marketers ask around their companies to see what hidden talents may be inside their four walls. I knew my team was comprised of talented artists, but they also had some hidden talents when it came to coding and developing.  Who knew? And what they didn't know, they figured out on their own. Building the right team of enthusiastic and talented people was the key to our success.

What is a campaign/tactic that you have recently seen that wowed you? Why did it impress you so much?

I absolutely love the "Most interesting man in the world" TV and radio spots for Dos Equis beer. Very funny and memorable - and good beer. It's made me think of (and buy) the product when I'm out shopping for beer. What more could you ask for in a marketing campaign?

What's an emerging technology, trend, or tactic that you think will revolutionize marketing?

It’s not so "emerging" anymore, but social media marketing has, and will continue to revolutionize marketing. I'm totally on board with LinkedIn and blogging, but have yet to fully understand effective B2B applications of Twitter and Facebook. I’m looking forward to experimenting in these areas and learning more about how B2B companies are using these tools effectively.

What traits do you consider most important to success in the profession?

Flexibility, strategic, sponge-like, and thick-skinned.

What's some advice you would give to someone just starting in the field?

Don't be afraid to ask questions.  Believe it or not, some of us "experienced marketers" have a lot of knowledge and are more than willing to share.

Why were you drawn to the field?

Once my dreams of turning pro for the Red Sox faded, I decided on the whole marketing thing. I have the TV show 30 Something to thank for that.

What else do you have to say?

I'll have a venti non-fat, no whip mocha.

UPDATE: Emmi Solutions is now blogging at Engaging the Patient. The blog is the latest in a number of steps that Emmi Solutions hopes will better inform and engage the healthcare industry and its patients.

Kyle Berry is the Marketing Director for Emmi Solutions. Emmi Solutions, LLC, is the creator of technology-based communication solutions and producer of award-winning Emmi programs. Health care organizations nationwide use Emmi programs to engage patients and positively impact the patient experience across the continuum of care. Whether it’s helping people prepare for a procedure or manage a chronic disease, every detail of the Emmi platform is designed with a single goal in mind: to improve the patient experience. You can find Emmi Solutions at