🧗‍♀️ Shea Cole: Fullscript, VP Marketing
Play • 25 min

Tell yourself, “I can do hard things.”  What does the data say? What is the insight I can pull from the data? What is the creative idea I have based on that insight? Take the hassle out of the purchase journey. What product-market-fit means for a new segment of users. Focus over speed. Strategy over plans. Regaining SEO. Meaning, difference and salience. Understand what motivates your customer, how they view your product, or the problem that it solves. You find that tension in their lives then you solve for it.

Here’s what Katy McFee said about Shea:

Shea Cole. So I worked with Shea at a company called Fullscript. She is the VP Marketing there, and she is a force. So this woman, she is just like a branding queen, and she took that company from very early days to like explosive, massive rocket-growth and was very instrumental in making that happen. So, I think she would be a fantastic guest for you.
—Katy McFee, Founder and Principal of Insights to Action → Listen

What are 3 ways that your team converts your market into revenue?

1) Generating new leads using content marketing. We're super focused on SEO and high-quality content. Our customer base are professionals, they're healthcare practitioners, so we make sure that our content is written by other healthcare practitioners, and filled with keywords, but also extremely evidence-based. We get a lot of cheap, high quality leads that way. 

2) Email marketing. Then, once our customers come into our our funnel, and they become existing customers, email marketing. So, we take that same content that we wrote on our blog to generate leads, and we email it to them just to keep our customers engaged, to remind them that the content is there, and it keeps us top of mind, which drives that platform usage.

3) Take the hassle out of the purchase journey. The last way that I'll highlight is that we take a lot of care to make sure that we take the hassle out of the purchase journey for our customers. Healthcare practitioners are recommending supplements through Fullscript and then their patients are coming onto our platform to purchase supplements. We want make this dead simple for the patients. We want to take all the thinking out of it. So what we do is we analyze the order behavior of the patients. We analyze the dosage instructions of the practitioners. And based on that, we know when a patient is running low on their supplements and we reach out to them and we say, “Hey, it's probably time to refill. Click here to refill.” And so, they don't have to think about, “Hey, it's, it's probably time for me to log onto Fullscript and place an order. We do that thinking for them. It comes right to their inbox. They never miss a day in their treatment plan. Super simple, but very effective.

What are 3 hard problems that you recently overcame?

1) I recently came back from a maternity leave. And I'm in Canada, so that's a long leave. It’s anywhere up to a year. Mine was eight months. Two days after I came back from maternity leave, we acquired one of our biggest competitors. So my whole plan for onboarding, and getting lots of attention from the team so that they could get me up to speed on what was going on, all went out the window, because everyone was so wrapped up in, “Oh my God, we just acquired a company. How do we merge two teams?” This is, I think, a really good example of what it's like to work in a high growth company, because you have to embrace that chaos and set aside your expectations for anything to be smooth and just be resilient. Otherwise, you don't survive.  

2) Regaining our SEO traffic after a 50% drop in 2020. I told you earlier in the show that we're really focused on driving leads through SEO. Back in 2020, Google had a big algorithm change and it impacted the health and wellness space more than many industries. We saw our SEO plummet by almost 50%, and this was a big lead source for us. So hugely problematic. At the time, we were focused mainly on just producing high quality content, and what we learned through this is that's not really enough. We had to step up our technical talent and bring in SEO expertise to really get ahead of those algorithm changes and manage that more technical side of content marketing. So now in 2022, we're back up to the site traffic that we were at in 2020. It took us that long to get there because that's how SEO works. You just have to claw your way up bit by bit by bit. We had to actually relaunch our entire site, take a little hit that way, but then regain. But, we got there. 

3) It's really unrealistic to expect that everyone is going to love having you as a boss. So, I think this one might be a little controversial. It's something really important that I learned recently about managing a team and being a leader. Early on in my career, I really cared about being that manager that everyone loved to have as a boss. I still really care about my people and I really want to be a great manager, but what I have to learn was that it's really unrealistic to expect that everyone is going to love having you as a boss, because the truth is that some people are just not going to like you because you have to have tough conversations when you're leading a team, especially when you're leading a big team. Sometimes, people are not going to understand how much you appreciate them, because, as a manager with multiple levels underneath you, you have to let your managers that are underneath you manage their people. That means, sometimes, you have to step away from the relationship.  Not everyone is going to appreciate where the cards fall for them, but as long as you try to be as empathetic and fair and transparent as you possibly can be, then, you're doing your best for people and you just have to make peace with the fact that not everyone is going to love you.

What are 3 roadblocks that you’re working on now?

1) We are reaching a plateau in our media buying because we were doing everything in-house, and I think that that was the right choice for us at one time, where we were small and bootstrapped and scrappy and we could do a good job in-house. Now, we've grown to a size where my team needs to be focused on other things. As our paid media starts reaching a plateau, we're reaching diminishing returns, we are moving to an external agency to buy that media. So, let's see if this works. I'm super hopeful. I think it will allow my team to focus on other channels, and on creative, and on research. So, I think it's the right decision for us right now, but we're at a transition point. 

2) We are switching to a new marketing automation tool, and unfortunately we've made that switch a couple times, because finding the right automation tool is so important and you don't always get it right. The other thing is: as you go through different stages of growth, a super simple tool might be the right tool for you at the beginning because your team can learn it really quickly, but then as you scale, you might need something a little bit more complex. So, switching to a new marketing automation tool means getting the right technical talent, getting the right consultants to help you set it up, getting buy-in from the engineering and data analytics teams to make sure that everything is flowing smoothly from your CRM to your automation to your attribution and your reporting. Everything needs to work in tandem. That's a huge proble...

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