MarTech Interview with Ellen Donahue-Dalton, Chief Marketing Officer at VillageMD

Ellen Donahue-Dalton, Chief Marketing Officer of VillageMD
takes us through a few marketing tips and her thoughts on the future of martech in this quick chat:


Tell us more about your journey through the years and what you’re most looking forward to in your new role as CMO at VillageMD?

My professional journey has always included marketing roles at the intersection of industry transformation, technology and changing consumer behaviors and expectations.  I’m most excited about the VillageMD role because I can be part of improving the patient experience we all expect, desire and deserve from our healthcare system.

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What are some best practices that you’d like to share with marketers of newer companies or those who are currently working towards creating brand presence in national markets?

If you’re a marketer in a newer company, or one who needs to create a national brand, my recommendation is this: Take as much time as you can to observe really carefully – that includes but is not limited to gathering facts and nuances and digging out the unexpected dynamics in emerging opportunities.  A new brand must be distinctive and boldly surface and serve un-met needs and desires for the target audiences. 

Can you talk about some of the core skills you feel most of today’s marketing hires and especially senior level executives need to have more of to help drive faster marketing ROI?

I heard this quote recently and loved it: “Don’t bring an MBA to a design fight.”  Jokes aside, the skill I believe that is most important to drive ROI is to efficiently solve a big problem in a big way.  The numbers only tell part of the story — the rest you have to imagine and design. 

For CMOs in healthcare and healthtech: what are some basic fundamentals that you feel can drive better brand growth and retention?

If you’re a CMO in health tech, realize this: Almost nobody wants to buy technology.  It’s expensive, problematic and sometimes doesn’t work as advertised.  You, and your tech colleagues, might think your technology is beautiful, but your customers just want you to make their lives easier.  

What are some of the core marketing technologies that you feel marketing teams should not be doing without, today, at least in the B2B and tech marketplace?

My favorite core marketing technologies help my team and me listen to the buying signals in the market and respond faster to serve them.  

A few predictions that you have for the future of martech and marketing as a role/the way teams will shape up in future?

The future of martech is so promising — I can’t imagine successfully and efficiently marketing any product or service of scale without the right infrastructure, tools, data flows, and an IT partnership.  In my new role, the head of engineering is a key stakeholder — together, we’re assessing and re-building our tech platform.  From a team standpoint, I’m focused on these areas of skill: analytics, communications, digital savvy and enduring sense of humor.  

A few takeaways for marketing leaders and CMOs in 2021: top factors they should keep in mind as they plan for the rest of the year, innovate and expand their teams?

I am an optimist — I believe the next months in 2021 are a time to reset and rebuild for a new world.  I believe consumers are in a time of transition — in some ways wanting to move forward amid the Covid-19 pandemic and in other ways wanting to make permanent changes that the pandemic surfaced.  It’s time to observe and understand the nuanced behavior changes that will drive new attitudes and purchasing patterns in the future. 

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VillageMD is a leading provider of healthcare for organizations moving toward a primary care-led, high-value clinical model.

Ellen Donahue-Dalton is the Chief Marketing Officer of VillageMD. She has more than 25 years of experience leading results-driven business-to-business and direct-to-consumer marketing for healthcare and consumer brands. At VillageMD, she is responsible for activating the company’s Village Medical brand nationally, in support of optimal provider and patient experience delivery. She also serves on the advisory boards for Aging Life Care Association, a membership organization for private care managers; and End Well, a non-profit media platform and forum dedicated to individual choice around end-of-life.  She is a member of Women Business Leaders (WBL), an executive women’s networking organization, the Georgia State Marketing Roundtable, an Atlanta-area CMO forum, and the CMO Club.  

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