A day in the life

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Wellness marketers dish on the benefits of taking your message to the masses

Wellness matters. Inclusion and self-care are at the top of everyone’s priority list, and Market Watch’s “Health And Wellness Market” report shows that wellness-inspired consumers spend $4.2 trillion a year on nutrition, personal-care products, fitness, and other sectors of the marketplace.

The task of continually generating the kind of messaging that transcends a one-size-fits-all approach to the pursuit of wellness perfection is critical. Marketers from around the wellness space know their message must hit the mark across the board.

To get a feel for what the daily battle looks like, we sat down with several wellness marketers from around the marketplace, including Emily Gudakunst, marketing director, Kodas Dental; Kris Mulkey, VP of Marketing, In-Shape Health Clubs; and Sandra Young, OD, Ocular Wellness & Nutrition Society.

What does a typical day look like?

Emily Gudakunst, Kodas Dental: We start our days with a morning huddle to discuss any potential hiccups, identify treatment needs and get a strategy for the future schedule. We have four hygienists and two full-time doctors, as well as a full administrative staff to support the scheduling needs. With 20 people in our fast paced office, there is never a dull moment. It is important to always know what the patients’ next steps are and what clinical and administrative are doing. We do not want to miss opportunities for our patients and we want to be sure we are available as much as possible. We do all of this while maintaining a welcome home environment. Our philosophy is to always treat patients like they are family.

In-Shape Health Clubs’ Kris Mulkey: A typical day is four to six meetings throughout the day to discuss marketing initiatives, work on cross-functional team projects, and many touch-base meetings on business results and initiatives. I always try to grab a workout during the day with the team or join a group fitness class at the end of the day.

Sandra Young, Ocular Wellness & Nutrition Society: As an optometrist, I run a rather unconventional business. When writing, I spend the morning at my computer and the afternoon in the kitchen creating recipes. Recipe creation and testing is quite a lot of work, not to mention expensive. It will surprise many people to find out that most recipes have not been tested prior to publication. Other days, I give cooking demonstrations and lectures. This is very important for wellness-conscious consumers.

Businesswoman standing and leading business presentation. Female executive putting her ideas during presentation in conference room.

What are you finding are some of the biggest pain points for today’s wellness-conscious consumers?

Gudakunst: Even though there is a health-conscious trend happening today, we still find the lack of knowledge among patients in regards to dental relating to overall systemic health is still large. We educate and then educate again. The more knowledge we can share with our patients about why something is recurring or has occurred, the more power they have to make the best decisions on their treatment. Our goal and priority is to always get our patients to their top optimal oral health. As a cosmetic provider on top of a general practitioner, we work to bridge the gap between health and confidence building.

Mulkey: Time and motivation. We are all time poor, so prioritizing your health can sometimes be a difficult lifestyle change. At In-Shape, we emphasize the importance of consistency. We also try to remove the myth that you have to spend hours at the gym to realize the benefits. As marketers, we need to demonstrate the benefit of consistency rather than intensity—try to take the intimidation out of fitness so our members can realize the benefits of a consistent fitness routine.

“As marketers, we need to demonstrate the benefit of consistency rather than intensity.”
— Kris Mulkey, In-Shape Health Clubs

Young: The heart of my business is educating my clients and the general public on the importance of eating for eye health and wellness. So, from what I see, their pain points are related to several common eye maladies with a nutritional component such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), age-related cataracts and dry eye. I have written two books on this topic: “Visionary Kitchen: A Cookbook for Eye Health” and “Heal Your Dry Eyes: Nutrition & Recipes.”

What type of content are consumers looking for?

Gudakunst: We believe in a healthy mix of materials, from traditional mailings to online presence and social pages to keep our patients engaged. We find we win and cut through the clutter through our internal patient engagement. It is about how our patients feel when they are in the office. Our word of mouth is hands down our top referral source.

There is a whole frontier of “do it yourself” and “how to guides” out there. If you can create content and share knowledge that breaks down treatment into layman’s terms, they will be more educated and buy into your treatment plan.

Mulkey: From a content perspective, our members are looking for up-to-date, on-trend content that inspires them in the gym or in the kitchen. They are looking for information that supports their entire health and wellness journey. In terms of acquisition and prospective members, we are always trying new ways to inspire them to join our community. When we can evoke an emotional response from our marketing material that brings our unique community to life and all our membership has to offer, we see success.

Young: Consumers need to know what to eat and how to prepare it for their eye health and wellness. With the demands of work, family, etc., it is difficult to take the time to cook. But people appreciate having the knowledge to affect the course of their health and wellness.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of the job?

Gudakunst: As a small and independent practice, the most challenging is fighting the larger corporate stigmas that patients tend to believe and the price tag that sometimes goes with it. Also, getting patients to understand their insurance benefits, which does not always have their best interest when it comes to their complete dental care. The most rewarding part is seeing patients return to the office.

Mulkey: I love the constant challenge to come up with creative solutions to the universal challenge of motivation. We believe we are in the motivating people business rather than the gym membership business. The most challenging part of my job is to constantly evolve our approach so we can reach new members and continue to engage current members. And if we were not literally changing lives with what we do, that challenge would also be the most rewarding part of it. I suppose it’s a close second.

What does the future look like?

Gudakunst: Despite all the digital data, apps and online influence, I still see that what is most important are traditional relationships and building trust with patients the old fashioned way. I think people are hungry for personal connections. Sharing a relatable story that inspires another person to take action is still worth more than the latest social media post.

At the end of the day you could have the best and shiny new tools, but if your patients do not trust that you have their best interest at heart, they will not accept treatment and they won’t give you their loyalty. I think there are lots of businesses in general who have lost sight of this key ingredient, but think there will be a comeback in traditional relationship building.

“I think people are hungry for personal connections. Sharing a relatable story that inspires another person to take action is still worth more than the latest social media post.”
— Emily Gudakunst, Kodas Dental

Mulkey: We are seeing the emergence of what we call social fitness. We believe it is here to stay. Our community is really special—whether it is a group fitness class that goes for coffee afterward, a group of Pickleball players that play every Friday night, or best friends getting together at one of our special Sweat Fest events. In this digital world, we see people who want to sweat to connect. I see this continuing to grow and we are excited to be on the forefront of a lot of these activities.

Young: I would like to write a children’s eye health cookbook, “Visionary Kids in the Kitchen.” Prevention is worth more than a pound of cure when it comes to eye health. Certain nutrients protect the eyes against photo-oxidative stress. This stress is additive throughout life.