“Don’t get caught up in task management.”
For Mike Wallach, chief marketing officer at Chicago’s GoHealth, that is the most important takeaway from a long career in marketing: Rather than think of your assignments as a to-do list, think of how your work affects the company’s broader goals — and how you can improve processes to foster better collaboration.
In his first year as the healthtech provider’s CMO, Wallach expects to expand his team significantly with entrepreneurial marketers tasked with developing several new marketing channels. We caught up with him about his vision for the team.
What does GoHealth do?
We use technology to connect customers and health insurance companies. What struck me about GoHealth was that it was able to innovate in a complex industry like health insurance. Particularly considering how much the industry has been impacted by change and regulation.
In healthcare, like in other industries, solid marketing can produce solid results. It’s all about ensuring that our value propositions are relevant to customers and clearly articulated.
Beyond the product itself, what was the most exciting thing to you about GoHealth?
Of the companies I’ve worked for, the most effective ones were the ones where people come first and where collaboration is king. And that’s definitely the case here.
What is your biggest vision for the team in the upcoming year?
I’m going to build an explosive team. I’m looking for talented, highly motivated, smart marketers to build out new acquisition, retention and branding strategies. That’s a great pitch to have for strong candidates. When you can come into a role and define it, that’s one of the most interesting places to be in as a professional.
We’re also going to enhance customer engagement. In our industry, companies focus a lot on the initial sale. But there’s an opportunity to build out longer relationships with customers as their needs change, in order to help them find affordable solutions. It’s all about establishing a dialogue, providing value-added services, and bringing them information and education.
How do you build a team to align with that vision?
I’m building out a new leadership structure within the team, adding product directors, digital sales and e-commerce roles. Basically, we’re taking what was a very powerful acquisition engine and adding new channels to that architecture.
We’re also going to take a step back to look holistically at how our customers consume media. There’s a number of untapped opportunities out there — although I can’t get too specific.
What do you look for in the people you hire?
We’re looking for drive, passion, intelligence and collaboration. You can teach people an industry, but you can’t teach core competencies like that. Those are internal drivers.
As someone who’s risen through the ranks in the marketing industry, what is the best piece of advice you can offer to a marketer just starting out in their career?
Don’t get caught up in task management. Think about the big picture and about how what you’re doing can help serve customers and drive sales. Junior individual contributors often start off working with a to-do list. But maintaining the big picture view helps people feel more valued, productive and successful.
It also opens up awareness to how tasks are related. If you’re thinking about the bigger picture, the output will inevitably get better. That’s definitely helped me throughout my career.