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Marketing Mavericks: an Interview with Cord Blood Registry’s Tia Newcomer

Published: April 20, 2015

Author: 3Q Digital

Tia NewcomerName: Tia Newcomer

Company: Cord Blood Registry 

Twitter handle: @tnewco 

How long have you been in your current role?

2 years

When you look back at the last six months, what were some of the biggest surprises of your job?

Education is incredibly important in our industry, where 90% of cord blood stem cells are thrown in the medical waste basket.  And price is a barrier to entry.  Yet, when we communicate the value proposition with great content that is personalized and relevant, the price barrier is a secondary conversation. Customers want a great product and great service with a great price (who doesn’t love a deal?).  That is the new model for business and a shift in the way we used to think about investment tradeoffs.  Basically, there are no tradeoffs.  We have to fulfill all three – gone are the days of choosing to be either being low-cost leader or best service provider/premium price.

What are 2-3 bold predictions you’d make for the next six months?

Content is still king, but relevancy and personalization is the next frontier.  Customers expect you to be where they are (channel: web, mobile, social, phone, chat, email), when they want you (24/7), and with white glove experience (the customer is always right, and you have humans who connect with customers on a personal level).  And if your content shows up but isn’t relevant, then you lose credibility and trust immediately.  Contact strategy is critical, and it can build tremendous synergy across sales and marketing.  Aligning to the definition and KPIs is critical.  At CBR, we define contact strategy as: a plan to engage your customers where they choose with a consistent message/content.

What’s your favorite recent ad campaign, and why?


Believe it or not, this was a hard question for me to answer.  I never watch TV, so ‘ad campaign’ means something entirely different. I get my daily advertising quotient exposure through digital and primarily as 30-second pre-roll before I watch a YouTube video.  So the first thing that popped into my head was P&G: Do Things “Like A Girl.” It fits the criteria that I challenge myself and my teams to think about: relevant (personally and to the product), tied to a social cause, emotional, cross-channel execution. Brand building is about connecting people and giving them a rallying cry.

If you had $10M, which marketing platform (e.g. Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) would you invest in, and why? 

I would invest in three things: social, SEM, and content creation.  Why?  Social has an incredible ability to ensure you are reaching both your existing customers (advocates) and potential customers either 1:1 or with look-alike modeling.  This is an incredible channel for not wasting any dollars – no ‘spray and pray.’  With over 80% of purchases starting online, SEM continues to be a priority in any category.  Content partners help to validate your product and service in SEO, the most powerful endorsement of all.  Since authenticity is critical, this is not a paid investment, but an investment in creating great content that will be shared and amplified by your customers.

If you had $10M, which marketing technology would you invest in, and why? 

I can’t give away our strategy!  Seriously, I am lucky to have a CEO and CIO who believe that the marketing technology stack will make or break our sales. What I can say is that first and foremost you need a solid data infrastructure before you invest in any marketing technology.  As they say, garbage in, garbage out. And a close second is ensuring you and your company take the time to document business requirements before bringing forth a technology solution to IT. Business requirements define the problem you are trying to solve and identify the KPIs that that technology will solve. I’ve never seen an IT department that doesn’t deliver in spades when given great business requirements.

Which is more important, attribution or mobile? Why? 

Mobile. With +70% of people using mobile as their first, and sometimes only, device for shopping and researching brands and products, you have to lead with a mobile-first mentality. That means designing content and UX for mobile, not the web. Coming from the consumer packaged goods (CPG) retail space, we used to live by the mantra “store back.” That’s now changed to “mobile first.”

Are there any specific books that have helped shape your marketing strategy? 

Seth Godin’s Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? It’s about showing you that you are empowered every day to make choices. Powerful choices. Choices that lead you to create art defined as the work you do every day. I’ve applied these lessons to every situation, strategy and choice I’m facing – from business to personal. I’m in the middle of reading Seth’s most recent book, What to do when it’s your turn (and it’s always your turn). I also turn to Bernadette Jiwa’s daily blog and recent publication, Marketing: A Love Story – How to Matter to Your Customers.

More About Tia Newcomer:

Tia Newcomer spent the last two years building a marketing team and defining the commercial go to market strategy at a biotech company (Cord Blood Registry) that sits at the intersection of consumer, clinicians, B2C and B2B execution.
Once a Husker, always a Husker – Tia holds a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Nebraska. Her free time is spent enjoying the outdoors on a bike or by foot with the occasional triathlon training thrown in for good measure.

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Chicago, IL 60602

(650) 539-4124

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