In 2011, Foundation Medicine, Inc (FMI) asked us to explain their core product, FoundationOne. The performance of that first video was powerful proof that video plays an important role in healthcare and biotech marketing.

Today, FMI is a big success story, with hundreds of employees and a recent major investment/acquisition from pharma giant, Roche. Through it all, we’ve remained a close partner with FMI’s marketing team, producing a total of five videos for a wide range of audiences including patients and their families, physicians, and investors.

Recently, I sat down with FMI’s senior marketing team to learn more about how their audiences have responded to our work, why they continue to invest in video, and their thoughts on working with Planet Nutshell.

Let’s talk about the first video we did with you. I understand it performed well. Tell me more!

We got a lot of really positive, and unsolicited, feedback from patients on that one. It helped patients really understand how our test works. Our client services team uses it to explain the test before their first contact with a patient. Then, when the patient calls they already have some context for additional questions to ask. Some of our customers actually use it with their patients to explain the test, which takes that burden off of them and allows them to start from a different point.

Our CEO used to open investor meetings with that video. People loved it; it was a very simple way to explain what we’re doing which, at the time, was very hard to contextualize. It made it much easier for Mike to focus on our story and business model at the meetings. You only have a limited amount of time, and you don’t want to spend it all explaining the science and processes.

Next came the “Cancer Explained” video. It was really inspiring to see you reaching out to patients to help them understand cancer and treatment options. 

We wanted to focus on fully educating patients in a simple, accessible way. Cancer advocacy non-profits used that video extensively to help patients. Planet Nutshell’s videos are so important to accessibility. A patient told us that when she was diagnosed with cancer her physician put her in a room and had her watch intimidating and technical talking head videos for 20 minutes. We wanted to do something very different; take the technical out and say here’s what’s going on and here are potential treatment options.

Let’s consider the industry as a whole. What is the role of video in marketing for biotech? 

The trend today is more interactive and digital content; video plays a good role in communicating key messaging in a minute or two rather than an ad, publication, or article. In general, people are more interested in watching a video and learning about a product quickly than going through a website or getting information.

While more people are using video content, not a lot of people use very good video content. We are keenly focused on simplification and authentic engagement with our audiences. That helps us stand out from the noise.

At Planet Nutshell, we have a very defined, but also very collaborative, process with our clients. Tell me about how that’s worked (or not!) for your team. 

It’s really easy to work with you, Josh. You just get us, you have the tone that we aim for, and you’re on the same wavelength as us. You understand the brand really well, and you have a really nice skill set for taking something technical and saying it in a better way. We love collaborating with you guys. It’s always fun. Somehow you even managed to make medical billing fun!

One time, we jumped on the phone with you and spent 15 minutes playing with the script. It was some of the most productive 15 minutes we’ve ever had on the phone; such creative and productive brainstorming!

I love hearing that. Thanks. Now I’m blushing, but here’s another question: How has the production process helped you understand your own company?

New employees always comment that they love the videos and it helps them understand the larger goals and vision of the company. Also, it’s a great way for employees to explain to their families what they do for a living. Employees often say, “Here Grandma, watch this video!”

Okay, last one. How do you test and validate the effectiveness of the videos Planet Nutshell produces for you?

We have a few methods. First, we use a video hosting service that provides analytics [Foundation Medicine uses Wistia, by the way]. One of the big things we’ve learned is that Planet Nutshell’s videos have an incredible engagement rate compared to some of our other videos. Seventy-five to 85 percent of our viewers watch your videos to completion. Additionally, we do informal market testing on the script to storyboard phases of production. This includes interviews and focus groups.

Anecdotally speaking, Planet Nutshell videos have really helped to increase the productivity of our client services people. Thanks to the videos, clients have far fewer questions and concerns. That translates to fewer client services support calls.