Tim Brantner

Mayo Clinic Labs @ Work

Thousands of people in hundreds of different roles work at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. Mayo Clinic Labs @Work offers a glimpse behind the scenes into this busy reference laboratory, featuring staff from throughout the organization talking about what they do and why they do it.


What brought you to Mayo Clinic Laboratories and how long have you been here?

I took a circuitous route to get here. I started as an attorney, worked in legal publishing for many years, first as an attorney editor, then in marketing. I even sold real estate for a while. About 14 years ago, I saw an ad in the Minneapolis newspaper that said they were looking for someone to start a direct marketing program for Mayo Medical Laboratories (as Mayo Clinic Laboratories was called then).

Tim Brantner

That was similar to what I had been doing in the legal industry. Of course, I knew of Mayo Clinic, and I thought very highly of it. It sounded like a good opportunity to apply my skills and learn more about health care from one of the leaders in the market. I’ve been here ever since.


What is your current role, and what does your day-to-day work involve?

For most of my 14 years here, I was the international marketing manager for Mayo Clinic Laboratories. But my current role, which I’ve been doing for about a year and a half, is as direct marketing manager. That means I’m in charge of email marketing, phone campaigns, and trade shows. Day to day it means a lot of interaction with others on our marketing team, especially product managers and the sales team as well as outside vendors, to launch and then measure the success of our campaigns.


How does the work you do benefit providers and patients?

I’m not a doctor or nurse, and I don’t work in the labs. But I’ve always thought that Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Laboratories have great stories to tell. My job is to get those stories out. By doing that, hopefully we’re helping to extend Mayo Clinic care to patients who otherwise wouldn’t have access to it.

Looking back on the time I’ve been here, we’ve shifted our approach quite a bit. When I started, we didn’t do any proactive marketing. We didn’t have a website. We had only a handful of international clients. What we heard from prospective clients — especially international clients, but some domestic, too — is they were amazed to learn that they could send their testing to Mayo Clinic. Over the years, I think we’ve been able to get that message out and, as a result, help extend Mayo care to people all over the world. To me, working for Mayo Clinic is the best of all worlds because I feel like I’m really doing something good with the skills I have, and we’re conveying the benefits of this testing and helping people get the care they need.


Is there anything about your role that people might find surprising or unexpected?

I think sometimes people outside of our field don’t realize that marketing is a team sport. An email, for example, may seem like it’s something I can just shoot out. And I can do that. But to make it more effective, it involves a lot of work with a lot of people. I regularly work with product managers, lab professionals, and the sales team to identify what we should be promoting. I work with writers who sharpen the message, designers who come up with compelling images for us, web and digital marketing staff who create assets on our website to link back to, so we can tell our stories more fully. It really is a team exercise, and I think that’s sometimes surprising to people who haven’t worked with marketing before.


What part of your job is the most challenging?

As with a lot of people, the biggest challenge over the last couple of years has been dealing with COVID and figuring out how to best do marketing and sales in a completely virtual environment. In some ways, it has been a positive step for us to better develop our digital marketing capabilities, which we may not have created otherwise. For example, for a while our sales team were not able to go out and meet with people face-to-face as they usually do. So I developed email templates that they can use as they communicate with prospective clients. Another example has been our work with trade shows. In the absence of in-person trade shows, we’ve developed more virtual webinars and conferences. That’s been challenging, but interesting, too. On a personal level, everyone working at home has been good and bad. The technology is there, which is great, but on the other hand, maintaining personal connections among team members has been more difficult.


What gives you meaning and purpose in your work?

I’ve worked for a lot of different organizations, and they’ve all had their mission statements. Mayo Clinic is the only place I’ve ever worked that has truly lived by its mission. The needs of the patient come first is real here. Everyone is energized by that and works by that, no matter what job they are doing. Especially at this stage in my career, it means a lot to me to get up every morning and work for an organization that has such a compelling mission. Even playing a small role in making that happen means a great deal to me.

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Tracy Will

Tracy Will is a senior marketing specialist at Mayo Clinic Laboratories where she covers innovation, specialty testing, and advances in laboratory medicine. Tracy has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2016.