Cancer Health by Smart + Strong: An exclusive conversation with Ian Anderson
Recently Kantar Media spoke with Ian Anderson, president and COO of Smart + Strong to learn more about Cancer Health, Smart + Strong’s newest publication. Launched in 2017, Cancer Health provides accessible information about treatment and quality-of-life issues for people with cancer and their loved ones as well as information about cancer prevention and health policy for a general readership.
As president and COO of Smart + Strong, Mr. Anderson is responsible for all external and internal business management, including technology and print production services, circulation and product development, editorial, and business planning.
Mike Morrow: Thanks for joining us, Ian. It’s an exciting time to speak with you, as Cancer Health is making a significant impact as a resource for patient and caregivers and serving as a powerful marketing platform for pharmaceutical advertisers. Could you start by explaining to us Smart + Strong’s mission, and what Cancer Health offers to the cancer community?
Ian Anderson: Cancer Health is building on 25 years of history here at Smart + Strong. The company was founded while the AIDS epidemic was raging in the early 1990s, and with our flagship title, POZ magazine, we helped change the narrative from one about dying of AIDS to one about living with HIV. We empowered our readers with all the information they needed to make the best decisions about their health and their lives.
Like HIV was then, cancer is now at a crossroads. New treatment breakthroughs such as immunotherapy are starting to become available, and we serve as an information resource for patients. People need help cutting through all the hype and scientific jargon to understand how all these new treatments apply or don’t apply to them.
Cancer Health also offers a platform for people living with cancer to share their stories and read about others going through the same thing. It can be difficult to know what questions to ask and learning from someone who has already been there can be helpful.
MM: What makes the Cancer Health audience of patients and caregivers unique? How does that translate to value for advertising and marketing partners?
IA: The amount of information about cancer treatment options can be overwhelming. What is right for one person is often wrong for someone else. To cut through the noise, we take complex reports from conferences and medical journals and break them down into language we can all understand. Our readers are then empowered to approach their medical team fully armed with the information they need to advocate for the best care. They can find information on our website, in the comfort of their own home or at their doctor’s office. We deliver engaged consumers who will act on what they read, and advertisers are reaching them at a critical point in their health care journey.
MM: Given both your online and print presence, it sounds like there are a multitude of options available for advertisers to reach both the patient and caregiver audience. Could you tell us more about how Cancer Health touches all aspects of patient care via print and digital and at point of care?
IA: Smart + Strong has a long history of integration across all platforms. One of our mantras from the beginning has been that we will be wherever our audience needs us to be, whether that is in print, online or on social media. We have been at the point-of-care space from the beginning too. We have a fantastic editorial team that helps direct people to the resources they need in whatever form that might take. In my experience, that is a really rare and special talent.
We are published quarterly and have a unique position within the marketplace. We are edited for consumers but distributed at the point of care. We are in the waiting rooms of oncologists nationwide and will drive consumers from print to our website and social media platforms.
MM: How is Cancer Health building its digital platform to serve its audience and advertisers?
We are a brand with technology in its DNA. Our senior management has been working with the internet right from the beginning. Our platform is state-of-the-art and continues to evolve as the technology changes. Our editorial team also understands the integration of print and digital. We are producing daily content that keeps consumers engaged and educated. Unlike some brands, we combine in-depth medical information, practical advice and personal stories on the same site, allowing readers to discover what's most useful for them. Our platform allows for run-of-site marketing and targeted keyword plans to help our partners reach consumers who are interacting with specific topics.
Since Cancer Health hit the ground running, our organic traffic and social media sharing has been off the charts. The exponential growth has been amazing to see, as we seem to have struck a chord in providing a missing resource for the community.
MM: What other opportunities exist for advertisers?
IA: Cancer Health will be producing FOCUS special issues in which we address a single topic in a more comprehensive way. Cancer Health will create these special issues around key topics throughout the year. Topics will include: breast cancer, lung cancer, newly diagnosed patients, immunotherapy and more. For pharmaceutical partners, list match is available.
We know that transparency has become an overused term in today’s media space, but it is more important than ever for our marketing partners. We worked with industry star BPA to audit the second issue of Cancer Health. The full report was available before we even closed on the third issue of the magazine, so our partners have all the information they need to evaluate our distribution. Cancer Health provides a targeted distribution for advertisers looking to reach cancer patients and their loved ones and caregivers.
MM: Thanks so much for your time today, Ian. Is there anything else you want our audience to know about Cancer Health and what makes it unique? What’s next?
IA: Cancer Health reports on cutting-edge new treatments, profiles people living with cancer, showcases advocates pushing for better care and offers help managing side effects and tips for working with your health care team. Advertisers can also reach more people living with cancer through our other brands, providing greater reach and targeted exposure.
Cancer Health is looking at acquiring some new partners to help expand our digital newsletter offerings and point-of-care marketing. It is an exciting time to partner with the Cancer Health brand and Smart + Strong.
Editor’s notes: For more information about partnering with Cancer Health advertising and marketing programs, click here.
At the time this post was written, Cancer Health was a paid advertiser in the SRDS.com multimedia planning platform.