When most brands market to consumers, it’s a fairly straightforward process. After all, if you're Procter & Gamble and you want to advertise toothpaste, your audience is 330 million Americans. But when you’re a pharmaceutical company that’s developing a drug for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease that afflicts 30,000 people in the U.S., the toothpaste approach doesn’t work. You need to reach the very finite subsets of healthcare professionals (HCPs) who are treating those liver-disease patients, and through them, influence treatment patterns and patient outcomes.
This requires health marketers and agencies to be laser-focused on the right audiences, and hyper-relevant to their needs. For this, marketers must have access to real-time data that offers a complete, relevant and very specific view of healthcare providers, their needs and interests in the here and now, as well as their likely patients. And, they must be able to use these insights to design dynamic experiences for next-best actions (NBA).
NBA uses predictive analytics to understand what action the health marketer should take to give the HCP what they’re looking for in the moment. This could be access to a piece of education, a diagnostic tool or a specialized treatment option, or referral to a key opinion leader (KOL). NBA in healthcare marketing is revolutionary because it equally prioritizes both the brand’s and the HCP’s needs. This is even more important in a world of value-based care, where getting the “right” person on brand is going to be more important than getting the “most” people on brand.
Health data for next best action
While data is the currency necessary to keep health marketing effective, there are a few challenges with getting the right health data ready for use.
• Fragmentation: There’s a lot of health data out there, but it’s extremely fragmented. Prescription data is separate from lab and reimbursement data. Socio-demo retail and wearable health data come from yet other sources. Data about healthcare professionals is not connected to the hospitals they work in.
Agencies and other healthcare marketers should ask their data providers if they can aggregate this disparate data, and if they have ways to connect such non-parallel data sets as patient-to-physician or physician-to-hospital. Getting to a 360-degree view on the health-decision process is essential to create holistic “push-pull” marketing experiences with your customers.
• Live linking: Once you have the data consolidated, how do you connect it to a real person who is a target? Although cookie-based targeting is going away, there are new authenticated audience solutions where people can be tracked based on the first-party data they provide. Fortunately, first-party data solutions are already highly developed with healthcare professionals, who are accustomed to visiting professional sites and apps where logins are required. Sign-in data can then be used to do device-, home- and IP-targeting.
• Activation:Once the data is ready, you need to find a partner that can help you with both predictive logic and marketing outreach. This type of technology allows marketers to mine insights, design experiences through logic in real time, and instantly activate those insights for next-best actions.
Next-best actions are the perfect storm of modern healthcare marketing, and it’s a reality today. Download “The State of Health Media H1 2021,” for insights that will guide brands and agencies competitive media buying decisions.