Healthcare marketers and their media partners can capitalize on data-rich insights to solve big business problems — but they’ll need to ask the right questions first.
Everyone knows what media agencies can do to spark conversations. By delivering the right message at the right time, through a wide array of channels, media agencies are clearly adept at bringing brand messages to the right customers. But what not everyone realizes is that behind the essential question of how best to communicate with target audiences lie answers more fundamental to our clients’ core business questions — answers that can inform strategic decisions outside of media’s traditional competencies.
Indeed, as the reach of media expands into increasingly data-rich digital channels, agencies are privy to a broader and deeper pool of patient data than ever before. Media has become the nexus through which some of the most crucial data is passing — and for forward-thinking agencies and brand partners, the place where the most disruptive insights are being formed. Knowing how to capture and activate the high-octane data exhaust coming off of media campaigns can actually lead to new potentialities. We’re not just talking about marketing solutions — we’re talking about big business solutions.
The Unique Power of Media Insights
While the rest of the industry wasn’t looking, media became a data powerhouse. Healthcare companies are always looking to understand how their target customers behave, and media can provide insight into consumers’ motivations across the board. Do they prefer a computer or mobile device for health research? What television programming are they consuming — game shows or news documentaries? The data exists at a micro level, too, for instance revealing how people make decisions and interact with digital content — are they choosing a brief and intentional route to the information, or is it a more exploratory pathway?
All of these touchpoints add up to a powerful overview of the patient journey — and the implications go far beyond marketing. By pulling back and looking across this spectrum, media data can paint a picture of patient behavior throughout the day, throughout their treatment processes, and throughout their lives. This is especially true in the age of increased media integration, where data can be connected across channels, allowing for more coordination across digital, mobile, and social. This quasi-democratization of data allows marketers to follow individuals through their daily media journeys, building a holistic understanding of how they manage their healthcare, interact with media environments, and view the world. In short, media agencies know audiences, in some ways more fully than their clients do. Clearly, there is potential in such powerful data — if more businesses choose to use it.
Leveraging Media for Business Solutions
Healthcare companies should begin to view their media agencies as solutions companies, and partners for unearthing big ideas. Healthcare stakeholders that can recognize the extent to which a wealth of data can actually inform potential high-level strategies will be able to secure a tremendous competitive advantage. The following business solutions are just a starting point. When healthcare companies collaborate with their media teams, the results could be transformational:
- Product Solutions: With a granular understanding, brands have a new resource on which to draw when developing strategies around how to make their products and solutions more relevant, more useful, and more crucial to their customers’ daily lives. Determining when and how to adapt existing product lines, or even what potential new solutions could be worth developing — all of these critical decisions can be augmented with media data. For instance, if you know that one specific subset of customers frequently uses fitness tracking apps, why not create a service that connects with that app? It’s time for businesses to ask more of their data — and of their agency partners — or else miss out on insights that could signal major product and service opportunities.
- Distribution: For both new and existing product lines, whether pharmaceuticals, OTC, or other healthcare solutions, the distribution of products can shave off costs and determine success — and media has the necessary insights into both customer behavior and market potential. Media offers both geographic area overviews and data so granular that a distribution plan could be specified at a street-by-street level. With contextual intelligence across the supply chain, shipment strategies can be more effective, the right amounts of products get to the right pharmacy locations, and businesses end up streamlining resource use.
- Customer Retention: Existing customers can be lost — but media data has the granular, one-to-one insights that could prove effective for retaining or winning back customers, or even for preventing patient non-compliance. And with media attribution, businesses can be smarter about how to use their resources when retaining customers. Again, this data can suggest strategies that go beyond media, allowing for proactive, relationship-building solutions that target customers in the right way.
An Evolving Partnership
The healthcare marketing industry is long overdue for a fundamental reassessment of the relationship between brands and their media agencies. The future of media and business will require a purposeful evolution for both partners. Above all, it’s an opportunity for clients to capitalize on their media agency partners’ newfound access to a growing wealth of actionable data.
In most cases, media agencies simply have better and broader data than any other partner — data that now goes so far beyond its traditional data sets that it no longer makes sense to rely on them for decisions like spend and mix alone. Healthcare companies shouldn’t think of media agencies as just buyers or planners, but as solutions companies — resources for big ideas. Healthcare companies that fail to challenge their agency partners to deliver on these big ideas will miss out and find themselves overpaying for consultancies that can’t efficiently deliver what they need.
Media agencies need to step up to their potential, too. Our industry needs to recognize and capitalize on the opportunity we’ve been granted. We can’t just think about delivering media or marketing solutions alone anymore. Media has a golden opportunity to reveal true insights and deliver ROI for our clients at a higher level than ever. While it remains an opportunity today, it will soon become nothing short of a fundamental responsibility to our business partners.
. . .
Daniel Elu, VP, Strategy & Insights, brings over 20 years of cross-channel and promotional marketing experience to his role in leading media strategy and insights at PHM.
He joined PHM in 2015 to develop connections planning supportive of major clients seeking broader thinking from the agency. His recent experience in the pharmaceutical category has covered major new brand launches in diabetes and cardiovascular categories along with supporting a wide-array of projects across all therapeutic areas.
Daniel’s planning experience includes 10 years as the senior planning director and account manager for a number of major CPG brands. He also worked as Director of Entertainment Marketing Strategies for an agency specializing in developing branded integration and promotional opportunities with television and feature film properties.
Connect with Daniel on LinkedIn.
. . .
Questions? Thoughts? Ideas? Contact us.