5 Signs It's Time for a CDP

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07/23/2019 in Blog

For years, marketing executives across industries have pursued the elusive 360-degree view of their customers. Today, hospital and health system executives in competitive markets are working to establish the same for their prospects and patients, often investing in customer-relationship management (CRM). While healthcare-specific CRMs can improve customer data analytics and campaign targeting at the segment level, most fail to deliver the coveted Golden Record and thereby don't power the deeply personalized omnichannel customer experiences (CX) today's high-value consumers crave. If your organization is facing any of these five challenges using a CRM alone, then a Customer Data Platform (CDP) could boost its efficacy and acquire more high-value patients for life.

1. You don't have access to all the information you need to deeply understand your prospects and patients and how they make decisions.

Despite the abundance of customer data abiding in your different systems, spreadsheets, and silos today, do you fear your organization is somehow missing the boat when it comes to understanding who your individual prospects and patients really are and what exactly they want from you? If so, you're not alone.

Consumers act as free agents throughout the healthcare journey, interacting with healthcare brands on multiple channels and devices, with more being adopted all the time. With each interaction—from paid ad clicks to email opens, page views, phone calls, and visits—a multitude of systems capture valuable behavioral insights and data. Viewing these channels in isolation, you lack a comprehensive understanding of the full consumer journey. This leads to uninformed channel investments and poorly designed user experiences.

What's worse is that all of these different channels and systems have different data structures with no common identifier, meaning it's virtually impossible to link all of your disparate data sources together and tie interactions back to an individual. For example, if Amy Jones interacts with you via an HRA ad on Facebook, browses content on your website, and then calls your contact center, there's probably a 0% chance you can tie all those actions to her today using CRM alone. This matters because according to DoubleClick by Google, marketers have reported seeing a 16% increase in conversions after making changes from cross-screen journey insights.

CDPs are different. They create temporary user profiles for unknown (anonymous) users and link those interactions to the customer record once the user becomes identified. Since a CDP maintains unified data across platforms and channels, it can all be integrated and viewed for a single customer. That means you can tie page views for an anonymous user on your website to a known caller in your contact center to an existing patient record in your CRM.

According to Forbes, "CDPs provide marketing teams unified, real-time, self-service access to customer data, which can come from a variety of sources, like call center interactions, connected device data, product usage data, sales data, mobile apps, customer life cycle trends, websites, social media and email. CDPs also pave the way to greater personalization and delivery of a superior customer experience."

2. The way you communicate with prospects and patients is often untimely and sometimes insensitive to where they are in their journey.

In today's highly competitive landscape, marketing automation and personalization can do a lot to ensure high-value patients become repeat patients. Done right, these approaches can transform a generic healthcare experience into one that makes your patients feel understood, valued, and cared for long after their appointment or procedure.

Not all CRM solutions are created equal. A few still rely on antiquated “list pull" methodologies to enable basic segmentation and don't quite leverage the automated decision-making, adaptive modeling, and nimble data utilization needed to scale personalized interactions. This means they might fall short of crafting truly consumer-centric campaigns and personalized experiences because they don't take full advantage of the digital signals consumer provide in real time.

Here's what happens when attempts at personalization and automation backfire. Imagine a scenario in which a woman's pregnancy diagnosis leads to her being enrolled in a marketing automation-powered pregnancy journey with your health system, only in this situation she experiences a miscarriage at 11 weeks and 3 days. What do you think the impact on brand loyalty will be if four days later, that same patient receives a pre-scheduled email communication congratulating her on reaching her second trimester and explaining what she can expect in the months ahead?

If that sounds horrible to you, you're right. Inevitably, the end result of fractured customer data is a series of disjointed customer conversations that are ineffective, at best, and disheartening in the worse case scenario. Even if you've crafted an amazing online experience, what happens when your patients step into your facility? If you can't leverage the fact that a pre-surgical patient is reading an article on your website about the flexible financing options you offer, you need to bridge that gap.

This is where CDPs come in. CDPs are big data solutions, architected to ingest and manage the volume, variety, and velocity of data required to power relevant, timely, omnichannel consumer experiences. With a CDP in place, your marketing execution systems operate from a single source of truth that connects to your scheduling system(s), EHR(s), contact center(s), and financial system(s) to update and share consumer data in near real-time. They are purpose-built to ensure brands are always communicating with customers in valuable, pertinent ways. The difference in marketing effectiveness and customer loyalty that come from having one coherent conversation with your prospects and patients instead of multiple rudimentary ones is pretty astounding.

3. Dependency on IT and dated CRM architectures are slowing your digital transformation efforts.

By now, the point has been made—your organization will never achieve its consumer-centric vision with marketers and other teams across the health system operating off of different sets of customer data. Most organizations realize this and are constantly battling to integrate data from various point systems in their martech ecosystem.

Without a CDP, the time and engineering resources needed to build custom integrations between constantly changing best-of-breed systems serves as a very real barrier to progress. Conflicting priorities and resource constraints seriously impede marketing's digital transformation efforts at a time when speed and marketing agility are paramount to compete for profitable volume and combat an eroding payer mix.

What's more, CRM software first emerged in the 1980s, before the internet truly took off. It follows a linear construct, expecting prospects to follow a highly predictable path towards conversion. But consumers are pursuing individualized and non-linear paths and a wealth of Internet-era data is now required to answer questions like “who should I engage?" and “how should I engage them?"

CDPs are built to handle this type of data and include out-of-the-box connectors, or APIs, to the most common martech solutions. CDPs are meant to be marketer-managed, eliminating dependencies on engineering resources to create and deploy custom integrations.

4. You don't harvest actionable AI-powered insights in real time.

Do you ever feel like you're drowning in a sea of continuously streaming data and can't get your head far enough above the water line to see which direction you should head? This is a challenge that has continued to plague marketers.

With the help of deep learning analytics and AI-powered predictive modeling, CDPs mine the overwhelming mass of data they've collected to deliver specific, actionable insights to marketers and their various channel execution systems. With access to comprehensive data, including digital signals and real-time clinical attributes, they are far better at finding patterns and orchestrating the right timing, channel, message, and offer to reach individuals—in real time and in the right context.

Learn which service lines present the biggest opportunity for growth with your consumers, based on which conditions they're most likely to develop. Understand how different channels affect your consumers' path to conversion, so you can create relevant content to influence their decisions at the perfect moment or nudge them toward healthier behaviors for success in your population health initiatives.

5. Your marketing isn't producing the expected ROI.

Healthcare marketing is competitive and battling for consumer attention, market share, and growth as payer mix erodes is only getting harder. You're competing not just with the hospital across town, but also outpatient surgery centers, urgent care providers, and sometimes even your own service lines. Precision is crucial these days, so if the ROI on your current martech spend is hard to measure than the precision, complexity, and comprehensive nature of a CDP might be exactly what you need.


When it comes to better marketing, bringing your data together in one single view is problem number one, but learning what actions to take based on that data is problem number two. You need both integration and actionable insights to make the most of your data. A CDP helps with both.

CRMs continue to function as an important component of a healthcare marketing toolkit and complement CDPs extremely effectively. The take-home message is that even if we set aside their powerful functionality for a minute, CDPs do one thing really, really well, and that makes it possible for marketers to scale data-driven customer interactions in real time.

CDPs are the first marketing tool built specifically for today's complex, real-time, constantly changing healthcare consumer behavior. That's why we want to invite you to learn more about exactly how they work today.

Checked the box on all five signs? Check out Healthgrades CDP solution.