CDP and the Elephant of Healthcare Marketing

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06/19/2019 in Blog

Sometimes, dreams become reality, and this year, healthcare marketers stand a chance to become first-hand witnesses.

The healthcare consumer is an enigma. When it comes to understanding consumer healthcare behavior, healthcare marketers are mostly left playing catch up to other industries — that is until now.

As we roll into the second half of 2019, healthcare marketing professionals have a never-before-seen opportunity to get a true, 360-degree view of consumer behavior, and that's with less complication than we ever thought possible.

The 360-Degree Superpower

For healthcare marketers, being able to aggregate a complete, dynamic view of consumer behavior really is a superpower. That's because the consumer experience in any industry (but healthcare especially) is a 360-degree experience.

Your consumers are more than data points visiting your website and scheduling appointments. They're making complex decisions over time — decisions that are influenced by experiences they have with your customer service reps, images they view, and communications they receive. Creating a true, holistic consumer experience starts with a complete perspective.

That perspective is a gift to healthcare marketers. It's the foundation of precise segmentation, deep insight into which channels your consumers prefer (and respond to), and even detail as refined as their language preferences and which click paths draw engagement.

Why (and Where) Point Solutions Alone Fall Short

You've probably run across the parable of the three blindfolded people and the elephant. If not, here's a quick rundown:

Three people, all blindfolded, are all feeling an elephant in different places and offering their opinion on what kind of animal it is. The first person, holding its tail, thinks it's a snake. The second, feeling the elephant's leg, thinks it's a tree-like creature. The third, with a firm grip on its tusk, declares it's an animal with qualities like a spear.

None of them are wrong. They were all making logical decisions based on the limited information they had. This is what it's like to limit your perspective of your customers to only the data point solutions offer.

It's not because integrating these data sets doesn't work, but more because of the technical limitations inherent in this design.

Modern CRMs, content management systems, marketing automation systems, etc. are sophisticated, but they're built purely for marketing purposes, not to be complex, enterprise data management solutions. In the pursuit of the 360-degree view, they're essentially working blindfolded and can't handle or process the enormity of  the necessary data. Their abilities are limited in terms of:

  • Matching consumer behavior over different channels

  • Tracking the enterprise patient journey

  • Coordinating offline transactions (such as in-person appointments) with other data

  • Maintaining data quality

  • Making use of anonymous data

  • Minimizing IT involvement

Using these tools on their own, you'll only understand facets of your healthcare consumers and never the complete picture. You'll also miss out on the full opportunity associated with a 360-degree understanding of your patients.

How CDPs Close the Gap

CDPs, or Customer Data Platforms, take off the blindfold and boost your other martech systems’ performance to a level that gives marketers 360-degree superpowers.

For example, with a CRM on its own, a patient might be anonymously browsing your directory to check out cardiac surgeon profiles, and one day after work, decide to stop in for a tour of the facility where they then make an appointment. To a CRM, all those interactions would be separate, leaving your perspective of her journey as a healthcare consumer, fragmented. With the amplifying power of a CDP, they become valuable pieces of behavioral information on a singular patient.

All this happens without extra burden to your IT department, thanks to its simplicity and ease of use, even by marketers who might not be as comfortable with technology. CDPs are built to handle complex data processes on their own, and generally only require IT support for initial implementation.

As the expectations for hospitals and health systems to understand and support the customer journey heat up, expect CDPs to become game-changing components of your martech stack and indispensable tools in helping you recognize an elephant when you see one.

Want to learn more?  Register and attend our upcoming webinar on June 26th: The Rise of the Customer Data Platform & Why it Matters for Health Systems