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Building a Data-Centric Healthcare Marketing Team: Part 1

December 8, 2015


Healthcare marketers need the right technology systems in place to be effective in the new digital healthcare environment.

Healthcare marketers have always had multiple roles—brand advocate, growth strategist, and patient experience champion. Now they must also be data analysts. The digital healthcare environment is here, and as a result,healthcare marketers are relying more and more on technology. All of this data means that marketers can use more targeted strategies to reach their consumer base. It also means that marketers are much more accountable on how their marketing programs are performing. It’s crucial healthcare marketing agencies and departments develop a team that is data-centric. The first step to creating a tech-savvy healthcare marketing team is to make sure you are using the right tools.

The list of marketing technology vendors has doubled since last year—leaving no question that marketing is driven by data. Today, there are nearly 2,000 marketing technology vendors. Just a glance at the infographic below can be overwhelming for most healthcare marketers struggling to determine which technology programs and systems they should be using.


The number of marketing technology vendors has doubled since 2014 to nearly 2,000 as of January 2015.

There are four main types of technology systems that every healthcare marketer should be focusing on—customer relationship management (CRM) programs, content management systems, data analytics tools, and marketing optimization programs. Here’s a look at these four systems and the key elements that healthcare marketers should concentrate on.

  1. The CRM System. The CRM database is the backbone of your entire healthcare marketing strategy. This is the place where all of your consumer or patient data will live including demographics and transactions. Analyzing this database can help healthcare marketers target a specific audience, such as patients, non-patient consumers, referring physicians, or non-referring physicians. It also provides data on the return on investment (ROI) from those targeted marketing campaigns. Think strategically about what type of CRM system will work best for your organization whether it is homegrown or a sophisticated enterprise-wide software system because switching CRM systems is a huge and often an unpleasant endeavor.A healthcare marketing CRM system should include the following key elements:
    • A database that is specifically designed for the healthcare industry.
    • Built in segmentation so that marketers can quickly target the right population for specific campaigns.
    • The ability to generate a variety of reports that can easily answer questions from targeting to tracking ROI.
  2. The Content Management System. This system is the core of your communication and public relation strategy. It includes your website, newsletters, and social media channels. Healthcare organizations need to be very thoughtful and careful about the types of content that they publish to ensure that the content not only supports the brand, but also promotes trust, credibility, and complies with healthcare regulations. Healthcare marketers should look for a content management system with the following three traits:
    • A system that is easy for both marketers and healthcare professionals to use. It should have a process to create, post, edit, and delete content that takes as few steps as possible.
    • A system that is secure. It should meet patient confidentiality standards and allow user to access content through a secure login.
    • A system that is accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.
  3. Data Analytics. The technology tools that you design or purchase all must be able to generate data, data, and more data. Healthcare executives are looking for marketers to prove the success of the marketing department’s strategy or specific initiatives, which means a huge emphasis on data. The types of data that all healthcare marketers should be tracking include:
    • Website effectiveness. Marketers should track what brought consumers or patients onto your website, where web users go or congregate, usage rates, which buttons get clicked most frequently, and search engine optimization results.
    • Content marketing’s value. Healthcare marketers should know how specific content is performing—whether that is a blog post, newsletter, YouTube video, or tweet. Marketers should track open rates, downloads, how much time was spent on a page, and how often content was shared.
    • Physician relations’information. Marketers should be able to place physicians in categories based on based on performance, for example which physician is a top producer for your organization, which physicians split business between your organization and competitors, and which physicians give business to your competition. This information will help marketers develop an effective physician relations’ strategy.
    • Patient engagement and retention data. Healthcare marketers should keep tabs on how many patients are new, have returned, or been lost, as well as which patients are referring friends and family to your organization.Aside from the revenue that a loyal patient can generate throughout their lifetime, loyal patients are also excellent brand ambassadors.
    • Overall campaign effectiveness. For individual marketing campaigns, marketers should establish a set of metrics based on the overall goals to determine the success of the campaign, such as increasing patient awareness or physician referrals.
    • Return on investment. Healthcare marketers should determine a way to track ROI for every marketing strategy launched. There are applications that assign a percentage of revenue to content based on how it performs or what consumers read before making an appointment or purchasing a product. Similarly, healthcare marketers can track physician referrals and patient volumes to measure the effectiveness of physician relations programs.
  4. Marketing Optimization Tools. These types of programs can help healthcare marketers refine their marketing strategies in order to garner the best result. Examples of marketing optimization tools include:
    • Predictive modeling. This type of program takes all of the data that healthcare marketers gather and uses it to reveal patterns and “predict” future consumer behavior. It enables healthcare marketers to better understand what types of content they should be developing to draw in consumers and optimize revenue.
    • A/B testing tools. Give marketers the ability to test different headlines,the call-to-action, and images to determine which is the most effective at drawing consumers into your website to generate more leads.

Having the right technology in place is essential for healthcare marketing teams to generate the reports and receive the data that they need to be truly effective in today’s healthcare environment.

Stay tuned for Building a Data-Centric Healthcare Marketing Team: Part Two—Tracking Key Performance Indicators.