Your Marketing Future Depends on Storytelling, Not Data

Did you know the healthcare industry produces approximately 30% of the world’s data? Based on numbers cited by RBC Capital Markets, by 2025 the volume of healthcare data will reach a compound growth rate of 36% – faster than manufacturing, financial services or media and entertainment.* But will all this data help improve health outcomes or eliminate the inherent risk and uncertainty in business decisions? The answer is no. However, knowing how to find the story in all that data will eliminate reliance on luck and improve overall marketing results. Your “data story” isn’t the story you tell with data. It’s the story your data tells you about the health of your business – specifically, what your customers think of your brand, why they choose you over the competition or why they don’t, and how you can intercept them with a motivating message at the right time.

Finding the story your data is telling you requires three things:

1. Knowing how to build a data ecosystem

What has become more challenging and complex in healthcare marketing is sorting through the available data sets to identify the right insights to guide decision-making. The more data you have and the more dots you can connect, the more impact your programs will have. This fact is true regardless of company size or product life-cycle stage. But knowing how to find the proverbial needle in a haystack is dependent on having the knowledge and expertise to build an effective data ecosystem. Your data ecosystem is simply a platform where you can centralize all your different data sets. This allows you to easily create a holistic view of your audience and marketing efforts and then take action much more quickly. The right data ecosystem helps you identify connections between data sources and gives you the ability to answer critical questions like these: What is the difference between what your customers believe and what they do? What friction or pain points are your customers experiencing? How does a consumer make a product decision while standing at a crowded pharmacy shelf?

We’ve designed custom ecosystems for several pharma brands, health insurance companies and healthcare providers like hospital systems and other groups that can now accurately understand what tactics within their omnichannel marketing are driving results. For example, we were tasked with identifying the highest potential customers for a new differentiated product coming to market. We combined 14 disparate data sets to qualify and prioritize these targets and grouped them into segments based on past behavior and preferences across multiple channels and content topics. We developed messaging strategies based on these insights, which enabled us to reach more than 60,000 healthcare providers and engage over 20,000 of them with specific messaging in less than 12 months post-launch, a critical period for driving early adoption.

2. Knowing how to uncover the story

There is a storytelling aspect to data analysis that must begin before opening Excel. Having a lot of data sometimes makes it harder to identify accurate, actionable insights because we can overweight certain sets that validate our opinions if we aren’t careful. The true story in the data lies in understanding how the many points relate to one another and to actual human behavior. For example, we helped a popular dermatology company significantly expand its reach by mining data from its most loyal customers to profile and identify potential new ones. Our model and subsequent marketing program drove significant prescription growth for the brand and helped sustain its market position through two product line extensions and an eventual transition to OTC.

3. Knowing how to use the story to drive results

Taking a holistic view of your customer data and how it relates to the entire demand creation cycle is the smart business approach. It involves knowing how your target audience finds you, the key components of the customer journey, and how the journey relates to your marketing efforts. Each data set (like Google Analytics, for example) can’t be examined in a silo. Unearthing real insights that can change the trajectory of a business requires understanding attribution based on all touchpoints. We used this approach in working with a large healthcare company to accelerate the launch curve for a new product. Because we already had an ecosystem in place with customer-level data across marketing channels, we were able to illustrate that the more an HCP engaged with the brand through different channels (e.g., clicked an ad, then opened an email, then attended a webinar), the more likely they were to prescribe. As a result, we established a feedback loop for digital tactics that allowed us to reach HCPs in the right channel, at the right time and with the right message. This method doubled market share among engaged HCPs and earned the company over $80 million in incremental revenue.

While gaining access to data is becoming exponentially easier, inferring and telling the right story is exponentially more complicated. Ultimately, it’s not about the volume of data at our fingertips. It’s about understanding the significant connections within that data. We have the data sources to get closer to healthcare customers than ever before, but success depends on knowing how to leverage those sources to create insights. When done well, the skillful use of data can significantly reduce risk when big dollars are at play. If you are drowning in data and worry that you are too reliant on luck instead of business-building marketing insights, let us show you how we rule out chance. Just reach out to John.Petersen@Luckie.com to schedule a call to see how we can help.