big data in healthcare marketing

Data is the New Creative: The Marriage of Big Data and Healthcare Marketing

Just like love and marriage, big data and marketing go together like the proverbial horse and carriage. Nowhere is data more lucrative than in the healthcare industry, where analytics and science are rapidly taking a good portion of the limelight away from creative. You still need creative, but more and more of the methods marketers use to communicate their products and services are based on insights delivered by data.

Here are some of the ways big data can change the way healthcare marketing is done.

Identifying Prospective Target Audiences

In many cases, the patient population is obvious. Or is it? Certainly, it starts with anyone diagnosed with a condition targeted by the therapy/treatment you offer. But if it was that simple, you wouldn’t need marketing at all.

Data can help you identify and target prospective patient populations. You could pre-diagnose demographics. These could be patients who are as yet undiagnosed but who exhibit signs they may be diagnosed in the future, or it could be those who imply diagnosis but are as yet untreated.

In an ideal world, data can enable you to:

  • discover the patients and healthcare providers (HCPs) that satisfy your business objectives
  • coordinate your advertising between the patient and related HCPs
  • trigger your sales or admissions staff to be prepared for conversion.

By integrating data in a HIPAA-compliant way and using analytics to uncover common needs and subtle interactions, you can pinpoint a target audience that conforms to very specific criteria.

Promoting Direct Engagement with Patients and HCPs

The same principles apply to the HCP populations you serve. Often, engaging HCPs is done through your sales team, but being able to target both audiences directly through digital channels can increase the success of your campaigns and optimize your marketing spend.

With the right data, you can run campaigns targeted at specific segments of your audience, serve ads to any HCPs with patients diagnosed with the conditions you treat, while breaking down your message according to the type of patient or HCP.

Imagine being able to target the HCPs who refer patients to you with one message, and reach HCPs who refer to a competitor with another—all as part of the same campaign!

Leveraging Patient Experiences in Healthcare Marketing

As patients continue to make the shift to being consumers involved in their own healthcare purchase decisions, satisfaction has become—and will continue to be—a major driver of revenue.

Statistics show 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a website, and 74 percent say positive reviews help them to develop trust in a brand. Recording and leveraging patient experiences is a channel you can’t afford to ignore.

These experiences include more than just patient-HCP interactions, and typically involve the entire process from the information-seeking stage to the post-care stage. By using data, marketers can leverage patient experiences to fuel trending healthcare marketing tactics.

The collection of data from sources such as mobile apps, fitness trackers, health monitors and electronic medical records offers a remarkably useful 360-degree view of your target audience. With the availability of real-time information, healthcare marketers can reach consumers in their hour of need with the right medical information, using the right channels.

Confidentiality remains a concern. HIPAA requirements are struggling to catch up with technological developments. But unless you start implementing big data in your marketing activities, you’ll never reach the point where you can resolve the potential compliance issues that may arise.

For more information on how to use big data to inform your healthcare marketing, call Wax Custom Communications at 305-350-5700 or visit