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How to go from data mining to personalized marketing

How to go from data mining to personalized marketing

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It was only a few years ago that the epitome of personalization was a targeted ad guided by surface-level information such as age and gender. But, simply put, that’s not good enough anymore. 

With technological advances that allow for customized Amazon deals, tailored financial dashboards in Chase Snapshot, and unique travel experiences through Marriott’s Bonvoy loyalty program, people expect personalization that doesn’t just speak to them, but makes their lives easier. 

This is the standard of marketing personalization your patients have come to expect in their everyday lives, across all industries. And if you’re not meeting — or exceeding — those expectations, they’ll likely tune you out. Because when they make healthcare decisions, patients do more than just compare one hospital system to another. They look for messaging specifically crafted for them and their needs.

But you’re not a conglomerate like Amazon or Marriott — you’re a healthcare system. And frankly, personalization is far more important in your industry than it is for retail or travel. So, if the patients you’re trying to connect with are more than ones and zeros, why not search for data that gives you a complete picture of who they are and what they’re looking for?

Finding authenticity through data mining in healthcare

The name of the game is data mining — specifically, data that gives you insight into who your audience is. Expanding your data set beyond generic, form-level information is the best way to understand your audience and their needs on a deeper, more authentic level. For example:

We know the demographics of same-sex couples in rural, conservative Louisiana — their ages and ethnicities aren’t a mystery to us. But when we took the time to look deeper into who these couples are as people — real humans with real lived experiences — we found that a significant amount of them have encountered social and familial issues that make trust and welcoming environments the primary qualities they seek out when choosing healthcare providers. With this in mind, we can create a message that resonates with them personally.

“There is a missing link between what we say and what the customer hears — that gap is what we call personalization.” —Karan Sanghavi, Strategist

Personalization is the difference between knowing your audience and understanding them. It’s the consciousness of why they’re searching for something and what’s driving them. Once you know that, you can provide information that’s far more valuable than a list of awards and recognitions.

It doesn't get more personal than advanced specialty care

All of this is important to keep in mind when speaking to any group, but it’s particularly important when it comes to advanced specialty care patients. Let’s look at oncology for a minute. What factors are most important to these patients when choosing a provider? They want to be seen as quickly as possible — as in, they want to have an appointment booked within seven to 10 business days.

Unfortunately, the reality is that longer wait times are unavoidable within specialized service lines. So how do you use this data around wait time expectations to improve operations, marketing, and overall experience? 

Consider follow-up communication from the provider a few days after the appointment is scheduled, or find a way to provide a pre-visit consultation that allows the patient to do any pre-work ahead of the appointment with the physician. Solutions like these make the patient feel more at ease and assured, all while beginning communication within their desired time frame.

Treating people right starts by asking the right questions

Our advice for collecting and analyzing data is simple: Focus on the people behind it all. Ease into it by picking two key service lines and diving in on specific milestones along the patient journey. You can even utilize a small, informal focus group to determine what matters to them at that moment, what their pain points are, what’s missing, and more — all with the goal of reducing friction at each stage of the patient journey.

Remember, your audience is a collection of human moments, not data points. Get out there and get to know them. It starts with a human-to-human conversation that can lead to a lifelong healthcare connection.

And if you’re looking for more insights like this, you can download our 2023 trends report.

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