To Effectively Target the Condition, Don't Target the Condition

As targeting technology proliferates and advances, marketers often find themselves swimming in a rich sea of compelling Big Data; data about the lives and routines of their best prospects and what they need, want, like, buy, and share.

When healthcare marketers hear words like Big Data, however, the conversation is less about new and compelling ways to connect with their prospects and more about cold and impersonal terminology like privacy concerns and regulatory guidelines as marketing to the medical condition is carefully scrutinized by government advocacy groups as well as the patients themselves. These concerns are further amplified in the digital space where advanced targeting technologies can often create more questions than answers. 

As a result, healthcare marketers can easily get stuck in the mud, and lose sight of what’s truly important, namely consumers’ needs, wants, and interests. 

For a healthcare marketer faced with the prospect of targeting a consumer with an elusive condition, a focus on the following strategies can be a simple, yet powerful playbook:



Think lifestyle; not condition

Reaching the right consumer at the right time with the right message is a basic marketing tenet that can create loyal users. Many healthcare marketers will traditionally focus on trying to reach patients as they manage their disease. But as any disease sufferer will tell you, their disease does not consume their entire life and their time spent with media is generally focused on activities completely unrelated to their condition. By ignoring this fact, marketers are missing the opportunity to reach them, often in areas that are significantly more compelling and effective than “endemic” healthcare content. Case in point, during a recent campaign for a client in the birth control category, display ads on entertainment news sites outperformed ads in the “Birth Control” section of a leading health information website. 

Aid the daily routine

One of the simplest ways to increase results is to have a fundamental understanding of the ailment and how it affects consumers’ lives. For example, in a recent campaign targeting people diagnosed with depression, we found that 30% of the target audience experiences insomnia, and 72% seek as much information as possible before taking a drug. Leveraging this information, we were able to apply a comprehensive day-parting strategy, along with content-rich creative assets, to produce a significant boost in performance. 

Be frequent and consistent

It is important with any campaign to have consistent, frequent, messaging so the consumer has a clear understanding of your service and offering, no matter how they are exposed to your brand. Simple yet effective tactical applications are often overlooked and can cause gaps in campaign performance. For example, we have had great success aligning our broadcast efforts with our search campaigns. When a brand’s television campaign is in market, there is a natural increase in web traffic -- adding in keywords pertaining to the where the commercial ran and also ensuring your budget is high enough to meet the demand of traffic can help maximize results. 

Healthcare marketing is an extremely complex and sensitive category which must be treated delicately and seriously. While simple on the surface, a “back to basics” approach will often prove to be the most effective way to both respect the process and deliver optimal results.

1 comment about "To Effectively Target the Condition, Don't Target the Condition".
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  1. Beau Fraser from The Gate Worldwide, July 29, 2013 at 2:59 p.m.

    The more we think we know about a target audience, the less we know- which is why investing in sound research and strong brand planning is essential.

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