Commentary

Connecting With People By Connecting The Data Dots

As soon as she read that Kim Kardashian had posted an “OMG” rave to more than 40-million Instragram followers about her #morningsickness drug, Diclegis, on July 21, Treato media relations manager Allyson Noonan was envisioning an infographic she could not only share with the site’s users and on social media, but also distribute to traditional media outlets.

What better way to illustrate the data-mining company’s ability to monitor more than a million social media conversations daily, and then to extract insights into consumers’ thoughts, experiences and questions about healthcare topics?

So Noonan asked the company’s data scientists to keep an eye out for rising conversation about Diclegis as a result of Kardashian’s post, which eventually garnered more than 450,000 likes. Over the next 10 days, they determined that online conversations about the pill had increased 500% in July, with 29% of them mentioning Kardashian, and that Diclegis had garnered three times as many mentions as its main competitor, Phenergan.

In August, the FDA warned manufacturer Duchesnay that Kardashian’s post was “false and misleading” since it did not “communicate any risk information.” It was taken down. That news — which actually touched off more conversations than the original sponsored post did, Treato found — also gave Noonan another opportunity to share the company’s finding with editors.

“We saw it as a perfect way to insert ourselves into the coverage. And sure enough it worked. Harper's Bazaar, Forbes and New York magazine were just some of the biggest outlets to write about us,” Noonan says. A link to the Harper's Bazaar piece on Treato’s Facebook page, in fact, was the company’s  most successful social media post ever. 

Treato promotes an infographic, blog post or white paper just about every week on topics that most observers would consider more substantive, if less click-enticing. Among them: “The Numbers Behind the Anti-Vaccine Movement,”  “The Most Dangerous Player in Football: Concussions” and “Understanding The Online Voice Of The Patient About Breast Cancer,” which scraped and analyzed more than one million discussions across 2,020 sources.

With offices in Israel and Princeton, N.J., Treato makes its money through Treato IQ, which provides data-mining services to pharmaceutical marketers, agencies, hospitals and healthcare companies about the “why” and “what” behind what patients are saying online and in proprietary surveys.

But the sign on Treato.com’s door is “we serve the patients," says CEO Ido Hadari. Besides hosting its own advertising-free discussions, it is a portal to conversations around the Internet — having scraped 2.3 billion of them since 2011 — involving conditions and diseases, drug choices and side effects, tests, treatment options, and the fears and triumphs experienced by patients and their caregivers.

“When it come to marketing, I would argue that the new paradigm is, data is king,” says Hadari. “Content is okay, but it needs to be based on data.”

But this big data clearly isn’t the faceless stuff that CMOs have always been expected to collect and parse — market share, for example, or ROI. It’s all about collecting a lot of it and then connecting the dots to shape interesting, accessible and actionable insight.

“The Internet is a completely new data set that never existed before,” which Hadari distinguishes from “yet another study about diabetics.” The data provide for the first time, in one place, “the human perspective on health care,” he says.

“It’s just interesting when you can bring together 3 million conversations by diabetics about their experiences and journeys, and what they’re going through with their drugs and procedures and tests, and their everyday lives, and what they eat, and how they sleep, and how they mitigate all the different challenges associated with having diabetes,” Hadari exclaims.

Besides being incorporated into blogs that generate coverage in both trade and consumer media, the company's infographics are also used in B2B emails. A recent one, for example, told current and prospective clients of Treato IQ that 30% of 474 visitors who filled out a Treato.com survey had spoken to a doctor, or recommended someone else to do so, as a result of watching or reading a pharmaceutical advertisement.

It also disclosed that 77% would prefer that erectile dysfunction ads on TV either run after 9 p.m., or not at all. Pfizer’s Viagra and its competitors might be better off employing that granddaddy of all content marketing techniques: the free sample.

1 comment about "Connecting With People By Connecting The Data Dots".
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  1. Betsy Kent from Be Visible Associates, November 6, 2015 at 2:50 p.m.

    Hey Thom,

    I love this stuff! The data about people preferring that ED ads run late at night or not at all is fascinating. It would be great if our political candidates would use these type of insights. 

    Betsy

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