How To Not Miss The Data-point: Support Crucial Decisions With 3 Simple Steps

Too often in healthcare marketing, analytical effort is wasted trying to generate insights that support nothing more than a great creative idea. Don’t get me wrong, these insights can end up appearing useful, and can even result in a great-looking advertising campaign, but the true behavior-changing results never seem to appear as expected. 

What is the missing link? I propose that, often times, the missing link gets missed further upstream from the actual data analytics. In this case, it’s as simple as directing our focus to the true moment (or moments) of decision. Ultimately, that is why we do what we do — strategic analytics supports crucial decisions — both inside the walls of our clients’ offices, and lest we forget, inside the minds of our advertising audiences.

We can be more successful by using a three-step guide: Discover, Determine, Develop.

First, discover where and when the decision is actually made. For example, is the decision to prescribe taking place in a doctor’s office or in a hospital environment? These are very controlled environments, not at all comfortable to patients, and can have a very large effect on the balance of decision-making power. 

  • Are the doctor and patient relaxed, or hurried? 
  • Is this a stressful moment for all involved, or routine and simple? 
  • What have each of these people been dealing with in the hours leading up to this moment? 
  • What happens after the decision is finished?



Second, determine who is influential in the decision-making act. The influence balance depends greatly on the nature of the disease state and product, and the truth is somewhere inside the triumvirate relationship of the HCP, Patient, and Payer. 

  • What can we understand of the real motivating factors involved with each persons’ decision making? It might be something as concrete as a drug interaction or tolerability issue, but also might be as trivial as not wanting to deal with the paperwork involved to get approval on “the best approach.” Maybe this is literally a “life or death” circumstance, and choice is more illusion than reality. 
  • Who, or what, is truly influencing the decision? These factors tend to sway the influence from one party to another, and we can get a read on this from the complexity of the disease state, the price and formulary accessibility of the drug (and how much a co-pay affects this), as well as the physical delivery of the drug.

Third, develop relevant data-supported insight to support a confident decision. Join together your learnings about the decision-making situation and the people involved, and document this in whatever format that you and your team can easily understand. Whether tabular, narrative, or even a graphical journey map, the goal now is to identify the elements and moments that can be influenced by new marketing or sales information. Make these influence moments the target for data-supported insights, because in many ways, the effort you have just gone through to focus this target has also prioritized all analytical effort into two categories: (a) crucial for stakeholder decision-making, and (b) nice to have for the overall working effort.

Be prepared to iterate this discovery and insight targeting effort a few times, as you refine your understanding of the situation and the influence moments. In today’s ever-shifting healthcare marketplace, more than ever before, the truth behind a decision can be elusive.

These three steps can help the entire marketing organization produce more power from the same people, simply by providing a clear strategic path, now with analytics driving a more focused and purposeful effort. Maybe you are feeling like this human-centered empathetic process seems closer to “planning” than “analytics.” (Hint: it historically is!) It all depends on how your strategy teams are organized. One way or the other, hopefully I’ve made it evident that collaborative thought can increase the power of the output.

1 comment about "How To Not Miss The Data-point: Support Crucial Decisions With 3 Simple Steps".
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  1. Michel Reid from Digitas Health replied, July 9, 2016 at 9:35 p.m.

    @Paula, not the case at all. Step 3 is entirely about providing relevant information to the right people, in the best manner, in order to support them making a confident decision. In my opinion, only an informed decision can be a good clinical decision, and thereby what is best for the patient outcome.

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