After its critical role in America's COVID vaccine rollout, as well as an aggressive spurt of M&A, Walgreens is fundamentally changing its relationship to the people it serves. The prescription customer has become the healthcare patient, and Walgreens has had to marshal its data and communications to craft personalized interactions with a massive base, who have often been invisible to the healthcare economy. At MediaPost’s Pharma and Health Insider Summit last month, we explored with Walgreens-Boots Alliance’s VP of Customer Experience Fauzia Somani how the company is making this transition from pharmacist to healthcare provider.
It seems to me this is that rare instance when advertising data analytics and targeting is being used for social good. When faced with COVID-19 and its role in administering vaccines, the company had to profile and target customer/patients in wholly new ways. Suddenly attitudes like vaccine hesitancy and general wariness about the healthcare industry became key data points, as did locating traditionally underserved populations. And many of these profile points were changing in real time as the vax rollout progressed. In this sense Covid accelerated a data and rebranding project Walgreens had started before the pandemic. But as Walgreens-Boots Alliance moves forward and starts embedding actual healthcare services in its retail locations, many in underserved communities, disciplines like predictive analytics will become critical. Finding new customers is of course relevant to all marketers. But in this case data analytics, profiling, dynamic content creation and targeting actually make a difference in people’s lives.