How identity resolution can help solve healthcare's marketing challenge

In marketing circles, it’s long been true that when it comes to customers “the more you know, the more you grow.” Having a thorough understanding of existing customers not only ensures that marketers can best communicate in ways that resonate and compel customers to action, but can also help them find new ones. How? By drilling down into their characteristics and then looking for other people in the market area who share these same traits. 

For instance, if you’re the CMO for an integrated healthcare system with a goal of building a broader customer base for dermatology services, you might decide to target female patients within a certain age range and geography. You might also profile your existing dermatology services patients and then reach out to the community at large within a certain geographic area and target people with those same characteristics. The odds are good that you’ll capture some new customers in the process.  

This all presumes, of course, that you have actionable customer data that provides you with the opportunity to thoroughly understand who they are and how best to message them.

Healthcare marketing faces unique challenges 

This same principle can apply in healthcare circles as insurance providers seek new customers or patients. There’s a yin/yang to the healthcare industry, though, in terms of data:

  • On the one hand, you likely have a lot of very detailed data about patients.
  • On the other hand, that data is highly subject to privacy and security restrictions that may limit how you’re able to use it.

That conundrum has kept many healthcare insurance providers from leveraging the value of their data as extensively as marketers in other industries can. 

Ultimately, this is more because they don’t have the necessary tools than it is about not having enough data. Healthcare marketers need to accurately join disparate data from non-integrated systems to create a holistic view of consumers. In fact, tools like identity management are underutilized in the healthcare space. As a result, healthcare providers struggle to send accurate and appropriate messages to their consumers about their accounts, the management of their own healthcare, or the management of the healthcare of the loved ones they’re responsible for. Most healthcare marketers often try but fail because this is not their core competency.   

How to overcome these healthcare marketing obstacles

Yes, healthcare marketers must understand how they can, and can’t, use patient healthcare information (PHI) in their marketing efforts. But just because they have to be careful doesn’t mean they can’t!

For instance: healthcare marketers can’t target your messaging specifically to diabetes patients, but you can target patients using lifestyle psychographics that correlate strongly with diabetes.

Because PHI and non-PHI data is often not stored in the same place, and because healthcare organizations must stay HIPAA compliant, many just feel it’s too complicated, and too risky, to use customer-centric messaging and marketing. Identity management solutions can help. 

Building lookalike models off your patients is a great example of this.

Using identity management solutions to retain customers 

Different patients, depending on age, healthcare concerns and other attributes, have different needs and interests. Understanding patient needs and taking steps to reach out to them at key times in their patient journey can help keep them on board, ensure they seek services when they need them, and help develop patients as powerful brand advocates. 

If you make wellbeing content and capabilities central to patient engagement, your healthcare organization is positioned as an advocate, and partner, in their healthcare journey. Promoting your digital tools can deepen these trusted relationships while also helping patients more actively manage their health.   

There are many touchpoints where you can effectively reach out to patients:

  • During initial sign-up
  • With appointment reminders
  • Self-care tips

Patients, depending on their care concerns, also benefit from helpful reminders that may correlate to time of year or current issues—like effectively staying safe during the pandemic. 

Healthcare marketers can effectively facilitate loyalty through contextual marketing outreach and a strategy that directly relates to patients needs and concerns. At the same time, they can drive consumer advocacy through a focus on generating meaningful patient reviews.

Other industries have seen the benefits of strong identity resolution. The financial services industry is a good example of this—they strategically leverage the power of their data to grow market share and maintain customer satisfaction. They too have privacy considerations to work around, but they’re been able to find and retain new customers with the right identity resolution provider to help them succeed.

Learn more: The five building blocks of identity resolution


How one healthcare organization captured new customers through lookalike models with Epsilon’s Help

A large pharmacy benefit manager and care services group enlisted Epsilon to help with their identity management solution during open enrollment for Medicare. Because the healthcare brand invested in an identity management solution, they now know (with certainty) who their patients are, so they can run lookalike models to acquire new customers based on specific patient attributes and geography. To reduce repeat messaging and ad waste, current patients are stripped out of the acquisition efforts.

Marketing efforts can then be used to create buzz and educate consumers—the right consumers—about Medicare advantages. Influencers like brokers and physicians can also be leveraged to help spread the word. 

This is just one example of how Epsilon can strategically help healthcare marketers use their patient data to help attract new patients—in a privacy complaint way, of course. Once on board, data can also be leveraged to help retain patients by reaching out to them at key times. 

Don’t go at it alone 

Effectively engaging patients on an ongoing basis requires a sound strategy, an understanding of how to best leverage data, the ability to analyze and respond to results. Acquisition, retention and engagement all hinge on your ability to identify customers in a private, HIPAA-compliant way. This really isn’t something you should take a DIY approach to. 

Investing in a strong identity management partnership can help healthcare brands effectively utilize their customer database within privacy and HIPAA parameters. A partner like Epsilon.

Contact Epsilon to start an educational and accessible conversation on how you can leverage identity management to reach your marketing KPIs and goals.