While data deprecation looms, digital healthcare marketing booms

According to a report from MM+M, healthcare marketing budgets continue to rise, but marketers aren’t interested in the same old tactics. The Healthcare Marketers Trend Report 2022 revealed that many companies are attempting to futurize their brands, expanding digital investments and flexible media plans in the place of more blanket, traditional marketing strategies.

Nearly 40% of respondents said they’re funneling more money into non-personal promotion using consultants, in turn boosting digital tactics. Those who are increasing their budgets said they’re primarily looking to increase content development and invest in video and non-linear TV.

And this trend isn’t limited to healthcare. Brands across all verticals are turning to stronger digital campaigns to combat data deprecation and to increase connections with consumers. Programmatic digital ad spend has more than doubled since 2019, largely thanks to the proliferation of connected TV (CTV). The need for better data, coupled with increased regulatory concerns, are shining a light on a long-looming problem: If healthcare companies want to continue to stay relevant, they need to change their marketing tactics.

The pain points

Healthcare marketers face an onslaught of regulatory obstacles that make their jobs a bit more complicated than, say, a retail marketer. Data can be transformative for healthcare marketers when used correctly. But many are unable to use first-party data for their marketing due to increased legal concerns surrounding Protected Health Information (PHI) and HIPPA compliance.

So, it should be no surprise most healthcare marketers (65%) don’t use custom audiences for marketing efforts. In the MM+M report, the top reason cited is that it is cost prohibitive. Of the 35% that do use custom audiences, site personalization is the top channel cited for targeting and planning (71%), followed by connected TV (50%).

Marketers want to reach the right people but need highly sanitized data to do so. As data deprecates—and as entities like Google and Facebook build even higher walled gardens—personalization gets harder without the right partner.

A cure for data deprecation

Healthcare marketers that rely on third-party cookies as their main digital touchpoint with patients won’t only lose out on new individuals, they’re going to struggle to reach existing prescription holders and patients. Creating relevant marketing is an extremely effective way to keep and retain customers, but brands that struggle with strong data strategies simply can’t do it.

That’s where data partners can step in. Identity resolution is an integral part in finding and keeping customers. There are affordable, privacy-safe options that allow brands to see intent signals data, or in layman’s terms, anonymized and sanitized data that offers a snapshot into consumer behavior before it happens.  

"As third-party cookies near deprecation, it's a prime opportunity for pharma brands to develop a strong strategy that finds potential patients at the right moment in their health journey," said Tony Seaman, Senior Director of Product Management at Epsilon.

Don’t let bad marketing strike a nerve

Programmatic advertising is a way for marketers to reach customers. The problem? Establishing expansive digital strategies that include custom audiences can be costly. And, for industries that have been traditionally left out of the data conversation due to increased regulation, it’s not a jump most want to make.

But data is becoming more than just a tool in the toolbox. It’s the tools, the toolbox and, in some, ways, the whole dang shed.

A good data strategy can help marketers optimize and target the right audiences in real-time, increase ad efficiencies, reduce overall ad costs and build effective cross-device campaigns. Identifying real people that are showing signals for certain conditions means brands can more quickly and effectively reach them with the right messages that inform and advise them at every step in their health journey.

“The Epsilon intent signals are a game changer," Seaman said. "The ability to properly target within a privacy first framework outside of cookie concerns is a much needed evolution in programmatic."

At Epsilon, our healthcare digital media solution is a cost-effective product that helps engage patients through a privacy-first framework. Our comprehensive understanding of 200M+ consumers allows for stronger connections and more personalized messaging using advanced data and machine learning capabilities. 

And, our transparent measurement gives marketers the ability to point to strategies that work, meaning your reducing marketing waste. This means instead of a spray-and-pray method where vanity metrics reign supreme, we can say with certainty we’re driving true results based on the KPIs that matter to you.

To learn more about Epsilon’s healthcare digital media solutions, visit our whitespace content hub.