Could data transform marketing (in healthcare)?


Katya Kapelushnik explores the world of healthcare marketing and questions the impact that data will have in this space.

We can safely say that healthcare went 'digital' long ago. Be it for education, social interactions or habit-forming experiences, digital is well known and embraced as one of the major healthcare communication channels. In fact, it's probably the most important, if we judge it by the budgets assigned.


" is well known and embraced as one of the major healthcare communication channels."


However, digital is not just about communication tools and platforms. Digital has made gathering all sorts of information really easy. As a result, the much-talked-about Big Data phenomenon has become relevant to our industry; evidence-based decision-making is now possible and healthcare companies are able to allocate their digital marketing budgets more effectively.

At first, this evidence-based approach was mainly concerned with more clearly identifying who we should be targeting our messages at and how. Digital profile maps, infographics and characteristics' graphs –some formed through users' online behaviour and some through stated preferences – were presented by data-related departments. Learning about consumers' habits and preferences focused targeting, narrowed the range of communication tools and created sharper messages. But this is just starting to scratch the surface of the power of data.

Today, we can track pretty much every response to the information we put out there – from social activity (through social listening) to browsing habits and even video watching patterns. But what we really want data to tell us the answer to is "How did we do with our targeted communication?"

"If only we could measure how successful we have been at getting our messages across..."


If only we could measure how successful we have been at getting our messages across, how our audience reacted, and ultimately, what else still needs to be done to achieve effective and meaningful conversations. Technologically speaking, this is now entirely possible. The challenge lays in defining outcomes: unlike ecommerce, where the main goal of online interaction is 'purchase', healthcare marketers need to classify what 'a successful digital strategy' and 'meaningful conversations' look like in data-tracking terms.

The complexity of this exercise partially explains why the healthcare industry has not yet fully embraced the evidence-based approach.

However, cracking this case would drive healthcare digital marketing into a cyclical communication improvement through continuous dialog with our consumer, allowing us to create more effective campaigns.


About the author:

Katya Kapelushnik is ebee's resident Data Scientist who is responsible for gathering and analysing data to feed and develop their evidence based approach. Interested in hearing more about ebee? Check them out at

Have your say: How will data continue to transform the healthcare marketing space?

Andrew McConaghie

23 May, 2014