Pharma vs. physician: how data can relieve the headache (part 2)

Chris Hahn


(Continued from “Pharma vs. physician: how data can relieve the headache (part 1)”)

Giving power to your data – making it part of your message

In Part 1, we introduced the need for data to enable healthcare marketing effectiveness. Read on to learn how to make sense of that data now that you have it.

In the healthcare industry, data is everywhere. From Web traffic on multiple brand websites and micro-sites, internal and purchased demographic data, HCP prescribing behavior, opt-in preferences, campaign touch points, sales rep interactions, the social Web, opt-in patient information and more, record counts can easily reach into the billions and beyond. And database size for a single company can total terabytes or more. Asking questions of this amount of data may be easy if your needs are simple, but it can be extremely complex to dive deeper into the data, not to mention doing anything in real-time and ad hoc – which is where the real need exists.

“In the healthcare industry, data is everywhere.”

So how do you make sense of it all to capture useful insights to impact your bottom line? Technology has a significant role to play in helping marketers and their service providers collaborate to make informed decisions.

The way we were

In the past, healthcare marketers’ only solution to make sense of data has been to hire service providers that deploy relational databases, a lot of expensive hardware and no shortage of outsourced service hours. Finding viable answers to the question “who should I be targeting and when?” has taken months and worse, involves seven- to eight-figure price tags.

One of the reasons that aggregated data is often hidden from brand managers is that they don’t have the tools in place to understand it. Their current technology (or lack thereof) isn’t designed to answer ad hoc questions on large amounts of data in a fast and user friendly way. This leads to interfaces that, if a brand manager were to use them, would return results in hours or even days, not seconds.

Delaying the time it takes to get vital information makes it nearly impossible for brand managers to do their own exploration. Brand managers are forced to throw additional outsourced service resources at a problem just to get started. True collaboration at the data layer is far more a dream than reality. In the end, brand managers wind up in the back seat of a car they should be driving and their internal IT departments have no way to help them.

“Data extends the opportunities for campaigns by empowering the marketing team to drive more insight and more revenue into their business processes.”

Giving power to your data

In order to approach data in a successful way, healthcare marketers need to cut down the complexity of questions asked and improve the way data can be filtered. When they can achieve this, it’s possible for brand managers and their service providers to collaborate like never before, reducing costs both in terms of capital and time to get marketing programs delivered.

In short, healthcare marketers can feel empowered to execute campaigns based on the vast sources of data their organization holds with the proper tools in place. Data extends the opportunities for campaigns by empowering the marketing team to drive more insight and more revenue into their business processes. In this approach, the right technology can provide rich capabilities to the marketing organization, while not adversely affecting existing IT infrastructure or processes.

If the ideas of better insight and giving power to your data resonate particularly loud, it’s time to look toward a different way of working that not only integrates your data, but turns it into actionable next steps.

About the author:

Christopher Hahn is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Appature, Inc. a Seattle-based technology company that provides surprisingly simple cloud-based marketing solutions designed exclusively for healthcare companies. Appature Nexus allows healthcare marketers to quickly gain new customer insights and create programs to deepen brand relationships and drive greater sales growth.

How do you make sense of your data?