Guest Post: Ken Robbins | Author of GoodFatROI.com | CEO Response Mine Interactive
Health brands and healthcare organizations waste thousands, if not millions of dollars in online advertising each year without understanding the results because they don’t know what is working. It’s not just a tracking issue. It’s also a mindset problem.
But there is a solution in applying the principles and tactics of direct marketing.
How health brands can save money on D2C using direct marketing techniques:
Over the course of about 20 years, annual health care marketing spend nearly doubled from $17.7 billion in 1997 to at least $29.9 billion in 2016, driven by the rapid growth of D2C advertisements for prescription drugs, health services, medical supplies and health supplements.
The growing availability of D2C health products, lab tests, and screens are providing patients with greater autonomy over their health.
The time when patients relied completely on their physicians to make simple medical decisions, like where to get a lab test done – these are over. Depending on the state where they live, patients can order an array of laboratory tests including food sensitivity tests and other screenings.
And the market is only going to grow.
Consumers will be purchasing more products and services from D2C companies in the next five years, as projected by a recent eMarketer report.
Mastering What You Measure
A survey by Grestone.net with Klein & Partners reported half of a typical hospital’s marketing budget is related to digital initiatives.
And 81% of the hospitals list that Google AdWords is their most frequently used online advertising program.
Google AdWords and Facebook ad campaigns cannot, of themselves guarantee meaningful results.
You can’t know how successful your campaigns are if you are not measuring and tracking them.
Understanding the Patient or Customer Journey
Learning how customers find you is a valuable asset to your messaging strategy and should inform how and when you target users. If a consumer hears about your brand on the radio, then watches your TV commercial, and then sees your ad on Facebook, how do you know which channel finally drove the consumer to purchase your service?
And chances are, the touchpoints are all out of order. Today’s consumer journey is much more complex and far less tidy than I’m making it sound here.
That’s why you absolutely must define and measure your KPIs.
For instance, if a consumer clicked on your Facebook ad, added your product to their cart and purchased it, you know your Facebook ad is what led them to buy your product, but only if you’ve set up your e-commerce site with the Facebook pixel that passes that attribution through the system.
You can also use tested advertising methods like adding a code or control number to be redeemed at the time of purchase – these are especially helpful when you’re tracking performance on media channels like radio or direct mail. In fact, it’s the only proven way to measure success. Without attribution, you don’t really have proof. But regardless of what channels you spend advertising dollars on, it’s critical that you also nail down the right targeting strategy.
Targeting the Right User in the Right Place at the Right Time
A study by BIA/Kelsey estimates that US spending on geo-targeting marketing or location-targeted mobile advertising will grow to $32 billion in 2021. Another study by eMarketer shows that location-targeted Ad Spending will grow to $38.7 billion in 2022.
Also, geotargeting advertising doubled the effectiveness of mobile campaigns for quick-service restaurants.
That’s tremendous – 2x as effective.
Geotargeting advertising involves determining a consumer’s location and serving them communications based on that location. Consider a scenario where a patient visited an ophthalmologist at your hospital. Your geo-targeted ad can communicate to that patient about discounts you offer in contacts and eyeglasses. Your geo-targeted ad can help you to learn more about patient’s behavior and how to best customize your campaigns.
A good example of geotargeting action is the CVS branded app. With the CVS app, consumers can view and refill medications with their closest pharmacy, set up medication reminders, order products online and pick up in-store, access coupons, offers, and deals targeted to themselves.
Realizing the Potential of Direct Marketing for Health Brands
When health brands do not incorporate location-based advertising, they are not utilizing mobile advertising to its full potential.
You can’t control what you can’t measure. To be sure, measurement is the basis of any success you can expect from any form of marketing. It isn’t enough to run a campaign and correlate your efforts against a vague rise or dip in sales.
Through scientifically creating measurable campaigns with specific goals, you can get a bonus in addition to sales growth – the intangible ROI called insight.
It’s as important to know why your marketing works as it is to know that your campaigns have helped increase sales.
Once you understand the key levers – the “why” marketing works, you’ll be on your way to maximizing the potential of your marketing.
But, until you learn to control what you measure – you’ll never know.