Maximizing customer lifetime value (CLV) requires continuous buyer engagement. Buyer preferences and multi-mode interactions are evolving―98% of buyers expect seamless physical and digital interactions. Over 50% of marketing executives within the healthcare industry are tasked to lead the deployment of product, sales and service resources across customer needs. However, many struggle with what marketing investments are a priority to successfully drive these initiatives.
Alexander Group’s latest marketing research effort explores how healthcare marketing organizations are striving to apply innovative B2C marketing best practices in a B2B world. Alexander Group conducted a survey of 100+ healthcare marketing leaders to better understand what marketing priorities and investments they are implementing to take their organizations into the modern era. Participants referenced six imperatives to anchor and advance their long-term plans.
“We have a very limited data feedback loop from products and services which limits our ability to refine and personalize messaging.” – SVP, Marketing Operations
Modern marketing motions are powered by data. Many healthcare organizations struggle with customer data hierarchies and management as a result of a consistently changing landscape of consolidations and IDN affiliations. Modern marketing organizations though have mastered structuring, storing and actioning product-based data across the enterprise. 80% of marketing leaders are focused on the integrity and actionability of their first-party data primarily due to regulatory and privacy constraints. Respondents agreed to be cautious and start small―leverage customer data enriched with third-party data (e.g., firmographic and contact level details) to first guide budget deployment. As the marketing organization and customer profiles become more sophisticated, weaving in additional data such as first-party cookies and third-party intent data can define where and what your customers are interacting with, helping you to provide the right solutions at the right touch point.
“Segmentation has been people-driven vs. data-driven, we center more around brick and mortar but trying to shift to personas.” – Chief Marketing Officer
Two-dimensional segmentation models based on physical location (e.g., hospital size, therapeutic area) are insufficient for the modern healthcare marketing organization. 80% of marketing leaders are doubling down on organization definitions of segmentation and ideal customer profiles. These firms apply more sophisticated segmentation and targeting criteria using insights from research and analysis to prioritize budget deployment and guide messaging and marketing campaigns. They actively monitor their audience’s value drivers and purchasing behaviors. These experiences create a competitive advantage and translate to better retention and expansion rates.
“We struggle with who are the effective decision-makers. Without alignment on buyer personas upfront the marketing efforts are less effective.” – VP, Sales & Marketing
Marketing organizations continue to try to balance direct and indirect channel activity performance, which historically has shown an overwhelming reliance on direct outbound activities. 90% of healthcare marketing leaders are repositioning reliance from outbound to inbound activities, with aims to better leverage valuable content that is relevant and useful for customers (e.g., blogs, videos, interactive websites, self-service tools, conversational marketing tools). Inbound activities allow the customer to learn more about the organization’s offerings when and where they want to be met, helping to influence the customer purchasing behavior. When executed correctly, a company’s channel management process can differentiate it from the competition.
“We’ve made many investments in the tech stack, but we haven’t figured out a way to connect everything for a cohesive digital organization. We need to focus on process improvements vs. investments.” – SVP, Marketing Strategy & Operations
Participants universally agree that less is more when determining the MarTech stack. Most leaders are prioritizing integrations vs. investment in new platforms. This enables better leverage of marketing technology across digital, sales and service organizations and within business unit teams, linking to a single ecosystem which allows for an improved flow of firmographic, customer, product and transactional insights. Sellers are armed with the same level of information as their customers. To facilitate, they employ internal champions tasked with standardizing platforms, applications and processes. These efforts result in a key competitive differentiator, simplifying adoption, reducing waste and increasing scalability.
“Global marketing will lead separate initiatives that result in duplication of efforts or inconsistent messaging from functions.” – VP, Global Marketing
The majority of marketing leaders expressed an executive imperative for marketing to drive efficiency to and through the organizational ecosystem. With over 50% of respondents indicating that core marketing functions (e.g., digital marketing, content development, brand marketing, marketing operations, product marketing and public relations) exist both within business units and corporate structures, the need to create overarching marketing councils and communities to promote communication and teaming is essential. Rather than diffused structures that create unclear responsibilities, central functions are focused on educating internal stakeholders across the broader ecosystem (who to go to and for what) while keeping teams lean and eliminating redundant roles and activities.
“With the systems we have in place it feels impossible to get an accurate understanding of marketing’s true ROI to the bottom line.” – Chief Marketing Officer
Modern marketing organizations lean on a wide range of metrics to guide their decision-making and support the case for sustained investment. Return on investment continues to lag for the average B2B organization that simply tracks campaign engagement rates and marketing qualified leads (MQLs). Without consistent revenue attribution across “results,” marketing has no insight into which campaigns are working well and corresponding ROI. The modern organization, however, has visibility into how its marketing mix is performing across vectors (audience, channel, campaign and others) allowing them to be agile and pivot resources to capitalize on what is working and abandon what is not performing. Their reporting interconnects informative next-step action capabilities, allowing them to answer ROI questions from executives and justify sustained or increased investment.
As healthcare firms look to modernize their marketing organization, the following four key initiatives are the cornerstone to building a strong ecosystem: