Digital Pharma East: Future of Health Marketing is Data Transparency
(And how the Digital Pharma East community responded to our proclamation.)
It was good to see everyone again at Digital Pharma East and exchange ideas about the changes transforming digital marketing in the pharmaceutical industry. Not surprisingly, since this was a digital marketing conference and Google’s third-party cookie ban was looming on the horizon, the topic of customer data was front and center. While many speakers talked about new uses of customer data and new identity solutions that repackage customer data to maintain customer privacy, Ezra Suveyke, CTO of PulsePoint, asked marketers a much more provocative question:
Every single digital marketer is using data as a foundation to power their channel strategies, target their messages, and make their marketing more relevant. But the question at the conference that had marketers staring uncomfortably at their feet was, where does that data come from? The vast majority of marketers don’t know and have never asked. And when marketers have asked this question of their data suppliers, they haven't been able to get an answer.
Ezra, who looks at data from a technologist’s point of view, educated the group on how complex the data supply chain actually is. Most data that marketers use comes from third-party data brokers, who aggregate it from other sources, sometimes a few times removed from the digital property where the customer provided their opt in and consent. By the time the data record reaches the marketer, it is very difficult to track where the data originated in the first place.
The Customer Is Demanding That You Know
Customers have started to mobilize around data transparency; they want to know how their data is collected and how it is used and by whom, and will soon want the power to change their consent or opt in. Customer demand for more transparency has already transformed large industries like food, diamonds, and prescription drugs, and these changes are coming to data. When this happens, pharma marketers are not going to be able to respond, because they, and their marketing agents, are so far removed from that customer, they lack even a faint connection to where that customer’s data came from.
The Solution: First-Party Data
Complexity in the digital data industry is compromising marketers’ ability to do right by their customers. By being so disassociated from the source of the customer data, marketers can’t refresh it, update it, or respond to changes in customer consent.
So what’s the solution? Go to the source. The only way to get complete transparency is from having—or working with someone who has—a direct, first-party relationship with the customer. The first party always knows who the “real person” behind the customer is, what level of consent they provided, and what they like and don’t like, and they are able to stop using their data if requested. Data buyers and resellers who make up the bulk of the data marketplace don't have that level of visibility or control over the usage of the data they’re handling.
Powering the Personalization Imperative
Malcolm Halle, VP of Strategic Accounts at PulsePoint, took the discussion one step further. In his contributions to the “Integrate Digital Innovation into Overall Engagement to Deliver Value to HCPs” panel, he described the “personalization imperative,” which is the obligation for marketers to understand customers deeply enough to anticipate needs and meet them.
With deeper, more real-time first-party data, combined with clear data transparency, marketers can make smarter decisions about when and where to reach customers during their digital healthcare journey. Malcolm outlined several benefits of using first-party insights:
- Meaningful segmentation: With a high-quality data foundation, marketers can better understand audiences and deliver contextualized messages.
- Changing perceptions: With first-party data, the marketer has true insight into the customer’s most up-to-date needs and behaviors.
- Omnichannel experience: With first-party data, the marketer can understand and evaluate the relative effectiveness of all the different channels that touch the customer, and can make better decisions about where to deliver messages and campaigns to ensure maximum engagement.
- Real-world results: Marketers can directly tie media activity to customer behavior in a one-to-one capacity, producing actual performance metrics instead of modeled or projected results.
Data Transparency Drives the Quality Flywheel
The thing about data, as Ezra pointed out, is that the more authentically we use it in service to the customer, the more likely the customer is to let us continue to use it. But better service requires having holistic insight into the customer, being invested in maintaining a relationship with that customer, and protecting data use and abuse at all costs. No one takes these responsibilities more seriously than the organization that holds the first-party relationship with the customer.
Download our “six considerations” guide or contact us to learn what you need to consider when working with health data, and how to select a provider of HCP or consumer data.
PulsePoint is built upon a foundation of first-party data, giving us the most accurate and robust point of view on health audiences. As the largest active programmatic health customer solution, we’re able to provide higher quality, more accurate targeting, and enable more immediate insights than any other platform. Health marketers gain intelligent insights on over 300 million health consumers and over 3.2 million HCPs to automate actions across devices for HCP and patient journey orchestration.