Some experts categorize “relationship marketing” as a subset of an overall marketing strategy. Yet, shouldn’t all marketing be relationship marketing? The goal, after all, is to create, solidify, and maintain the connections between your health system brand and your physician audience.
To effectively form—and preserve—those relationships, you must be able to understand your audience’s specific needs on an individual level. While personalization is important, hospital marketers may have a different interpretation of exactly what “personalization” means. We’ve moved beyond a first-name salutation being adequate. Now, it’s all about optimizing your email recipients’ overall experience by digging deeper into your data.
Overcoming Two Main Challenges
Lack of comprehensive profiles within databases is common among email vendors.
Here are the two biggest challenges our clients express:
Not possessing the depth of data necessary to bring relevancy to their communications, thus missing out on engagement opportunities
Having enough data but not the resources or time to use it to its potential
Both are problematic and present obstacles to successfully reaching and engaging your physician audience. Lack of comprehensive profiles within databases is common among email vendors, specifically those who use questionable means to obtain their data such as scraping the web or manufacturing email addresses based on a hospital’s naming conventions. While the email addresses contained in these types of lists may be valid in terms of basic accuracy, there are multiple concerns that accompany them.
For example, if a physician did not provide her information willingly and directly—known as a first-party opt-in—how can you be certain the first or last name listed is truly correct? Addressing recipients by the wrong name is not the way to enter into a trustworthy relationship. Another issue is sending to a physician’s non-preferred email address—perhaps an inbox he rarely checks. A high-quality list will indicate which email address is a physician’s most frequently used, increasing the likelihood of engagement.
The More Data, the Bigger the Opportunity for Engagement
Quality databases will also include supplemental data points.
Quality databases will also include supplemental data points, such as medical specialty, alumni affiliation, geographic location, and even referral patterns. This is the type of information hospital marketers can use to really get specific and speak to their physician audience in a more relevant way—something two-thirds of CMOs surveyed report as their top marketing goal for 2019.
Overcoming the first obstacle can actually help solve the second. When you’re working with quality, robust, first-party sourced data, you ultimately need fewer resources because the data does the job for you. Segmenting and targeting becomes easier when you have multiple variables to choose from.
Working With a Trusted Partner is Key
Oftentimes, high-quality data vendors will also provide guidance on email best practices and even help determine the right frequency for deployments, perform testing, and navigate metrics. Enlisting the help of a “full-service” list provider may be the step needed to get you over any hurdles you’re encountering and on to more successful campaigns.
With the rising competitive nature of the healthcare industry, meeting your physician audience’s needs and maintaining their loyalty is a top priority. To be successful in this regard, quality, comprehensive email data needs to be at the forefront of your relationship marketing strategy.