I recently spoke with Allison Hartsoe, Founder and CEO of Ambition Data, about the power of using digital data to reconnect, remodel and reimagine relationships with customers and accelerate customer equity.
The abbreviated interview was posted on our blog. The full text of our conversation is below.
What is Ambition Data?
We use the magic of customer lifetime value to identify and connect marketers to their best customers (in the case of pharma marketers, this would be health care providers or HCPs) in order to drive bottom-line business results. We bring a strong digital strategy perspective, as well as hands-on analysis skills, to our customers.
What trends do you see among your clients in managing and leveraging information?
The best companies are flexible, forward-thinking, unified, and they deeply listen to their customers. Electronic Arts is a great non-pharma example of this. Most pharma companies use information poorly.
Here are three reasons why pharma companies struggle:
- Strategy is driven by what a MarTech platform can and cannot do instead of by business leadership. The impact is increased expenditures without results.
- Data governance is inconsistent or non-existent. The impact is difficulty performing analysis to make connections between expenditures and results.
- Teams do not cross-functionally support each other. The impact is a lack of unified focus on what’s good for the customer.
How does Ambition Data position itself in a growing and crowded data analytics market?
Analytics is like cooking. Everyone can cook, but few can do it well. The question every marketer should be asking, especially pharma marketers, is who are my best customers/HCPs? How can I give them more of what they want or need? By answering the first question with customer lifetime value, we identify how much-unlocked potential is in the customer base today. Then we plan marketing strategies that are measured against that baseline.
So let’s say once we run the numbers and there is $100 million of future predicted revenue locked within the customer base. Our strategies work to unlock the revenue faster while also increasing the overall number. Because our strategy is based on people and transactions, we can precisely measure how well our strategies worked. Further, we can track the application back into how we acquired good customers in the first place. Was that paid search program underfunded? Did that event pay off?
If you want to measure what matters, then you have to connect to people, not page views, and you have to know whether you are talking to a high-value HCP or a low one. I guarantee what high-value HCPs care about is much different from what the low-value providers want.
Digital marketing and customer experience are key in healthcare today. How are you helping pharma companies rethink their digital marketing strategy?
Not every customer should receive the same experience. It is always a red flag to me when someone uses “customer” as an aggregate. Customers are heterogeneous, full of differences. Most pharma marketers have segments, but these are often developed incorrectly. They start with suppositions and then back into the customer base.
A good question to ask is, “What is the expected future revenue stream from this persona?” If we don’t know that, then why are we creating an experience for them? We won’t know how much to spend or if it is successful. Let’s not guess, let’s know. You can hear the story of Bonobos on my Sept 6, 2018 podcast and how they developed the customer experience guide for their store by knowing exactly who they wanted and the future revenue stream these folks represented.
Our strategic consulting helps pharma companies collect and connect digital data to health care providers and the value they represent to the business. We love working with DMD because they provide us with the clear identification of HCPs and their internet behavior. This is the heart of customer-centricity.
You wrote a LinkedIn article earlier this year about the digital marketing personas of pharma companies. Based on those personas, how do you see pharma companies adopting customer-centric thinking for their digital marketing?
The company personas are “snapshots” that indicate what a company is actually ready to execute. Lots of companies talk about customer centricity but what they can actually deliver may be another story. To actually be customer-centric, you must know the value of each individual customer so that you can quantify who is a good customer and who is a bad one. The article explains that some companies who have strong product monopolies do not need customer-centricity as much as those who wrestle with heavy competition.
Looking ahead, how do you think the understanding of how to analyze online behavior may change?
It’s about the value you receive for what you give. If by giving my biometric information, I can skip every line in the airport and at the stadium, then I might think that’s a good value! But if you use my biometric information through a camera when I walk in a store to show me personalized ads of women like me, then I might not like that trade.
Digital suffers from two problems. First, there is a massive culture change occurring. Some people care how their data is used and some do not. The same thing happened when cameras first appeared. To make this change tolerable, we ask for permission. Second, digital marketing has grown up without having to give much to gain behavioral data. I think that will change in a big way. Customers are more empowered than ever before. Knowing how to treat each customer and how to really help them is what makes today’s CMO the most powerful person in the c-suite.
Allison Hartsoe is the Founder and CEO of Ambition Data. Her experience and passion for analysis allow her to see future trends and relate them all the way back to the tactical moves her clients need to make today. She has built and executed digital analytics strategies for Fortune 500 customers including Blackrock, BlueShield, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Nike, and Seagate. She is also a member of the C-Suite Network.Before Ambition Data, Allison was Senior Manager at Ernst & Young and VP Analytics at Semphonic, where she led several of Semphonic’s largest engagements. Prior to that, Allison co-founded iSyndicate in San Francisco. iSyndicate sold digital content to Fortune 500 corporations from media publishers.
Allison is published in Forbes.com, Fast Company, and Online Marketing. You can listen to her interviews with successful CLV marketing executives on her podcast, the Customer Equity Accelerator.