May 16, 2023

Maintaining Trust Amid the Push for Precision Marketing in Healthcare

Every healthcare marketer is faced with a challenge: how can they plan and execute increasingly precise ad campaigns while maintaining consumer trust?Unfortunately, marketing teams have many opportunities to lose trust. That’s especially true in the healthcare industry, where marketers are held to a higher standard than most. They are not only expected and even legally required to provide reputable, data-backed health-related claims, but they are also charged with maintaining the privacy of patient data.These dual responsibilities can pose a challenge for today‘s healthcare marketer, who is often expecting to achieve ever-improving brand performance. Often, the best way to do so is through precision omnichannel marketing informed by real-world patient data.In this post, we’ll discuss the risks and rewards of precision marketing in healthcare and why it’s more important than ever that these brands maintain consumer trust.

Brand Trust and Privacy Compliance Are Vital in Healthcare Marketing

Consumer trust is a very delicate but valuable resource — one that brands might be quick to overlook because it’s not easy to quantify like other marketing and advertising KPIs. But once that trust is gone, healthcare and pharmaceutical brands will be hard-pressed to engender the same receptiveness and interest, both from patient and healthcare provider audiences.That’s because most consumers have no choice but to trust healthcare companies on two fronts: trusting them to securely manage and maintain existing healthcare records and share evidence-backed information on healthcare products and services.When healthcare companies fail patients or HCPs in either of these areas, winning back trust can take significant time and resources. One way to look at the impact of lost trust is at the total cost of a data breach in healthcare. According to research from IBM, the healthcare industry consistently sees the highest cost per data breach compared to any other industry for the last 12 years — compare $10.10 million in the healthcare industry with the overall average of $4.35 million in 2022.Obviously, there are other factors contributing to this discrepancy between healthcare and other industries, but it’s no secret that the perceptions that patients and providers have of healthcare brands have a significant impact on their willingness to, respectively, use or prescribe specific products or services.At a time when trust for the healthcare system and providers is at an all-time low, it’s more important than ever for healthcare marketers to ensure their enthusiasm for precision marketing isn’t leading them astray and risking the perception of their brand.

Is Precision Advertising at Odds with Patient Privacy? Yes and No

Healthcare products and services are inherently specific in scope. In order to be effective for the patient or therapeutic specialty in question, treatments need to be designed and tested for a specific indication, medical history, and patient profile.The ads and campaigns that healthcare marketers develop need to be similarly precise to be most effective. Precision targeting in advertising allows healthcare brands to deliver more relevant, helpful information to the right audience at the right time.This not only provides a better brand experience for the patient, but it also allows the brand itself to make the best use of its advertising dollars.However, making ad campaigns more precise comes at a cost — and that cost is data. Online users are more aware of their online privacy than ever. After all, the growing demand for consumer data is what sparked the end of cookie-based targeting as browsers gradually implemented third-party cookie blockers one by one over the past decade.Additionally, many healthcare brands leverage real-world patient data to create stronger lookalike audiences for targeting. Handling this data allows brands to make their targeting more precise and their ads more likely to reach their intended audience, but it also increases the risk of patient re-identification due to inappropriately handled data.So how can healthcare marketers make their campaigns more precise today without risking patient privacy or consumer trust?

Learning New Ways to Achieve Precision Without Compromising Privacy

Balancing the need for precision with the importance of patient privacy and consumer trust — this is a challenge that isn’t going anywhere for healthcare marketers. Even as targeting solutions change, it’s each brand’s responsibility to look for new, innovative ways to improve their targeting capabilities — and therefore their campaign performance — without potentially sacrificing invaluable brand trust.In order to do this effectively, brands need to stay on top of advertising technology trends. That can be difficult to do, especially as the industry at large debates the pros and cons of different solutions like identity resolution or opt-in targeting using first-party data (e.g., email addresses).Partnering with the right agency can help your brand stay on top of these trends and ensure that your team is using best practices for maintaining patient privacy and precision advertising. Contact us to learn how OpenHuddle helps healthcare and pharma brands maintain their hand-won brand trust while making the most of every impression and ad dollar.

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