Health Care Marketing In the “Real Time” Age

By The SHSMD Team posted 13 days ago


Ochsner Health System is using an enterprise-wide CRM to bring real-time marketing strategies to life across all touch points. The system, based in Jefferson, Louisiana, not far from New Orleans, relies on the CRM and expertise of its marketing team to deliver not just the right message, but the right personalized message at the right time. Brittany Graffagnini, assistant vice president of marketing, and Chelsea Lockhart, marketing supervisor at Ochsner Health System, shared their story and learnings during SHSMD Bytes.

Consumers today are used to real-time marketing that actually saves them time and effort. Amazon, Netflix and Twitter, for example, deliver suggestions of products, entertainment or accounts to follow based on their systems’ calculations of what users might want, and this is a major driver for their user engagement and growth.

Ochsner decided to harness this same power, using the data that it had available, through a three-step process:

  • Crawl: Making a major shift from service line marketing to a consumer-focused approach.
  • Walk: Using real-time data to launch personalized, conversion-based marketing automations.
  • Run. Bringing marketing data across the enterprise to improve call center experiences, drive loyalty outreach and show impact with downstream reporting.

Transitioning from Service Line Marketing to Consumer Marketing

The key to this is leveraging key events that provide an opportunity to form tighter relationships with patients when they are most likely to take action, such as during or after major life events, such as having a child or a 50th birthday (the usual age for a shingles vaccine). Graffagnini and her team create holistic personalized conversations rather than traditional marketing messages. For example, message subject lines and sending time are personalized based on a consumer’s individual likelihood of opening the email message. The subject line of each email message is based on the most appropriate emotion of joy, fear, optimism or sadness.

Leveraging Real-Time Data

On a daily basis, the marketing team deploys 50 or more personalized email campaigns based on changes in EHR and enterprise data. For example, a patient whose medical record shows that he or she was referred to a specialist but who hasn’t made an appointment receives an email reminder with a customized message. Data enters the system from sources such as synchronized wellness apps, medical records and responses to surveys or online forms. The data is added to Ochsner’s cloud-based marketing solution, which automatically selects the most appropriate personalized content, and triggers emails, direct physical mail or 1:1 display or social advertisements.

Pivoting a COVID-19 Response and Return to Elective Care

When COVID-19 hit, Ochsner’s marketing team recognized the need for public health communications and used the same CRM capabilities for that, using real-time response and email open data to plan the next messages, building on successful approaches and ending messaging that was less effective. They also relied on the CRM and data to help them reopen elective care, sending 16 customized email messages to 500,000 patients and scheduling 538,000 appointments from the recipients of those emails.

Taking Data Enterprise-Wide and Driving Loyalty

The next step for Ochsner was to take this approach to data and marketing organization-wide, including optimizing call center encounters with the best data available and information on related services. This way, calls help to drive loyalty and business development as well as ensuring patient and family health care needs are met. For example, a maternity patient who hasn’t yet selected a pediatrician receives information on choosing a pediatrician and after she has done so, she receives information about additional products and services to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery, with messages triggered by milestones, her health record and her interactions with Ochsner.

Results and Impact

As Amazon, Netflix and Twitter can demonstrate, providing the right promotion at the right time drives both loyalty and sales. For Ochsner’s patients and their families, the stakes are different: The right message at the right time means consumers receive essential health care for their individual needs. It also deepens their engagement with Ochsner’s communications. For example, the average email open rate across health care is 21 percent. In 2019, Ochsner’s opening rate was 27 percent and it rose to 39 percent during 2020. The marketing encounter conversion rate rose 10 percent to 63 percent of those who receive a communication from Ochsner come in for an appointment. These results demonstrate the value of the investment in the marketing system and the impact on consumers as well as Ochsner’s growth.

For more

Attendees of SHSMD Bytes conference can download the slides and watch Graffagnini and Lockhart’s full session – along with all presentations and the Solution Center – any time between now and December 31, 2020. Those who didn’t attend can purchase access.

SHSMD members can discuss marketing, marketing automation and real-time solutions in the MySHSMD discussion group for marketing professionals. Those looking for solution providers can search the SHSMD Company Directory. Please note that listing is not an endorsement on the part of SHSMD or the AHA.