HealthDecember 06, 2019

Audience segmentation: Four things every healthcare marketer needs to know

By using audience segmentation, healthcare marketers can create campaigns that yield higher engagement and conversions.

A one-size-fits-all approach to marketing your product or device won’t resonate with your customers — and can wreak havoc on ROI. Instead, your marketing campaigns must be tailored to the needs of individual customers.

That’s where audience segmentation comes in. In order to create personalized marketing campaigns, you need to dig into the data to answer one essential question: Who are your customers? Once you know that, you can start grouping them by distinct attributes and tailoring your campaigns to their individual needs.

To master audience segmentation, here are four key concepts you need to know

1. It’s all about creating the right segments

In the past, if you needed to market a new device used in ACL surgery, for example, you would simply target orthopedists by advertising in orthopedics journals. But that strategy is outdated. Today, you can create ads specifically targeting orthopedic surgeons who specialize in knee surgery. You may reach fewer readers, but you’re sure to reach those who are most interested in your product.

Before you can start creating audience segments, you need to collect high-quality customer data. Start by combining data from your internal campaigns, social media, and third-party services. In addition to basic information such as age, gender, and profession, you’ll need to collect details on your target audience’s location, native language, and medical specialty. Use this data to group your customers into segments; a good starting point is to group physicians by medical specialty and location.

You should be able to identify trends within each segment. For instance, are orthopedic surgeons more likely to click on an ad if it includes certain keywords, procedure names, or treatments? Or maybe neurosurgeons at a certain hospital are more likely to engage with recruitment emails than neurosurgeons at other hospitals. In this case, you might surmise that neurosurgeons at this particular hospital are unhappy with their employer, and you should serve them with targeted ads for job openings. These audience segment insights should inform your marketing decisions and help you allocate your resources more efficiently.

2. Highly targeted campaigns will yield higher engagement

Once you’ve collected demographic data, noted patterns in your target audience’s digital behavior, and identified their needs, you can tailor campaigns to appeal to their specialty knowledge of a certain disease state. This empowers you to, for example, create campaigns specific to oncologists in the mid-Atlantic region who specialize in renal cell carcinoma. Although these targeted campaigns will receive fewer impressions, they will have a higher engagement rate because they will capture the interest of this highly specialized audience. Dollar for dollar, your marketing budget is better spent on highly specific, highly targeted campaigns.

3. Personalized, educational content is the key to success

Healthcare professionals (HCPs) value content that is educational. Audience segmentation allows you to share more sophisticated, complex, and specialized information with your target audience. For instance, if your device is the most cost-effective ACL repair technology on the market, knee surgeons will want to know that. If your medication to treat a heart arrhythmia is the most effective one out there, cardiologists who treat arrhythmias should hear about it.

PRO TIP: Smart retargeting campaigns are essential to a successful digital strategy.

Retargeting has been around for nearly a decade, and it’s here to stay. Why? Because it works. Retargeting allows you to serve ads to people who have already been exposed to your brand. Keep a close eye on your analytics, though — you don’t want to oversaturate potential customers and cause the dreaded “banner blindness.” And always be testing: consider swapping out calls to action, changing your benefit statements, or showcasing different products or devices.

4. The right channel mix is key

Audience segmentation is all about digital, but which channel is most effective? The answer is to take a multichannel approach, placing your ads where physicians spend the most time researching clinical content.

The latest Kantar Media Sources & Interactions data confirms that journals are still king when it comes to content: A whopping 97% of physicians report that they read the current issue of medical journals. The data also finds that digital marketing is effective, and that more and more physicians are reading the digital versions of journals. And did you know that segmented email campaigns yield a 90.7% higher click-through rate than non-segmented campaigns?

Bottom line: As HCPs continue to seek out useful, educational, and informative content across multiple devices and channels, marketers must find new ways to deliver the right message to the right audience on the right platform. By using audience segmentation to group physicians into highly specialized clusters, you can directly address their individual needs and solve their unique problems. If you also find out where your audience spends the most time and what content resonates with them, you’re well on your way to providing a more meaningful ad experience and increasing ROI.

Contact us to learn more about how we can segment our HCP audiences to target your online advertising across the Lippincott network.
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