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Strategies and tools for healthcare marketing analytics

Set yourself up to analyze your campaign outputs and the business-impact outcomes you need

As healthcare marketers, we all know tracking and reviewing the right metrics is important. In a perfect world, through these metrics, we would see a direct line between the money we spend and the revenue it generates. This data would provide us with the information we need to stop doing the things that are failing and ramp up the things that make the most money.

There are healthcare marketing teams doing just that. But commonly, disparate data, organizational silos, and conflicting stakeholder priorities cause many teams to struggle with using metrics to tell the story of their marketing efforts.

Here are a few strategies and tools to consider in order to improve your process of metric tracking, review and analysis.

Choose the right metrics

There are countless metrics we can watch that are tied to our marketing efforts. The key is to choose the ones that have a direct or supporting role in the creation of revenue. For simplicity, I generally categorize them as “macro” or “micro” metrics.

Outcomes: Macro metrics directly impact your business

Start with things that have a measurable impact on your business. These “macro metrics” are top-level metrics, the outcomes that tie directly to revenue. Common macro metrics are patient acquisition cost, patient retention, appointments, new customers and payer mix. Macro metrics tend to fall at the end of the funnel and happen in relatively low numbers, so measuring impact on these metrics can sometimes be hard to track. They’re important to define because they’ll ultimately be the things we’ll want to positively affect the business. Because macro metrics can sometimes be hard to tie directly to a campaign or piece of content, it’s important to break them down into smaller metrics, known as “micro metrics.”

Outputs: Micro metrics influence your macro metrics

Micro metrics, the outputs of your work, are the steps or milestones that affect the macro metrics, the outputs, or results, that impact your business. A few common micro metrics are page views, time on site, email clicks, blog subscriptions, leads, and social engagement. While not directly related to revenue, these micro metrics can be affected and analyzed to gauge their impact on revenue-producing macro metrics.

There are endless numbers of micro interactions we can track. This means picking the correct micro metrics can be a challenge. To narrow in on the most important ones, it helps to think about your customer’s journey. What are the things your customers do that ultimately lead to a conversion? Depending on your organization’s current level of measurement and analysis, you might have a clear conversion funnel defined. Looking at your funnel, and making note of the micro interactions happening in each stage that affect your macro metrics, will give you a list of things to watch.

Simplify your reporting

Once your key metrics are identified it’s important to consolidate your reporting methods. If data is difficult to track down, regular review and analysis will not happen. Pulling relevant metrics into an easy to understand and centralized dashboard ensures nothing will get overlooked.

Data for key metrics likely exist across different systems within your organization. Being able to show website, campaign, CRM, email, and social data all together is extremely powerful. A tool we use to consolidate data into easy to consume dashboards is DataBox.

Once data sources are consolidated it’s important to make personalized views for individual stakeholders. Not all metrics are relevant to all roles. Simplifying the dashboards to only include relevant metrics helps ensure the report is targeted to the individual who needs to see it (just like your campaign!). Think of it as an opportunity to impress the C-Suite while providing a secondary report that gives your marketing, digital and content teams the insight needed to try new approaches. It’s likely that your C-Suite won’t need to see all of the outputs of the campaign, but they sure will be focused on the outcomes. You need a way to best serve up the information that proves your work. Consolidating things through a tool like DataBox helps you do that. What’s more, to get at those macro level outputs that directly impact the business, another tool we use is Call Tracking. We set up call tracking on a campaign so, for example, if a potential patient calls for an orthopedic consultation because of an ad they saw, the individual taking the call at one of your health system’s locations will be able to log that as a notable outcome of your campaign.

Schedule analysis and improvements

Even the best dashboards make no difference if they are ignored. And the best insights hold no value if they aren’t acted on. So make it a habit as a team to look at your dashboards, analyze your micro metrics (outputs), and hypothesize strategies for positively affecting the metrics that seem to be lagging.

An iterative healthcare marketing metric optimization plan could be as simple as:

  1. Reviewing a micro metric’s performance
  2. Asking the question, “If we do this [experiment], will we see this [result], because of this [insight]?”
  3. Running an experiment
  4. Reviewing changes to the metric

Disparate data, organizational silos, and conflicting stakeholder priorities may stand as barriers to truly telling the whole story of your marketing efforts in your organization. But using these few basic strategies and tools can start to break down these barriers and gradually draw a more direct line between marketing spend and revenue generation. True data driven decision making doesn’t happen overnight, but with a ongoing focus forward progress is possible.


Bob Prohaska is the Director of Digital Experience at Core Creative.


Video Discussion: How to help patients now

On July 23, 2020, we conducted a discussion with Rob Klein, founder and CEO of Klein and Partners, and our Director of Insights and Strategy, Sue Spaight. The pair covered key highlights of the third wave of Rob's national study: How the Coronavirus is Impacting Healthcare Perceptions and Behaviors. This study, fielded in June 2020, provides valuable and immediately actionable insights to help healthcare marketing and communications professionals gain the confidence of their patients, bring them back into their systems for care and understand how to support caregivers during this difficult time.
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