This month, Syneos Health led a precision-targeting webinar with MM&M, delving into how COVID-19 continues to challenge conventional healthcare marketing and how brands can quickly adapt. Carolyn Stephenson, SVP of Strategy, explained that one of the most fundamental shifts brought about by the pandemic was from a proactive marketing posture to a reactive one. This means reading and responding to the landscape in real time, playing catch-up for the majority of the year. In that vein, we’ve seen pharma companies adapt to the surge in telemedicine use; to the new norm of virtual engagements with sales reps; and to HCPs’ new appetite for digital content. (According to a July 2020 study from Syneos Health, 60% of HCPs would be receptive to tailored ad communications based on their previous interactions.)

With this in mind, Stephenson explored a quick-start approach built by Syneos Health to reach the most critical audiences in the most effective manner—and fast. It’s called the Precision Targeting Playbook, and it can help brands start their marketing this year on the right foot. There are three chapters to the Playbook.

Chapter 1 is Data-Driven Targeting .Here, the Playbook guides brands to use data to make decisions about the highest-value people to engage around a brand promise. We start with a targeting brief, addressing questions like who we want to reach; what their goals are; where we can find them; what are the context, clues and cues shaping their behavior today; and what is the behavior we want to interrupt. With these points in mind, we evaluate accessible data inputs across prescribing history, patient population, and referral network strength. This enables us to score potential HCP targets and identify the most valuable ones—those with a higher likelihood of converting. 

That brings us to Chapter 2: Messaging & Delivery. This chapter shares a way to use existing brand assets to get to a concise set of messages that can be deployed. At Syneos Health, we start with nine principles of behavior, or core human truths, to pinpoint barriers that wire our customers to resist behavior change. Working with those, we consider how these principles will affect different types of HCPs, and we use a Behavior Brief to version brand messages by HCP mindset and motivational style. In a Matrix of Possibilities, we plot messages across key digital touchpoints, and then through our A/B Testing Plan we bring messages to life in a fluid manner across the campaign’s digital ecosystem. Finally, via programmatic media, we deliver relevant brand interactions. 

Here’s what that may look like for one prescriber: throughout the week, she receives increasingly personalized content, which is delivered across an array of channels that we know she frequents, including digital, face-to-face, and peer engagements. This is based on a combination of data and drivers, from primary research and/or secondary sources.

Finally, the last chapter of our Precision Targeting Playbook is Reporting Capability. As goes without saying, we need to know what’s working in terms of message resonance and in terms of driving incremental lift in prescriptions. To that end, we take a disciplined approach to measurement, going beyond vanity metrics and connecting dollars invested to dollars realized from prescriptions written. Additionally, we organize disparate data feeds to get a unified view of marketing performance and to understand the physician source of marketing ROI. This way, brands can more efficiently invest in future campaigns.

The result? A system that is precise, fluid, and tangible, combining the benefits of personal and digital in a closed-loop environment. This is particularly valuable because, as Stephenson noted, “2020 was supposed to be this breakthrough year for health care marketing, but the all-too-well-known reality is that COVID-19 just completely destroyed the game plan for most brands.” But the Playbook pushes brands to adjust, focus, and start 2021 with real marketing momentum.

About the Author:

Ben helps spark innovative healthcare thinking as Associate Director of Innovation. Previously on the editorial staff of Vanity Fair, he brings experience in engaging, rigorous storytelling to the healthcare world. Ben’s goals are to move brands to rethink their roles, own their evolving narratives, and maintain vital and vigorous consumer relationships.