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Navigating the Big Shifts in Healthcare Marketing Technology

As a CMO or CDO in healthcare, you have a tremendous responsibility leading your organization’s digital marketing strategies and investments during a time of seismic technology disruptions. Between changes in analytics, customer data platforms, and AI—you are facing complex decisions with scarce resources. It’s an immense challenge to chart the optimal course. 

Over the last six months, we’ve connected with your marketing colleagues, agency peers, and other consultants facing similar disruptions and tackling the same opportunities. Here are the most consistent questions:

  1. What are the best options for navigating around GA4?
  2. How do we bring/capitalize on big data?
  3. Can we leverage AI productively and responsibly?

These resonate with trends we are observing industry-wide as well. We anticipate enterprise data management, responsible and secure data usage, and AI adoption accelerating rapidly. Here are the macro trends we’re paying attention to right now.
Rethinking Reliance on Google Analytics

With Google Analytics 4 now in effect, compliance issues have emerged regarding Google handling your sensitive patient data. You may be reconsidering reliance on Google Analytics and focusing more on first-party data strategies. Like your peers, you may wonder if executive teams even care about Google Analytics metrics—or if they want actionable insights like conversions and engagement trends instead. 

As a result, early adopters are pivoting to place greater emphasis on collecting and controlling consented first-party data directly. This enables richer profiling and personalization not possible otherwise due to external sharing restrictions. With more affordable customer data platform solutions available, first-party data is becoming the holy grail.

Building the Customer Data Foundation 

In line with this first-party data focus, many health systems like yours are pursuing customer data platforms (CDPs) to break down silos and achieve a “single source of truth.” Consolidating data enterprise-wide into CDPs enables complete, 360-degree patient profiles.

The benefits of implementing a CDP include: highly personalized marketing, optimized patient experiences, data-driven decisions, future-proofing for AI applications, and ensuring compliance with expanding privacy regulations.  

“Imagine a world where data isn’t just data, but the key to unlocking personalized patient experiences, streamlined operations, and clinical excellence. By being AI-ready, we’re not just keeping pace with tech giants like Google and Apple; we’re aligning with their advancements to revolutionize how we deliver healthcare and improve patient outcomes. This is more than adaptation; it’s a proactive stride towards a future where technology and healthcare converge for the greater good.”Tim Hayden, CEO of Brain+Trust 

The challenges are substantial, however, in terms of integrating datasets across IT systems and channels with limited budget. The data warehousing and business intelligence builds required are complex. But the payoff can be immense in terms of powering personalization.

AI data stream
Harnessing AI for Optimization

“In creating AI that enables our teams to move faster, or creating AI for our clients that allows them to work better, we are finding time and again that you cannot remove the human from the loop. We are building AI that takes the sum of what we have produced in the past, from a marketing and communication output, and using that to fuel the engine of a car that can be driven by those same marketing and communications professionals to create and ideate faster (but not replace them). That particular car will not drive itself, and will always need a human to provide a destination.”Yash Gad, CEO of Ringer Sciences

Leveraging AI also shows tremendous promise to extract insights faster, tailor creative assets, dynamically serve content, and enable constant optimization through agile methodologies.  

With privacy regulations reducing external sharing, holes in Google Analytics capabilities being exposed, and AI promising new levels of personalization—a major marketing technology shift is afoot. Assessing and re-platforming the martech stack is becoming essential, but extremely difficult with constrained resources.

First Steps

The key technology disruptions require significant strategic decisions with limited time and resources. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, focus first on these three simple next steps:

Rethinking Google Analytics

  • Conduct an audit of your Google Analytics usage—what metrics matter most? How is patient data handled?

Building a Customer Data Foundation

  • Assess your current marketing technology stack. Can it support a CDP? Map existing patient data sources.

Harnessing AI

  • Research AI vendors. Outline marketing use cases and build an AI ethics plan.

While the shifts occurring in the healthcare martech landscape are complex, taking simple step-by-step actions can help chart the optimal course for your organization with more clarity and confidence.

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