Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Wyzo, your interactive medical GPS system. Together with Xuan Zheng we will guide you over the often bumpy, sometimes uncharted, digital terrain on your journey to marketing effectiveness (ME). While on our way, we will discover how healthcare practitioner (HCP) segmentation can speed you along the digital superhighway to ME.

Wyzo: A good traveller should have a rough idea about their eventual destination. So, Xuan, briefly, what is ME?

Xuan Zheng (XZ): ME means ensuring that for every penny spent there is a positive effect on bottom-line business key performance indicators. Traditionally, what the industry tended to consider were often vanity metrics (e.g. likes, shares, retweets); however, we need to shift our mindset to actionable criteria to make sure the marketing/comms investment aligns with the fundamental business indicators, e.g. prescriptions, market share, sales value, and, ultimately, share price.

Wyzo: Before we set off, we should take a snapshot of the current communication analytics landscape.

XZ: Currently, communication analytics focuses pretty much on social listening to understand the earned content. But with the shift of the media environment, W2O has started more and more paid campaigns, which means analytics needs to shift the focus to paid media – how to help clients to optimise their media investment and drive ME and efficiency.

Wyzo: Please expand on some of the factors that drive ME.

XZ: This question can be best explained by breaking it down into: Where, who, and what. ‘Where’ means the placement. That is, on which channel should your campaign message be delivered – is it on TV, or digital, or outdoor, etc.? ‘Who’ refers to your target audience, in this case HCPs. ‘What’ alludes to the message, the content, the creative elements, campaign features (visuals), etc.

Wyzo: Please flag some common obstacles on the road to ME.

XZ: Generally, not having the correct measurement mindset or not looking at the right metrics. In communication agencies, we tend to lean too heavily on ‘what’, but not enough on the placement – ‘where’ – and the people – ‘who’ – or we haven’t utilised more advanced and sophisticated approaches to discern the ‘where’ and ‘who’.

Wyzo: So, previously, ME was evaluated through observational studies in real practice. Now, our work at W2O has opened new avenues of exploration?

XZ: You are right. Traditional communication analytics has focused too much on what happened, now we have started to explore what drives the change. Statistics modelling and machine learning are the approaches we should embrace. This allows us to identify what exactly propels client business forwards and provide not only insights but also foresights.

Wyzo: What does the term ‘HCP segmentation’ actually mean?

XZ: HCP segmentation means enabling a more effective marketing strategy to be developed because it makes engagement between the HCP and an agency, such as W2O, more effective. It shows us what our audiences do, not what we think they should be doing.

“Healthcare practitioner segmentation shows what our audiences do, not what we think they should be doing.”

Wyzo: What are the entities (for example, people or companies) that could be segmented?

XZ: This is a ‘who’ question: Who is the target audience? Most of the time we look at an HCP’s social profile and social activities to define which HCPs matter most to us. However, this is a very static view and it is now possible to segment based on factors including their real prescription behaviours, etc. This is certainly the case in the US. In the UK, NHS UK provides good prescription data, which could be a good foundation.

Wyzo: So what do you think could be a more sophisticated approach?

XZ: For example, we can investigate how frequently, how recently, and how often an HCP prescribed a certain product. Then overlay with patient data to segment the HCPs into, for example, championing HCPs or hibernating HCPs (i.e. HCPs who prescribed a lot in the past but haven’t prescribed recently), or HCPs with high potential to influence.

Wyzo: So HCP segmentation doesn’t represent a crossroads in marketing, but is instead one of the routes to explore on the road to ME?

XZ: HCP segmentation is not a new concept. There are different ways to address it. As mentioned earlier, traditional healthcare communication analytics used social data or primary research to segment HCPs. This approach is a bit fixed and focuses perhaps too much on ‘attitude’. The new approach we discussed above is to introduce a real-world behavioural assessment – their drug prescriptions. I think we should unify both approaches to make sure we target the right HCPs and ultimately achieve an effective campaign.

Wyzo: It is said that there is ‘art’ behind HCP market segmentation? What is meant by this?

XZ: You need to make the data talk and tell the story. Every single analysis needs to be aligned with business objectives and strategic imperatives to make sure the science really delivers the brief.

Wyzo: Thanks for sharing this journey with us Xuan. Would you say regularly reviewing your findings is as important as checking your travel photographs?

XZ: Definitely, because we are living in an evolving and dynamic world. We need to keep our eyes on the changes, e.g. we need to keep reviewing HCP segmentation, how HCPs shift (from, say, hibernating to championing) over time, and especially what drives the change.

This blog was co-authored by Xuan Zheng, Director of Analytics EMEA at W2O.

Interested in learning more about W2O? Check out our About or Healthcare pages.