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Talking Personalization Part 6: Health Marketing

An interview with David Magrini

In our previous post, we focused on the financial services industry and explored how financial brands are progressing in delivering personalized experiences. Similar to the financial industry, the health industry also has unique business challenges, such as legal and regulatory considerations. As many organizations seek to mature in their ability to deliver personalization at scale, they face challenges in navigating both the industry and marketing advancement.

Our sixth discussion in this series is with David Magrini, Senior Vice President, General Manager at Merkle Health, serving brands across pharma, health insurance, hospital systems, and wellness. 

1. What challenges do you see health organizations facing with strategy as it relates to delivering personalized experiences?

Organizational readiness is a big challenge, whether it’s in the form of internal staff, departments, and dependencies that can execute personalization or the tech stack. These are always big hurdles to overcome however, it’s now accepted by senior leaders that having some personalization is better than no personalization when it comes to marketing.

2. How does organizational readiness enable organizations to deliver on personalized experiences?

That’s the biggest key, both on the agency’s part as well as the organization’s part. For example, I’ve never seen a single role that can truly drive or has responsibility for every part of the customer journey or experience. In the health industry, organizations still run massive call center operations, but it’s very uncommon for a CMO orchestrating digital media and offline media to also have complete authority over the call center. Integrating and connecting call center operations back into the CRM and using that rich data to orchestrate a seamless personalized experience is a big challenge. It’s a critical component that we as an industry don’t pay enough attention to – those interactions and the data that can be used to drive next best action is a huge opportunity.

3. What are some key questions organizations should ask vendors and partners?

If they are coming from a position of “We have customer journeys and use cases underneath those journeys that the organization has accepted,” the questions the client should be asking are:

  • What does our infrastructure look like to be able to execute today?
  • Where are the gaps and risks?
  • Do we have all the technology in place to capture and leverage the data we have?
  •  This is the experience we’re trying to achieve, this is the technology we have in place, where are the gaps whether they’re in data, analytics, or technology itself that will drive those experiences today and how will those experience evolve over time?
  • Are we in position to capitalize on that?

4. What questions should organizations ask themselves when it comes to personalization? 

  • Are we ready and what are we going to get from it?
  • What are the expectations?
  • How are we using personalization? As a retention tool, acquisition tool, to weed out unprofitable customers, or using it to only talk to those customers that they’ve modeled to be most attractive or least expensive?

5. What trends do you see forming in personalization?

Looking at the disruption in the healthcare industry, with companies like Amazon getting into health and the CVS/Aetna merger, those things are dramatically changing how we will consume healthcare going forward. Nobody does experience better than retailers, so retailers’ entrance into the healthcare market raises questions. How that’s going to continue to drive and evolve how we think about experience and how we consume healthcare? We don’t have those answers yet, it’s unchartered territory but we know it’s going to change and that it’s going to get better.

Our next interview in this series will be with Michael McLaren EVP, High Tech Vertical Lead at Merkle.