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Presenting a Tale of a Health Marketing Misstep
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Re: From the marketing department
  • 7/23/2014 9:17:19 AM
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@magneticnorth -- thanks for the insider's perspective. As you point out, it's one thing to understand the need to better engage customers with personalized messaging but quite another not make that happen. I'll add, though, if a company is going to talk about how it's customer friendly, or working on becoming customer centric, then it best be able to show evidence of that!

Re: Too accurate?
  • 7/22/2014 11:49:23 PM
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@Seth Yes, printing cost for personalized mailings is indeed prohibitive, even if we're just talking about two segments. Digitally printing your name and mailing details on a postcard is an accepted and necessary cost. But two batches of offset printing jobs for the postcard's colored side? That costs more and is optional. The economies of scale in offset printing is great so until print-on-demand gains a similar cost efficiency, targeted print collateral will be a burden on the budget.

From the marketing department
  • 7/22/2014 11:36:10 PM
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I'm a marketer by profession so I feel I should give my two cents on why this type of mishap happens.

The technology and expertise for targeting have been at marketing's disposal for more than a decade now. Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, scholars of one-to-one marketing, published their first book on the topic in 1993. 1993! I was in elementary and they were already talking about "marketing to the segment of one." But let's cut marketers some slack and just look at the time when BI tools became too accessible. Early in the last decade, perhaps? Still, it's been enough time, and boo-boos like in Beth's case still abound.

Why?

The typical marketing department is always in a rush, meeting deadlines and catching up to moving performance targets that many times are do not measure true performance. There's no zen in the room. Add that to the clashes amongst staff because of differences in specializations and opinions. And budget constraints that leave you wondering how on earth you're supposed to meet your targets. Plus that ad agency your boss insists on using, oh, let's not even talk about them.

There's no question that marketers can and should do better. But what actually gets done depends on many factors, like manpower, politics, time, budget, and sanity levels. I've seen many times when the marketer's choices were amongst devil 1, devil 2, and devil 3. Maybe the devil they chose in your case, Beth, was the devil they knew.

Re: Too accurate?
  • 7/16/2014 8:50:00 AM
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The mailing piece seemed to remind me somehow of the Walgreen's drug store promotions now running, getting points for various prevention stategies. I suppose it's a matter of economics and testing by healthcare facilities at this point. Maybe there was an A/B test of a generic mailing vs. an individualized piece?

Re: Too accurate?
  • 7/15/2014 6:21:16 PM
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I'm wondering if the printing cost is prohibiting when it comes to targeted mailings.  Though I suppose that there are many non-smokers out there and so it still could be mass printed.

But I have to say, the marketing worked, because it got you thinking about your health and they are getting free marketing by being posted on this site.

Re: Too accurate?
  • 7/15/2014 11:21:27 AM
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@Beth That is definitely a much better option. It's unlikely that people would feel their privacy is compromised if they know you are sending these messages directly to their private mail. And it will also have to be from a trusted service provider. Maybe a personalized recommendation from the doctor's office or the clinic where the patient goes for treatment.

Re: Too accurate?
  • 7/15/2014 10:57:32 AM
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I agree. Materials that are too personal start to smack of big brother and may have an oppostie effect to the intended effect.

Re: Too accurate?
  • 7/15/2014 9:57:52 AM
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Hi Phoenix, it is true that people can be well-guarded about their health problems, even among family members. In the future, however, I think we'll see far less direct mail and more delivery via the channel preferred by the patient/insurance customer. Receiving health information via private email or text message would be preferrable, I imagine, in many cases vs a direct mailed postcard. Further, it's worth noting that there are regulatory obligations healthcare companies must meet in delivering any personally identifiable information. That has to be sent via secure messaging, so you wouldn't find PII on a direct mail card or in an regular email, for example.

Too accurate?
  • 7/14/2014 10:38:41 PM
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@Beth It would be really nice to have mailings that are targeted to your specific needs. But I can't help wondering whether there would be a time when it becomes too targeted. Like the incident with the pregnant teen being targeted for baby mailers without her father knowing it. When it comes to health people are reluctant to talk about their illnesses. They might feel a bit exposed if mailers arrive announcing their well guarded health problems.

Re: Paying attention
  • 7/14/2014 5:10:22 PM
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That is even more frustrating, Jim. Have you thought about taking to Twitter?

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