A series of studies by Gartner looks at the digital channels and integrates them for marketers in all industries. These reports provide good insight into what is happening outside of the heavily-regulated healthcare industries.
We reviewed all of the “teaser” research to find the nuggets of insight that healthcare marketers can use today in their own marketing efforts. If these seem on-target it is worthwhile visiting the Gartner site.
Recognize the Importance of Digital Marketing
The first place to start is the relative importance of digital marketing as found by Gartner in a survey. Digital is important today, but is growing in the minds of marketers. In this 2012 report Gartner found that 89% of marketers thought that digital would be important or very important in 2014.
This report also looked at where marketers were planning on spending. This is probably a more accurate picture of what they feel is important:
Notice the top five activities:
- Social media
- Mobile applications
- CRM systems
- Customer analytics
- Tablet applications
Digital is clearly important and growing for the marketers surveyed.
How to Get the Data You Need to Win at Digital Marketing
With digital marketing comes data, and lots of it. This report looks at how marketers are using their data, and the problems they encounter. They describe the “three Vs” that plague digital marketers:
- Volume: if you’ve ever seen raw web log files you know how much data is generated every second in the millions of servers around the world. These volumes passed the ability of analysts to handle years ago and are analyzed by systems like Google Analytics.
- Variety: the different digital programs generate different data. Compare Facebook activity to your website? Tough. Compare email opens to Tweets? Still tough. And for every new initiative on a new platform there are new varieties of data that mean different things.
- Velocity: this is linked to volume, above, but relates to how quickly the data can be analyzed. The volumes are high so it can be hard to sample often enough to detect changes quickly, and speed is critical if something is changing in the digital world.
The Gartner report looks to subdivide marketers’ data into quadrants:
How to Integrate Social Media Into Your Marketing Communications Strategy
With all these reports on digital, Gartner had to come back to social. Here are the steps they recommend for integrating social into the larger marketing strategy:
- Set some goals: without these the plan will not be measureable
- Establish a social media policy: even if you have one, it may be time to rewrite it for changing regulatory interpretations and changing customer expectations
- Assign an owner: someone senior in the organization who can make things happen and clear roadblocks
- Establish a listening post: without the insights from listening the social plan is just broadcast information in a social context, and that can be a recipe for disaster
- Join the conversation: healthcare companies can have more trouble with this, but the DHC social media best practices report shows that it is not impossible
- Measure: this wraps the recommendations back to #1 – setting the goals
If you want to see how Klick handles our social content, check out Inbound Marketing and the Pharma Sector.
Case Study: Bonobos Uses Social Media to Grow Revenue 65 Percent
The last report in the series is about a US men’s clothing provider who started using social for customer service. The most interesting part of this study was that:
Bonobos went from having 10% of its staff involved in customer service and support to having almost 50% of its staff certified as white belt ninjas (part-time support staff).
Using large numbers of staff to help on social support spreads the workload and also provides a source of empathy for the customers. If handled correctly this insight could drive more customer-oriented behavior in the organization.
The results that Bonobos achieved were:
- Interactions via Twitter increased from 5% to 14% in six months.
- Interactions via Facebook increased from 5% to 11% in six months.
- Web traffic from social channels increased 215% from 1Q11 to 2Q11.
- Revenue increased by 65% after the new solution adoption.
These studies from Gartner provide a good overview of what other industries are doing in digital and social media. It’s important to keep track of what other industries are doing because you never know when a best practice will emerge that is feasible in the regulated healthcare environment.