“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half” – John Wanamaker
John Wanamaker was a successful U.S. Postmaster General, as well as an effective merchant who owned many retail stores throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s. Wanamaker died in 1922, over 90 years ago.
The question that plagued Wanamaker almost 100 years ago still afflicts many marketers today. Some progress has been made as current technology and data platforms, such as Site Catalyst and Google Analytics, help marketers understand who is receiving non-personal promotions (NPP) like email or direct mail. These platforms even help marketers understand who is clicking to a particular website through emails, and further actions taken after clicking through. However, these platforms cannot aid marketers in understanding the reach and actions from all different kinds of channels.
Tactics such as direct mail, email, fax, postcards, etc., are all targeted tactics. A company can deploy all of these tactics to reach a specified audience of physicians through knowing the HCP’s email, address, and name. This same company deploying these tactics may even divide their target audience into different groups through segmentation of a specialty, age, geographic region, past behavior, number of field rep visits, etc. This company can then understand which tactics are most effective for each segment. For example, direct mail can include a vanity URL, which hematologists may take the most action on. Likewise, pulmonologists may have the most website downloads after clicking through an email. These realizations can help a company specify future marketing communication so that HCPs are individually receiving the NPP that is most appropriate for them.
Targeted tactics can help us understand a lot about an audience, but how does a marketer understand promotions such as banners? Or actions taken on a website if the website does not require registration? How does a marketer attribute these non-targeted tactics back to specific physicians in their target audience? Most healthcare brands cannot currently attribute the money spent on banners and website content to specific HCPs. Companies can engage in cookies or fingerprinting software tracking, but this tracking technology can prove costly and comes with a privacy controversy.
While most healthcare brands are not at an advanced tracking level, marketers can estimate which HCPs in their target audience are viewing which banners. This means we can estimate who these banners are reaching, and who is taking further action on these banners.
We can estimate the effects that banner clicks are having on total response rate, and even the effect of banners on script writing.
We calculate this estimated reach attribution through first breaking up the United States into 212 different designated marketing areas (DMAs). With simple banner tracking, we can then look at which DMAs are receiving the highest number of impressions, and which are receiving the lowest. Then, we can look at each DMA at the HCP level. As long as we understand who exists in a brand’s target audience, we will have each HCP’s address, and can then tell which DMA an HCP lives/works in.
Next, we develop a reach threshold to begin to estimate who each non-targeted tactic is reaching. We take the average number of impressions per HCP in a DMA to develop the reach threshold. If the number of impressions in a DMA were over a predetermined amount, then we would assume that all of the physicians in that DMA have seen the banner. Likewise, if the number of impressions in a DMA were below a certain amount, we would estimate that none of the targeted physicians in that particular DMA have seen the banner.
While our understanding of non-targeted tactic reach is only at the estimation level, this can help us increase our understanding of total reached HCPs, and what channels have reached these HCPs. One healthcare drug in particular, before this estimated reach was analyzed, showed a 93.9% reach certainty through targeted tactics. With the estimated reach analysis added, the brand saw that banner impressions increased their overall reach to 99.7%, and 95.6% of HCPs were estimated to have been touched with banner impressions. This brand had invested a big portion of their budget in banner impressions, and they were ecstatic to find out that banners had reached over 95% of their targeted audience.
This idea of estimated reach could be rolled out to several industries beyond healthcare as a way to fully understand the impact of all tactics without extensive tracking methods. After all, the most important thing that marketers want to know is which half of their advertising budget is money well spent.
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