Engage Patients at Scale with Salesforce Marketing Cloud for Healthcare

Trevor Parsell
May 5 · 4 min read
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Marketers in the healthcare and life sciences sector need the ability to engage with patients at scale. But healthcare Marketing departments face unique challenges. The data complexities and privacy concerns require a robust platform and carefully considered processes in order to execute effective campaigns. As a result, marketing teams are often forced to rely heavily on external vendors, IT, and manual processes to deliver on marketing’s goals.

This is where platforms like Salesforce Marketing Cloud can help. Using Salesforce as a unified platform enables marketing to move functions in-house with less reliance on technical teams. For example, marketers can begin leveraging Journey Builder to automate targeted cross-channel journeys without the need to work with IT or external vendors. This ultimately empowers marketers to engage patients at scale and own campaigns end-to-end from strategy to execution. The two Salesforce products recommended for an integrated healthcare marketing platform are Salesforce Health Cloud as the core CRM and Salesforce Marketing Cloud working as the Marketing orchestration and execution engine.

With Salesforce Health Cloud comes the ability to surface and consolidate disparate patient information in a unified platform. This helps in delivering more personalized service to patients at scale. But leveraging those insights to improve Patient communication across marketing efforts is still a major challenge without the right marketing tools and processes.

Because of the large and complex data models involved, many marketing platforms aren’t designed with capabilities to accommodate the needs of Healthcare marketing departments. Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s flexible and scalable data structure, combined with its integration capabilities to Health Cloud, enables teams to engage Patients on their terms — with content tailored to their needs and preferences.

Of course, Marketing segmentation and campaign execution can be accomplished in other ways. But this often means building a custom solution, outsourcing to an agency, or working closely with internal IT teams to move marketing initiatives forward. The cost of managing these approaches is high. The ideal solution is for marketing teams to own campaigns from start to finish. If set up correctly, Salesforce Marketing Cloud can become the centralized platform for marketers to identify audiences, engage them with personalized content across multiple channels, and track success toward marketing goals.

Here are four crucial considerations needed to begin getting value out of Salesforce Marketing Cloud in the Healthcare space:

Identify Data Sources
This sounds simple, but if you’ve worked with healthcare data in systems like Epic or Cerner, you know it’s easier said than done. Before you can take advantage of Marketing Cloud, you need a clear understanding of where marketing-relevant information is stored along with any integrations that might be required. You should also identify data that is not needed for marketing purposes so that it can be left out of Marketing Cloud entirely. Once all data sources are identified, you can begin the heavy lifting. This means developing processes necessary for passing data to Salesforce Health Cloud. The cleansing, mapping, and integrations will involve a deep dive into existing databases and will likely require working closely with a Salesforce Partner experienced in Health Cloud Implementations.

Centralize and Surface Data — Empower your Service Teams
This is where Salesforce Health Cloud offers a ton of value! Using Salesforce Health Cloud, you can empower patient-facing teams to securely access relevant data in a centralized location. Having data in one place — and at the fingertips of call center teams — can reduce call transfers and lead to increased patient satisfaction. This also results in a more accessible data structure for Salesforce Marketing Cloud to mobilize relevant marketing information through the standard connector.

Make Data Actionable — Empower your Marketing Teams
Integrating Marketing Cloud through the Salesforce connector enables marketers to engage with patients and prospective patients in new ways. Examples include:

  • Creating a cross-channel journey for patients with overdue appointments to help drive them to reschedule.
  • Automating welcome messaging to introduce new patients to your health system and share relevant services based on their individual profiles.
  • Sending SMS or Push notifications to increase engagement when patients sign up for your mobile application.
  • Developing and managing dynamic content in Email Studio to ensure patients see messaging relevant to their unique needs.

There is a long list of benefits and capabilities, but the key takeaway is that once the data is structured and prioritized, marketers are empowered to drive better Patient communication.

Measure Success and Improve Over Time
The combined capabilities of Health Cloud and Marketing Cloud also enable better visibility into the success of marketing initiatives. For example, you can now match up marketing activities with outcomes to get a clear sense of the effectiveness of each campaign. Once the foundation is in place, you can continue to gain deeper insights with data visualization tools to uncover deeper insights about the impact of Marketing initiatives including measuring the ROI of various marketing campaigns.

Key Takeaways
Healthcare marketers need the ability to educate and engage patients with personalized messaging. This requires organizing and actioning complex healthcare data with robust tools like Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Health Cloud. To get started, focus on standardizing and surfacing your data in Health Cloud to set the foundation for moving forward. From there, you can empower Marketers with capabilities like self-service segmentation, triggered campaigns, and cross-channel messaging. For continued improvement, track each marketing initiative, log your successes (and failures), and visualize results using dashboards. These efforts combine to provide clearer, more streamlined, Patient-centric communications which drive a better overall patient experience.

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