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Targeting Capabilities|May 16, 2023

Unlocking the power of data as a healthcare marketer

Hear quick tips for improving your marketing communications.

The American Hospitals Association’s Society for Health Care Strategy and Marketing Development (SHSMD), invited Spectrum Reach to share some valuable marketing insights. In this podcast episode, we discuss how healthcare marketers can use customer data to optimize their strategies—and get results.



With host Bill Klaproth and guests Jeanette Geer, Senior Director of Healthcare Strategy at Spectrum Reach and Joanna Paige Laytin, Vice President of Marketing at University Hospitals in Cleveland

Covered in this episode:

  • Common Mistakes in Developing Marketing Strategies
  • How to Improve Media Effectiveness by Leveraging Consumer Data
  • HIPAA as a Friend—and a Foe
  • Tailoring the Marketing Message


A transcript of the episode is provided below.


Intro: The following SHSMD Podcast is a production of

Bill Klaproth (host): On this edition of the SHSMD podcast, we're going to talk about unlocking the power of data as a healthcare marketer. So, how do you do that? What is the best way to do that? Well, we're going to find out with Jeanette Geer of Spectrum Reach and Joanna Paige Laytin of University Hospitals in Cleveland. So, let us not delay when it comes to talking about day-tuh, or do you say dah-tuh? Let's get into this right now.

Host: This is the SHSMD Podcast, rapid insights for healthcare strategy professionals in planning, business development, marketing communications and public relations. I'm your host, Bill Klaproth. And in this episode, we talk with Jeanette Geer, Senior Director of Healthcare Strategy at Spectrum Reach, and Joanna Paige Laytin, Vice-President of Marketing at University Hospitals in Cleveland, as we talk about unlocking the power of data as a healthcare marketer. And this episode is brought to you by Spectrum Reach.

Jeanette and Joanna, welcome to the SHSMD Podcast. As you know, we start every episode of the SHSMD Podcast with rapid insights, one quick tip someone can use to make their marketing communications better today. Jeanette, you're up first. Give us your rapid insight.

Jeanette Geer: Know your audience. Why this is so important is because if you don't understand them, if you don't know them, it makes reaching them in an effective way challenging. I'm also a big believer in testing and learning along the way. There are no, you know, true mistakes in marketing, and that would be my advice.

Host: Well, that makes a lot of sense and I know we're going to talk more about this. So, thank you for that, Jeanette. I appreciate it. Okay, Joanna, you're up next. What is your rapid insight?

Joanna Laytin: Yeah. I always remind people that marketing is about the consumer, not about your organization. So whether you're developing creative or looking at your media, is it important to the consumer in solving their problem first?

Host: That's always a good reminder. Remember to keep that consumer front and center when designing these marketing campaigns. Well, thank you very much for your time today, Jeanette and Joanna. It's a pleasure to talk with you, as we talk about unlocking the power of data as a healthcare marketer.

So, Jeanette, let me start with you. So first off, what are some of the mistakes that we make when it comes to running effective marketing strategies?

Jeanette Geer: That's an easy one to answer. I think it goes back to not being open to exploring new ways of reaching consumers, instead relying on what may have been effective in the past. So much about how people consume media has changed and that should be taken into consideration when building an effective strategy. Joanna, I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.

Joanna Laytin: Yeah. For me, it's really making sure that you understand what is the strategy before you start developing the tactics. So starting with the end in mind, what do you want to accomplish? And think about what are your goals and objectives of that campaign first, and then develop the plan to get there. And in accordance with the tip that I gave at the beginning, it's really not just what do we want to say about ourselves, but what's important for that audience. So understanding, again, how do you want to get there, and then I feel like once you have that strategy in place, the tactics fall in line.

Host: Right. Starting with the end in mind, always a good way to take that first step. So, can we talk about data a little bit? Because I think it's so important when we talk about designing marketing strategies, how can we improve our media effectiveness by leveraging customer data?

Jeanette Geer: Data can be a very powerful tool for healthcare marketers. We know this. It can help them gain valuable insights into their target audiences, create more effective and tailored marketing strategies. We use data in all stages of campaign creation. It's like our GPS. Once we understand your desired destination, which could be new patient acquisition, we let the data tell us where we need to go, where are those future patients watching. And we set your course, which we are constantly monitoring and adjusting based on the road ahead. Joanna, how would you answer that question?

Joanna Laytin: Yeah, I think there's a couple different ways that you can use data. One is some of the data you're talking about, some of those topline metrics­—so impressions, clicks, conversions—and you can see what is and isn't working very quickly. It's the thing I like about data, and especially in this digital age. Maybe you've got the impressions, but nobody's clicking through. You know, is it because it's an awareness campaign, or is your message not resonating with consumers?

The other thing that we like to do a lot of is test and learn. So whether it's trying out different creative or different imagery and the same copy or different copy with the same image, again in digital, you can get a read really quickly on is that working or not, and take those learnings and make your media and your creative work harder for you.

Host: That's a great way to put it. And Jeanette, I love the GPS analogy. That's a great way to think about it. So, we're talking about data and the GPS analogy, and you were saying test and learn, Joanna. So Joanna, let me ask you this, what are some of the things that we should look for when evaluating data and key insights to help strengthen our marketing strategies? We have all this data. What are some of the things we really need to pay attention to?

Joanna Laytin: Yeah, I think people get very overwhelmed very easily with data and how to use it. And the thing I talk to my team about, I jokingly call it your “spidey senses,” right? When you look at the data, does it make sense? Does it feel logical? And then if not, can I get more information? Or what other steps can I go to next to figure out why do they make sense or why do they not make sense? What can I gather to understand or confirm my hypothesis? So for example, we have seen that our marketing-driven appointments are more heavily weighted towards older patients, and system-driven are more weighted towards younger patients. And at first, it seems odd, right? Younger patients are more digital, wouldn't they be impacted more by marketing? But actually, older patients are seeking care more often, right? They're getting screenings. They're self-referring. So, they are going to be influenced more by our efforts, and we can definitely get data to see that and see what types of appointments they're coming in. But again, start with your spidey senses. Does that data make sense? And if not, where can I go to get more information?

Host: Start with the spidey senses. Okay, that's good. I love that. So, let's talk about HIPAA for a minute. So, we're talking about all this targeting and customer data. What do we have to think about or worry about when it comes to HIPAA regulations? How can we effectively target consumers while keeping that in mind?

Joanna Laytin: Yes, HIPAA is a friend and foe, right? As a patient, we want to make sure our data is protected. But as a marketer, more data is always key. But I think it has to do with push versus pull and also incidence rate. So if something impacts a greater percentage of the population, I can put a more broad message out there and assume it's going to reach the people it needs to reach. And if it's relevant, consumers are going to recognize it. And if not, they're going to pass it over just like they pass over other marketing messages that they see. But things that are more niche, they're more likely to do their own research. So, we actually know that 41% of people research their symptoms before making an appointment and, before seeking care, it might be even higher.

So, we create content for those people using language that they use, thinking about paid search, thinking about video content that has the information that they're looking for, so that when they're out there seeking the information, that we come up. So, yes, HIPAA can help keep us from targeting. But I think also, there's other ways to be creative in terms of finding the audience and the consumers that you need.

Host: So, speaking of finding the audience, you just mentioned search and video content. Jeanette, let me ask you this. So once you've identified who you're looking for, you've gone through the data, how do you create the right message then for that person? And how do you know what is the right media to use to reach them with that message?

Jeanette Geer: Great question. So, knowing more about your audience allows you to tailor marketing message to their specific needs. So for example, you might specialize in orthopedics with a desire to reach an aging golfer who could be experiencing back pain. In this case, it would be really beneficial to identify and understand that target population and then create tailored ads specifically to make that connection with them.

And then to answer part two of your question, having the right media partner with high-quality first-party, you know, [with] privacy so critical, having that privacy data is very important. At Spectrum Reach, we don't rely on cookies. Our proprietary and aggregated and de-identified data that we're drawing from over 30 million households allows you to find and reach that right healthcare consumer across all screens, you know, ultimately resulting in omitting waste and making every dollar count.

Host: I like how you put that across all screens. So, that's how you think about it when putting together marketing strategies?

Jeanette Geer: Absolutely.

Host: Yeah. And I like how you said, tailor the message. You mentioned a golfer and back pain, you know, and that is a profit center, these types of orthopedic surgeries. So, I would imagine tailoring that ad for that older golfer, you know what type of an ad is going to appeal to that person, right?

Jeanette Geer: Yes.

Host: So, I think that's really good. So, where would someone get started when it comes to leveraging customer data? I mean, it's out there. What's the best way to start this, Jeanette?

Jeanette Geer: I think it's really important to identify the right media partner that can provide you with that high quality, that first-party privacy-focused data. Joanna, I'd love to get your take on that, someone that's making these decisions daily.

Joanna Laytin: Definitely having partners like Spectrum Reach and other vendors, they're a great resource for data. They have a lot of insights that can be leveraged. And don't be afraid to use other third-party information or third-person data advisory board, trade publications. There's so much information out there. It obviously can get very overwhelming. But, you know, you can use existing resources even if your budget doesn't allow to do first-party research.

Host: So, using a third-party vendor like Spectrum Reach can really help you make the process easier. Someone like Spectrum Reach can do some of that heavy lifting for you, and being that they work with a bunch of people, many different clients can really help you tailor and zero that, add in exactly the way it needs to be. Is that right?

Joanna Laytin: Yeah, exactly. And whether it's tailoring the ad specifically or providing other insights and information to help make better creative or tailor your media.

Host: So, Joanna or Jeanette, either one of you, do you have an example of a data-driven campaign you can share with us?

Jeanette Geer: Yes. Absolutely. You know, we have hundreds. For the purpose of our talk today, I'd love to kind of kick that over to Joanna. But if anybody's listening does want to read about some of those data-driven campaign successes, you can do that simply by visiting But, Joanna, anything to share on the data-driven campaign success that you guys are having?

Joanna Laytin: Yeah, I have a great example where we use some consumer insight data to kick off the campaign and then leverage some data while it was in market to optimize the campaign. So, we have a large pediatric healthcare network within our broader system. We're trying to build awareness of it. So, we started off with some consumer research to figure out how do we let people know that we're out there?

And what we learned is that 68% of people choose a pediatrician before the baby even comes home, so whether it's while they're still pregnant or in the hospital. And we also found there's very little switching. Once you pick that pediatrician, you're with them for the life of your child. And that you often use the recommendation of that specialist. Eighty-one percent went to a specialist recommended by their pediatrician.

So, really the key to growing a pediatric network, both specialist and generalist, is to get those parents really early on. So, we developed our campaign focused on general pediatrics and really targeting new parents. And we had a very general message, healthcare or pediatricians near you and your community, and that did fairly well for us. But we're across all of northeast Ohio, so 18 hospitals and about over a hundred pediatricians. So then, we started creating geo-targeted campaigns, listing specific communities. So whether actually listing Shaker or Mayfield or Avon, and we actually found those did better than when we talked more generally about near you. And so, we're continuing to build off that more specific messaging based on what we learned from our in-market campaign. So, continuing to build on that and leveraging that data wherever we can.

Host: Yeah, that makes sense. Jeanette, any thoughts or anything you wanna share or add on to what Joanna just said?

Jeanette Geer: I love to hear that marcomm groups are really honing in. And Joanna, you said it best. You test and learn, you try things and then you analyze what's working and you course-correct. I think, if there was anything else I'd like to add to today's short discussion, and I started the top of our call talking about how marketing groups at health systems are being asked to do so much more with less. There's no denying that. And certainly, we understand those significant challenges that are being faced and just welcome that opportunity to engage in a conversation to help brands both big and small. University Hospital is a major health system in northeast Ohio, but we also have small rural hospitals who, you know, are trying to connect with the right population in their primary service area. So, helping those brands find success even in some of these really tough conditions that we're all navigating through is what kind of keeps us going and what we enjoy most about what we get to do.

Host: Well, it's got to be satisfying when you see the results that your clients have, I would think, right? That's got to be very satisfying, as I said, to see when things work out as they should.

Jeanette Geer: Absolutely.

Host: Joanna, anything you want to add?

Joanna Laytin: Just building off of what Jeanette said, there's a lot of great partners out there like Spectrum that are there to help you grow just like they are. And don't be afraid to leverage. Again, whether you're a large system with resources or a smaller one, there are resources out there through these vendor partners, and don't be afraid to leverage their expertise. And I would say borrow with pride. So, learn from what others are doing and incorporate it in your own creative, in your own campaigns.

Host: Borrow with pride. I love that. I've never heard that before. That's a good one. Everybody tweet that out. Give Joanna credit.

Joanna Laytin: Hashtag “#borrowwithpride.”

Host: That's very good. Well, Joanna and Jeanette, thank you so much for your time today. This has been, I think, really an important discussion. And as we talk about unlocking the power of data as a healthcare marketer, obviously putting data to good use can certainly help you run those more effective marketing campaigns.

Joanna and Jeanette, thank you again.

Joanna Laytin: Great. Thanks, Bill.

Jeanette Geer: Thank you.

Host: And once again, that's Jeanette Geer and Joanna Paige Layton. And you can learn more and engage with Spectrum Reach by visiting Once again, that's spectrum And if you found this podcast helpful and, again, how could you not? Please share it on all of your social channels. And please hit the subscribe or follow button to get every episode. This has been a production of Doctorpodcasting. I'm Bill Klaproth. See ya!