Driving Digital Transformation in Life Sciences with a CDP

Anthony Manson, CDO, WebMD Medscape on Customer Data Perspectives by

Anyone who watches ad-supported TV can likely identify the core elements of a commercial for prescription drugs. They all seem to follow a similar formula: High production values, actors portraying the challenges of living with their ailments in seemingly everyday situations, a friendly voiceover listing out potential side effects, and actors finally finding relief. 

Patients are just one of the many audiences pharmaceutical companies target when a new drug goes to market. Other audience segments include  physicians, clinics, researchers, and various other professionals that need to be reached.– The time to get that message out is often of the essence. 

Under U.S. law, pharmaceutical companies have seven years of exclusivity on sales of drugs for rare diseases and ailments before the FDA can approve competing generics. And that’s just one of many reasons sophisticated customer data is treasured in the healthcare industry, explains Anthony Manson, a senior executive at WebMD Medscape who heads up commercial solutions. Anthony and I recently sat down to record an episode of Customer Data Perspectives for

Click here to read the full transcript of the interview.

“You really have got to get out of the gate as quickly as possible,” Manson said. “From a marketing perspective, you’ve got to be targeting the right audience. And a ton of research goes into figuring out exactly who the right patient profile is for that treatment.” 

In the interview, Manson discusses the role customer data plays in an industry that faces high-stakes deadlines and data privacy imperatives. A healthcare industry veteran who prides himself on taking smart risks, Manson also shares advice for anyone trying to drive digital transformation in their healthcare organization. 

As the need for personalization, micro-targeting, and trigger-based marketing grows across all industries, this interview will inspire you to think about the art of the possible for your healthcare customer data.

Gaining A Complete Picture Of Your Customer 

All marketers share the goal of reaching their customers with the right message, in the right place, at the right time. Let’s suppose physicians are part of your target audience. In that case, Manson says you have the added challenge of trying to connect with incredibly smart people, great multitaskers, who can process information at high speeds. And that’s where trigger-based marketing can be your best friend.

“We didn’t have the tools even ten years ago that we have today,” Manson said. “Now we have sophisticated targeting and personalization tools and CDPs. We’ve gone way past CRM platforms today.” 

In particular, customer data platforms  give marketers the ability to connect data points across a variety of sources, painting a complete picture of the people they’re targeting. And with more detailed data in hand, marketers can create better A/B tests to optimize their campaigns. 

“We used to talk about A/B testing. Now we’re talking about ‘A’ to ’Z’ testing. We’re always iterating and testing different messages to different target audiences,” Manson said, adding: “That’s really where the microtargeting comes into play.”

“With physicians, it’s not just the primary care doctor versus a neurologist,” Manson explains. “You have different types of neurologists out there today that specialize in different things. So if you have an Alzheimer’s drug, you want to make sure you know exactly which Alzheimer’s experts you’re talking to and make sure you’re tweaking the message properly. We are in a one-to-one marketing world. We now have the data collection power that we didn’t have before.” 

Indeed, today’s CDPs are more than centralized hubs for customer information. They can also help organizations increase ad click-through rates, personalize marketing campaigns, improve customer support functions, and increase repeat sales to a growing number of loyal customers.  

How To Win Hearts And Minds For Big Ideas 

Throughout his career, Manson has been a person who thinks big, and he has a lot of experience winning support for transformational change. In the interview, Manson discusses how he approaches managing risk and the importance of building evangelists at all levels of your organization who believe in the change you’re trying to lead. 

“You’ve got to really drink the Kool-Aid and believe in what you’re doing in order to convince other folks to come along for the ride,” Manson said. “From the CEO down to the programmer, I think you’ve really got to get everybody on board if you’re going to go after something big.” 

Manson also notes the importance of securing the support of people who hold the purse strings in your organization. That requires planning out the resources and technology you will need to achieve your vision. If securing a CDP is one of those big ideas for your organization, check out my recent conversation with David Raab, founder of the CDP Institute. In the interview, Raab demystifies CDPs and discusses the problems they address. Or if you’re already a little further on your journey of exploring CDPs, you can use these vendor selection criteria to guide your decision.  

Want more Customer Data Perspectives? Check out our latest episodes.

Isaac Sacolick
Isaac Sacolick
Isaac Sacolick is the President of StarCIO, where he guides clients on succeeding with data and technology while executing smarter, faster, safer, and more innovative transformation programs. Isaac is the author of the Amazon bestseller, Driving Digital: The Leader’s Guide to Business Transformation Through Technology, and has written over seven hundred articles as a contributing editor at InfoWorld, Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other publications.