Healthcare vs Fashion – Who is in the lead?

The healthcare industry was fast to embrace the opportunities offered by digital, in spite of the added challenges of compliance across the regulatory, legal, privacy and security fields. This is my outside-in view that I learnt over the past couple of years.

As an insider, I witnessed the rise of digital marketing over multiple channels, founded on a global strategy with market branding and local execution. Early adoption of Facebook as the relevant channel for brand promotion has proved right for consumer products. Pushing the boundaries of traditional CRM and focusing on the multi-channel personalised customer experience has proved paramount to active engagement and targeted marketing.

Naturally, the freedom of consumer goods has always been out of reach. But healthcare has built on the concept of partnerships and learning, rather than re-invent, and put this to good use for the benefit of patients not only customers. Pharmaceutical businesses have been pushing the boundaries of digital engagement for over ten years, offering true customer experiences over web, mobile and social channels. Enterprise wide integration to achieve the relevant view of customer has long been implemented, not only recognised as a need. Hence multi-channel campaigns that were born a decade ago have evolved and are still relevant e.g. Janssen Psoriasis 360 for patient awareness, Pfizer Childhood Vaccination for mobile and social vaccination reminders, Nestle SMA support for mothers.

As the race for digital conversion and customer loyalty becomes more and more competitive, consumer products are taking the lead, according to the Digital Shopper Relevancy Report. Take Fashion for example, where consumers’ attitude and behaviours have a direct impact on loyalty and revenue realisation. By providing a richer experience online, with multiple options, buyer advice and reviews, integrated video and cross-selling, fashion is showing how it can be done. The motivating engine that makes this possible comes from within the organisation, where embedding collaborative ways of working and empowering employees has evolved from a strategy concept to business as usual. Digital has become being, as well as doing.

How is healthcare reacting to these facts? Is inside-out organisational transformation proving more challenging than responding to consumer pressure?

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