Healthcare Marketing

First-Party Data: What is it and 3 Steps to Use it in Healthcare Marketing

When it comes to target marketing in healthcare, nothing is going to help you strategize more than taking a closer look at your current patient data. With privacy concerns and third-party data becoming more scarce, it’s important for healthcare marketers to know what first-party data is and how to leverage it.

Whether you’re looking at increasing appointments for a specific service line or building awareness about a new location, it always helps to get to know your existing customers more to continue to reach them and potential patients like them. There are several practical steps you can take to ensure that you are using your current patient data to the fullest.

1. Create a Persona

One of the most helpful steps in getting to know your audience is to create a persona. A persona is a character that resembles your target audience that you direct marketing efforts toward. Look at your current patients. What are some of their similar traits – location, age, family life, conditions, insurance coverage? Find the commonalities and start to create the persona that best represents your audience. Make it specific, give that person a name, a job, and an exact age. Think about that person’s daily routine. What media does he/she consume? What aspects of healthcare are most important to them?

Sometimes it’s helpful to create multiple personas based on different service lines or locations. These personas should be who you think about when you start your marketing plan. Every piece of content developed should be tested with, “Would one of your personas be interested in it?”

2. Use Customer Feedback

Another way to get to know your persona and think more about their pain points is to review consumer feedback. This can be in many forms – social media messages, reviews, ratings and survey results. Look not only at quantitative data, but dig into the comments and specific feedback. This data can help you know what key message points need to be highlighted. Do you constantly receive compliments on the ease of booking appointments online? Make sure you talk about convenience in ads. Do your patients talk about the caring nurses and doctors? Show the personal side of your staff with your content and talk about how the individual care they give each patient. On the other hand, if there are things that consistently receive negative feedback, how can you fix them to improve the overall patient experience?

3. Craft Custom Audiences

Another use for first-party data is to create custom audiences with digital targeting. Think about how to segment out that data even further. Do you have a list of patients who haven’t visited your practice since before COVID? Target them online with specific messaging or use your owned channels (email, text messaging, patient portal messaging) to reach them. Are you opening a new location and want to target the patients who might live closer to the new location than an existing one? Build a custom audience to target them on social media about this new location. With custom audiences, you can also build a lookalike audience of people who are similar to your current customer base. 

At MHP/Team SI, we can help you find the right strategy to talk to your audience and think about how to leverage your existing first-party data. We’d love to find the right data-driven marketing solution for your needs.


Lauren Farabough