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Wisconsin provider uses Salesforce for healthcare marketing campaign

A large Wisconsin health system has been using Salesforce Marketing Cloud for targeted email campaigns to keep patients engaged and to attract new patients.

Healthcare is a business like any other in the sense that providers need to keep existing customers engaged and...

attract new customers.

To those ends, Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin chose Salesforce's Marketing Cloud to fuel a healthcare marketing campaign targeted at existing and prospective patients.

CRM in healthcare

Indeed, Aurora looks at its strategic email-based healthcare marketing campaign as a species of the customer relationship management approach popularized by Salesforce, said Murray Friedman, digital marketing director at Aurora.

"Our focus is on the customer, the patient," Friedman told SearchHealthIT.

Aurora took on the Marketing Cloud in early 2016. Until then the health system had no specifically designed email outreach, other than things like email-text-phone appointment reminders as part of its Epic MyChart patient portal.

Salesforce works with Evariant

Aurora's Marketing Cloud-generated email healthcare marketing campaign is built on a CRM platform from Evariant Inc., a Salesforce partner and healthcare CRM vendor.

The Evariant platform captures a lot of patient and prospect information, which, connected to the Salesforce Marketing Cloud by APIs, becomes the springboard for the healthcare marketing campaign.

"We're absolutely doing what we can to not get between the provider and the patient," Friedman said. "The question is really where can we add [value] between visits and medical situations. How do we bring value to the customer and make sure we're not just throwing more stuff at them?"

Inside healthcare marketing

Friedman said he and his team have tried to figure out what matters most to patients of the integrated health system, which has 15 hospitals and 150 clinics, as well as pharmacies and other medical facilities in Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

Murray Friedman, digital marketing director, Aurora Health CareMurray Friedman

The Aurora patient population totals more than one million, and the Salesforce-backed healthcare marketing campaign is aimed at about half of that pool, and subsets of 2% to 5% within it, at any given time, Friedman said.

"One of the first communications we send says we want to be as personal as we can and we promise not to overload your inbox," Friedman said.

Friedman said the healthcare marketing campaign's unsubscribe rate has been about 1%, and Aurora executives take that as a sign that patients trust the provider. Also, email open rates have been strong, from 30% to as high as 50%, he said.

Patient as consumer

One key piece of information that the Marketing Cloud software looks for is age, which triggers reminders for such services as annual physicals or mammograms.

The way these reminders are presented, though, is from a consumer point of view. Here Friedman invoked the consumer-centric Amazon.com analogy: "We should not be held to a different standard just because we're healthcare."

Our focus is on the customer, the patient.
Murray Friedmandigital marketing director, Aurora Health Care

Part of that relationship between consumer-patient and provider, in which Aurora strives to deliver personal and relevant information, is that patients also have to provide some basic personal and demographic information, Friedman noted.

That information for the healthcare marketing campaign mostly comes from about 15 fields in another portal, "myAurora," that lets patients pay bills, get lab test results, message doctors and manage appointments.

That portal and MyChart are reliable sources for Aurora to capture email addresses for campaigns. Aurora also knows what features patients use and don't use on myAurora.

For example, if you've already downloaded the mobile app, you don't get another email about the app. If you had a recent medical visit for a certain condition, the system learns that too.

Multiple campaigns

Since deploying Salesforce Marketing Cloud just over a year ago, Aurora has implemented more than 40 healthcare marketing campaigns.

One of the first of these efforts was for the launch of the myAurora mobile app. While the app had already been out for four or five months, one targeted email round doubled usage in two weeks, Friedman said.

The Salesforce technology "is not a large investment," Friedman said, but "the ROI is gigantic," based on informal estimates.

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