The concept of personalization continues to evolve each year and today, in the world of marketing, it has different meanings for different stakeholders. But no matter how it is defined, it is clear personalization has become paramount: Companies who implemented full personalization have seen a 19% lift in sales and a 10% lift in conversion rates (Forrester CIO/CMO Survey 2013).

The Different Meanings of Personalization

For marketing automation companies such as Salesforce, Adobe or Marketo, the story usually centers on the ability to aggregate customer data to understand online behaviors in order to target consumers with the right messages and the right content (primarily through paid and owned media).

Meanwhile, social CRM and content marketing providers such as Sprinklr and Spredfast, among others, look to community, customer service and content engagement, as ways to personalize the dialogue with consumers. Their solutions have steadily grown into real-time marketing platforms that access vast compendiums of data to target consumers, primarily across earned and shared media, with a focus on improving brand engagement and reputation.

The Key Is the Experience

Personalization is only effective when the end-to-end experience is relevant and seamless. To that end, content has become central to solving the experience issue. Personalized advertising is targeted, but still focused on selling—coming in the form of placement, a CTA or an offer.

But content experiences, in a broad sense, allow brands to be part of the consumer dialogue and a driver of intent (when used effectively). This notion of hyper-personalization via content is validated by Facebook, which has continued to update its platforms to improve user targeting and engagement through content, as evidenced by its personalized video toolkit ( The company’s long-term strategy is about providing brands with a platform to improve the experience—powered by a combination of data and content. Ultimately, Facebook is looking to provide brands with a way to become part of consumers’ social ecosystem, intrinsic to the conversation in a way that accelerates sales.

Health Experiences Must Become More Human

With patients owning a greater piece of the decision-making process, it’s now imperative companies improve the patient experience by becoming more human in their approach. The question is: “Can pharma brands actually become a player in this transition?” Regulatory concerns and typically conservative marketing practices are major barriers, but barriers are meant to be overcome.

Pharma brands can use data science and the platforms previously mentioned to increase relevancy the same way a consumer brand would. To succeed, they will have to get comfortable with the creation and distribution of content. Content can be controlled, but not where it’s shared. And people will talk about that content. They can look to MedTech companies such as Curatio, BioBots, MC10 and Koneksa Health for case studies. They are the disruptors, designing new experiences that drive meaningful changes in health management and patient outcomes.

Ultimately, health brands must remain relevant and become more personal, both emotionally and functionally. The transition will be painful, but the reward of driving better health outcomes will be worth it.

  • Dave Mihalovic

    Dave Mihalovic is EVP, Customer Experience & Technology Strategy at JUICE Pharma Worldwide. Dave served in senior leadership roles at both agency and technology startups working both in and out of healthcare. At JUICE, Dave leads the design of integrated, data-driven, and customer-centric marketing programs.


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