How to Create Behavior Change by Engaging Your Customers

When creating a marketing campaign or ad set, asking the question “What’s Powerful Now?” is critical. As a startup, you must deliver value dynamically for users in the moment they seek your service, and you must harness the rapid pace of behavioral change in today’s health journeys.

Technology has radically altered how people are connecting with health information. Mobile devices aren’t just devices or a channel but have become peoples’ private health concierge. They’re becoming the primary way for people to find health information, seek services and interact with the larger world they occupy.

This has manifested significant behavioral change and information. Tech use patterns are now providing us real-time views into geographic spread of diseases and health triggers, sometimes even before the CDC. Snackable formats have become ubiquitous, because the short-form dopamine bursts enabled by mobile are transforming what people find meaningful.

Mobile platforms—and a slew of companies offering intermediary services through them— are increasingly weaving different facets of people’s lives into one giant web of interconnected experiences that they live seamlessly. Savvy marketers are beginning to recognize this, and some are moving their focus away from flooding the usual channels with disrupting messages to simplify the options and facilitate needs. Engagement in the moment of need is becoming the most useful, provable and desirable metric.

The traditional Big Idea with its focus on brand messaging reveals its limits in our more user-centered web of experiences. But what if we change that by altering the character of the "One Big Idea?" Let’s start with replacing the one big product-centered Idea with the one generous behavior-driven Ideal. That shifts the focus to brand behavior along a customer’s health journey. And let’s recast marketing as continuous and dynamic conversation. Before crafting any campaign, let’s ask ourselves, “What’s Powerful Now?”

For a recent client need, Digitas Health did exactly that. After inheriting “tested” product-focused campaign messaging, they convinced the client to think in behavioral terms instead. Conducting quick, targeted surveys over social channels, they rapidly synthesized insights, prototyped conversations, and rolled out a fresh set of experiences.

That not only gained the client 40% open rates on emails (an important channel for their audience) but also doubled their benchmark click-through rates on digital media. It gained the client 130% engagement above their goals in other important channels. By understanding evolving patient values and behavior, we were able to offer them a health conversation they would positively respond to.

The retail brand Target went a step further a few years ago when, by studying subtle shifts in purchasing behavior and cross-referencing data from credit cards, it was able to correctly predict when female customers were pregnant and their stage in that journey. That allowed Target to talk better, topically and proactively with them.

And this is powerful now not just because we have the technology or the channels or the device. People’s actions are tied to the value they seek, and by paying attention and synthesizing the right insights we can deliver value at their most important health moments. By getting customers to engage, you are delivering "What’s Powerful Now" – which is the most important moment to any brand.

The way people are living seamlessly is giving us views into what was not possible before. We are getting finely attuned to quickly parsing the enormous amount of information flowing through the systems and responding with new value. But this not about speed. Speed—while critically important—is not the driving factor of health marketing activity today. Relevance is. Because relevance moves people to act, turning possibility into reality. And nothing is a big idea until that happens.

Digitas Health is a creative agency purpose-built to connect health and wellness brands with peoples’ deep desire to make healthy, confident choices for themselves and for their loved ones. Digitas Health is leading a new wave of thinking around HCP marketing, and the agency partners with Dreamit to provide marketing support and guidance to early stage startups.