What WWE Taught Me About EHR Promotion

Angelo Campano, senior manager, engagement strategy, Ogilvy CommonHealth
Angelo Campano, senior manager, engagement strategy, Ogilvy CommonHealth

I grew up watching WWF (now WWE) wrestling. Every Saturday morning I would rush through my morning breakfast with excitement to see all of my larger-than-life heroes. The sights of Hulk Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat enthralled me to a point where I was lost in their personalities.

Years later the characters are still there (I'm still a fan) and the WWE's audience appears to be as large as it ever was. But how did the WWE keep me interested for the last 20 years?

I took this question and applied it to one of my current on-the-job concerns: Why do our targets—doctors—stop engaging with us after years of product loyalty? And what can we do about it?

With the WWF, it started with a 1-900 number. I was overly excited as a kid to dial that number; I used to think that Hulk Hogan was actually talking to me. The data/marketing method of the 1-900 number was very simple: Associate the numbers you dial or select on your phone to the caller's preferences and continue marketing to him in a manner consistent with his preferences.

For example, the WWF number asked me my age group, and I'd choose #1, for 10 to 15 years old (which specified the type of message to deliver to me). For favorite wrestler, I'd choose #3, for Hulk Hogan (which tailored the message content). For the key question—if I would allow the WWF to follow up with me via phone—I'd choose #1, for yes.

Just like that, the WWF captured all my information and knew exactly how to speak to me. Even now the WWE still sends me information. I recently received a text that extended an appeal to the 30-something me, replete with a callback to my Hogan fandom.

The common hypothesis is that we tend to look at our targets in the same way, capturing what they like and what they know. Thus we spend a lot of time chasing doctors, even when doctors don't respond to the messages we send their way.

Looking at a standard EHR program (delivering various clinical messages via banners and display pop-up), those who spend some time targeting the office staff for the first communication have 52% more success reaching the doctor in the second and third communication than those who don't. Much like the WWE did with me, we need to take the time to understand our audience—who is really making us money, and how.

As marketing continues to evolve, so do the exercises marketers have been doing for decades. Promotion within EHRs, still a powerful tool, is not exempt from this trend. However, targeting HCPs with traditional means by media only will prove less and less effective and profitable over time. In order to create and leverage EHR promotion properly, we must rely on EHR technology to capture data and then use it to target our messages effectively.

WWE was ahead of its time in knowing where its audience was—and going to them. This is the most important thing EHR marketers need to need to do: Go where the audience is. We can now leverage EHR data for promotion, with proper business rules attached. Our promotion can be just as successful as WWE. You might even say that we now have our own Hulk Hogan.

The most recent MM&M Skill Sets Live event, "Personalizing the Healthcare Experience," surveyed a range of issues relating to some of the industry's hottest topics. This e-book conveys a wealth of information and opinion designed to help marketers demystify the challenges associated with the personalization of healthcare messaging. Click here to access.