August 2015: Consumer Analytics for On-Demand Medicine

The on-demand medicine business is fundamentally about serving a consumer of healthcare services when and where it works for them. To the extent a given operator embraces a retail platform – “retail” oriented real estate, “retail” oriented marketing, and “retail” consumer expectations (e.g. shopping, dining, etc.) they should outperform the operator who does not embrace this retail platform.

But as walk-in medicine operators add consumer analytics expertise and vendors serving operators roll out consumer analytics platforms, giving healthcare consumers what they want, where they want it and when they want it is becoming more sophisticated. These platforms will improve marketing effectiveness, help refine existing services and develop new services, improving overall financial performance.

Since the consumer is the bulk of the walk-in operator’s customer base, in this article we focus on the more specific role of “consumer analytics” and not “customer analytics,” which includes employers and affiliates. “The average company has more data coming in than it knows what to do with,” says Tim McGuire, director at management consulting firm McKinsey. “We went through a 10- or 15-year period when most retailers collected information and did very little with it. Now we’re at a stage where they are starting to figure out that I have this treasure trove and if I use it I can make better decisions about how to run the business.”

The idea is to combine actual consumer data across multiple internal and external sources. Typically consumer analytics departments are staffed with individuals thatcan combine business know-how with financial, statistical, and IT skills to make key decisions, usually at the executive level. Larger, more mature organizationstypically devote extensive resources to this domain, as it has potential to deliver outsized impacts on performance.

The grocery industry is a great example. The average grocery store has thousands of products covering dozens of categories. That industry used to make decisions on howto allocate shelf space based on averages.  But that may have ended up eliminating a product that was important to your best customer, even though it didn’t sell much.

“We can draw the right customers into the store and expand the basket they shop in,” says McGuire at McKinsey.  “We can look at products they are buying today and usethose as the basis for recommending other products to them, whether that is an online situation or through coupons or direct mail targeting programs.”

In the grocery industry, McGuire says getting the cherry pickers out of the store who are just there for sale items and instead investing in more dollars in thecustomers who are going to be more profitable might mean 200 basis points of profitability...