New privacy-friendly partnership taps consumer data to help pharma target mobile marketing

Mobile is still an untapped marketing vehicle for most pharma companies. One reason is privacy regulations--connecting any health data to a specific patient is a big no-no.

However, a new deal between 4Info and Crossix offers a potential remedy by following strict privacy rules, yet still allowing pharma companies to better target potential customers.

The cross-company marketing begins with Crossix, which mines anonymized patient data to determine the similar characteristics, demographics and lifestyle factors of people with a particular condition or disease. Here's a fictional example: That analysis might show that a large group of Type II diabetes patients live in the southwest, watch daytime TV shows, eat out at restaurants three times per week and read science fiction novels.

Crossix creates predictive models based on that information and hands that to 4Info, which then runs specific mobile campaigns targeting a wider group of consumers with similar characteristics. 4Info's technology maps consumers' opted-in mobile data and behaviors to specific households, and adds in offline data for more precise targeting.

While the above fictional example mentions four attributes, in reality Crossix can match up to 1,500 different data points using data broker Acxiom's database of attributes on almost every adult American, ranging from political views and media preferences to net worth and recent purchases.

Tim Jenkins, CEO at 4Info

"It's a three-legged stool that really makes this compelling for pharma companies, because it is the first time they've been able to really use digital technology in a HIPAA compliant, privacy-friendly manner for both targeting and measurement," said Tim Jenkins, CEO at 4Info.

The two companies have already run several campaigns. Jenkins mentioned one in which 40 to 50 attributes were matched from de-identified patients with the known condition to a larger prospective patient population. The prospective population was then targeted with a mobile campaign that resulted in a targeted reach that was 2.5 times better than average, along with a 55% increase in incremental sales of the drug.

Dan Stein, senior VP of product strategy at Crossix, added, "The idea is to help marketers get much more efficient with their ad serving; it's not perfect, but more efficient. … When we're doing modeling, we never know what's going to pop up as predictive and important. It's not causation, but a correlation. We're just telling which Acxiom consumer variables they should be using to target them for a certain group of people."

- read the press release