Why tech investment is a must-have for health charities
Phil Draper, CEO of email marketing platform dotmailer, explains how charities like Asthma UK are innovating on their campaigns to revolutionise health education.
As CMO of dotmailer, Phil Draper is responsible for the Global Marketing team, their outputs and lead generation. He also manages the customer-facing teams in the UK and EMEA regions: Sales, Channel and Business Development; Customer Success, Account Management and Support.
For many of us, the new year means a new you. And as the 1st of January nears, we Brits become more optimistic, planning rigorous training programs and disciplined diets. Sadly, even the best laid plans rarely make it past the month, with most new‐year resolutions lapsing before we even reach February.
However, for some, these plans and resolutions must be more permanent.
Innovate to alleviate
Take asthma sufferers, for example. With a lifelong condition, they are required to stay on top of their health every day of the year; often a serious struggle when combined with the stresses of a job and other day‐to‐day priorities.
With this in mind, Asthma UK – with support from dotmailer – launched its 12‐week asthma support program to help assist people as they try to better manage their symptoms.
An excellent demonstration of digital experience, the program offered a series of communications providing encouragement to sufferers and advice on how they could boost their health by adding a few simple measures to their current lifestyle.
From personalised emails and SMS messages with tips to promote greater asthma confidence, to direct support from professional advisors via twice‐weekly calls or weekly WhatsApp messages, the program saw Asthma UK win the award for the ‘Most Connected Campaign’ at dotmailer’s annual dotties event.
Of course, as a winning campaign, the program also recorded significant results: email open rates achieved up to 86.5% and click‐through rates never fell below 10%. And in Asthma UK’s initial evaluation, there was also a 41% reduction in participants using their reliever inhaler almost every day – meaning that nearly half of participants reduced their risk of potentially fatal attacks.
The wider picture
Aside from helping asthma sufferers specifically, the program was also a great example of the need to develop more enhanced and convenient communications across the health and charity sectors – as well as helping to highlight the importance of wider technological adoption in the industry.
There is now a growing demand for charities and health organisations alike to become more digital and connected in their offering. And in a similar fashion to Asthma UK, the NHS and associated bodies are trialling various omnichannel services to better engage patients. To give some examples, Skype consultations are becoming a regular feature for doctors and patients across the country, as well as the bolstering of activity on social media platforms to help engage younger generations.
However, in this case the problem is much bigger than that which is currently being actioned.
Compared with other sectors, those within the charity, health and not‐for‐profit sector are significantly behind in technological and digital investment. The Civil Society Strategy, a government report published in August this year, highlighted the importance for charities and health associations to be ‘part of the digital revolution’ and, ultimately, do so to put the customer, beneficiary and patient first.
There is a gap and opportunity for companies to do this through engaging, intelligent and creative channels. And omnichannel delivery, personalised messaging and tailored landing pages are just one step in the right direction.
Our work with Asthma UK helps to demonstrate this need and how the process of personalisation – through an array of channels – can be adopted to target those most in need; those who might be too time‐stricken to alleviate their problems timely and effectively.