A New Social Media Network for Healthcare Marketing Folks

steve olenski
Steve Olenski Sr Creative Content Strategist , Oracle Responsys

Posted on October 20th 2011

A new startup social media network offers to provide brands in the healthcare marketing world with "symptom-targeted advertising.”

Let's say you're the maker of a cough syrup or a fever reducer or a cold medication and you want to target those areas ofthe star grouppeople that are currently coping with these ailments or other health-related ailments but you have no idea how to identify these folks. Well enter Sickweather, a new startup company that's part social media network, part "data aggregator for sickness forecasting & mapping" as per their Twitter bio. What the folks at Sickweather will do is monitor social media networks like Facebook and Twitter for any signs of aliments: runny noses, fever, cold, flu and so on. Then, as per their website "Sickweather's robust algorithm filters and qualifies this data from several public sources (including its own online community) and cross references them with location tags to produce real time "weather maps" of reported symptoms" AKA the ideal place for healthcare marketing folks to place ads, hence the aforementioned "symptom-targeted advertising," the phrase used by Sickweather CEO Graham Dodge.

According to the article that ran in Ad Week on Sickweather they "... will host healthcare and pharmaceutical marketers for free as it seeks feedback on the system during its beta testing phase," which will launches by October 16. 

the star group

Privacy Concerns? 

Here's a sample forecast of a screenshot of an area in Baltimore: “Fever, nausea, and chills are going around in 21218.”

Now I can see both sides of this coin as from an advertising and marketing perspective, this is as Kenny Banya said to Jerry Seinfeld, Gold..


...in so much as knowing exactly who and where to deliver a highly targeted (presumably) ad is gold. But from a consumer perspective the issue of privacy will surely be raised as I would imagine many people will not want marketers and advertisers capitalizing on their ailments and for the whole world to know, theoretically, what it is that ails them. Then again, if people don't want to the whole world to know, they need to think twice about what information they share via social media, right? 

Either way, it's an interesting topic and makes for a great conversation. 

So, what do you think about all this from a both a healthcare marketing and advertising perspective as well as from a consumer one?

Sources: Sickweather, AdWeek, The Star Group, A New Social Media Network For Healthcare Marketing Folks

steve olenski

Steve Olenski

Sr Creative Content Strategist , Oracle Responsys

A regular contributor to Forbes, among other publications, Steve was named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred. He is currently a senior creative content strategist at Oracle Responsys. He is a also a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing and co-author of the book StumbleUpon For Dummies. Follow him on Twitter@steveolenski or at the nearest coffee shop.The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle Responsys.

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Posted on October 21st 2011 at 3:47PM

Hi Steve - It's amazing how social media has been leveraged and targeted to such specific industries and purposes.  To me, the privacy issue doesn't seem like a huge deal as it seems vague enough by going through zip code.  It'll be interesting to see where Sickweather goes, I'll definitely be watching their progress! 

Anyways, thanks for sharing! - Aly

Posted on October 25th 2011 at 4:32PM

I really enjoyed this article! Thanks for the great information. It is amazing what people are willing to share via social media sites. We live in the digital era now I suppose. I also found this article that you might find interesting: http://www.turnupyourvolume.com/2011/10/25/sickweather-targeting-the-rig...

Thanks again for the post, Steve.

Posted on November 3rd 2011 at 12:59PM

That's actually a great Idea any internet marketing firm can use this information and have good success in their internet marketing campaign. I enjoyed this article to a great deal and learn from it.

Posted on January 30th 2012 at 12:34PM
Is this network working the same way a publisher network is working or will it me a little more on the social media side? Either way I think the idea is good, the health care marketing was lacking something like this to make new pills known to people who need them and as long as those pills don't require any prescription I don't see why this network shouldn't work.