Shannon Gallagher, vice president of client analytics services at Crossix, spends a lot of time thinking about KPIs in work and life. In life, for instance, she runs marathons — which is all about performance tracking. Having participated in the New York City marathon, Gallagher knows about pushing hard to the finish line.
“I placed in the 38 percentile,” Gallagher says. “I have never been so proud of accomplishing something for which the KPIs rank me so below average.”
At work, KPIs track her company’s effect on patient health. Recently, for example, her team tracked prescription engagement for a client in the diabetes space. By showing which patients needed prescription support, Crossix helped the client optimize the prescription refill process for patients.
“It’s very rewarding to see health outcomes become marketing KPIs,” Gallagher said. “It’s not just paying lip service to improving health while only tracking dollars.”
We caught up with Gallagher to understand how she leads from that conviction.
YEAR FOUNDED: 2004
ABOUT CROSSIX: This leader in consumer-centric healthcare marketing analytics has multi-channel expertise across consumer and healthcare provider initiatives.
NOW HIRING: Exceptionally smart data nerds who are kind and unafraid of healthy competition. In fact, it’s best if you know how to push everybody to succeed along with you.
YOUR SPIRIT: Be an entrepreneur at heart, ready to join a startup with a history of disrupting a multi-billion dollar industry.
REDEFINING COMPETITION: At Crossix, a competitive drive is necessary for success. However, the person you must compete with most is yourself.
What does your role entail?
Gallagher: I am responsible for leading teams that own the delivery of project engagements and long-term relationships with our clients. Crossix is still a young company and we’re growing rapidly, so this means building talent and operations structures that are scalable, while sustaining the client service excellence that is so uniquely Crossix.
How is your team making an impact on healthcare?
Gallagher: My team gets out of bed to solve clients’ marketing challenges. Are they reaching the right patients at the right time and inspiring health actions? How can they do better? We run the numbers, of course, but we also really take the time to build a point of view and communicate persuasively. We are not satisfied with just delivering the numbers. This also means we look for ways to dig deeper and make great use of our connected data network.
We are not satisfied with just delivering the numbers.”
Tell me about a project in which you did that.
Gallagher: Here’s an example that I am very proud of: A client in the diabetes space invested in a patient support program to help inspire people to take their medications diligently over time. We helped them understand which types of program engagements drive increased script refilling — and which types of patients need more support than others.
They adopted the program accordingly. We measured performance to find that this generated significant return on investment year over year for several years. But this was measuring prescription sales lift. We weren’t yet getting to the heart of the concern: Were patients getting healthier?
Did you find out the answer to that?
Gallagher: In 2016, Crossix had the largest expansion of health data ever. In that expansion, we onboarded electronic health records and lab results. We could actually see if patients were getting healthier. Out of passion and intellectual curiosity and caring for our long-standing client, the team ran the analysis without even being asked.
The results came back: Indeed, those receiving patient support saw sustained, lower A1C test results [a test measuring blood sugar levels]. We about fell out of our chairs. It was like the Holy Grail. Now, A1C testing and lab results are integrated into how this client tracks all consumer touch points, from awareness-generating digital media to patient support programs.
Did that change how your client works with patients?
Gallagher: They can now optimize investment to reach and engage those who do not have their diabetes well-controlled and would benefit most from intervention. It’s very rewarding to see health outcomes become marketing KPIs. It’s not just paying lip service to improving health while only tracking dollars.
What kind of candidates do you look for?
Gallagher: The foundation I start with is “curious and kind.” By “curious,” I mean intellectual curiosity and an innate passion for discovery. When you feel simply drawn into the analysis and numbers, you are compelled to find answers. You feel great satisfaction when hitting those “ah-ha” moments and sharing them with others.
By “kind,” I mean collegial ambition, where you have high standards for yourself and you love being part of a winning team. This is not a place where the aggressively ambitious and self-centered make the cut.
This is not a place where the aggressively ambitious and self-centered make the cut.”
What brought you to this point in your position at Crossix?
Gallagher: I got my professional foundation with BASES (a division of Nielsen); it’s a pedigree I am very proud of and is widely recognized for developing exceptional professional services talent very much in the vein of how we are building Crossix today.
I was in the pharmaceutical practice area of BASES, which was very entrepreneurial. It sat outside the traditional Nielsen FMCG realm. I loved building the capabilities and being part of the early go-to-market strategy and sales effort. I was entrusted with significant team management and revenue responsibilities when I was very junior in my career. I left Nielsen for Crossix to test myself; I wanted to see what I could do with less of a safety net. I wanted to be part of the leadership team of a real startup.
Every day is different, but to the extent that you can, provide a breakdown of how you spend your day.
Gallagher: I try to manage my weekly schedule to a certain consistency and rhythm. Mondays are in the office. The rest of the week I bookend each day with one-on-ones with my direct reports, going deep into whatever’s on slate — contract renewals, performance management, project conundrums. The “meat” of each day is dedicated to client needs or interviewing candidates. I may travel to clients two to three days a week, but I’m practically always home for dinner with my husband and sons.
What is the newest and most exciting thing happening in healthcare data analytics — and where does Crossix fit into that?
Gallagher: In healthcare, analytics is about reaching people, understanding them and driving behavior change. Marketing, adherence, population health management and health outcomes all share the same patient-centric analytics backbone. To power better patient-centric analytics, the industry needs more data and more diverse data. The health-relevant environment needs to be seen as extending to grocery store purchases, hobbies, household structures, media consumption and more.
Data in these areas is already available and will continue to grow exponentially. The same is true of health data. Making the best use of this data availability requires that we intersect methods, combine and integrate disparate sources. However, traditional approaches to centralizing data in a single location inevitably exposes it to greater risk of failed privacy protections. The Crossix approach of using distributed, privacy-safe technologies is the most viable solution to effectively balance analytical value and privacy.
In healthcare, analytics is about reaching people, understanding them and driving behavior change.”
What’s a major challenge facing your industry? What is your company doing to overcome it?
Gallagher: This is a time of huge innovation and disruption in the media and marketing space. Programmatic digital media is allowing real-time bidding on audiences; new technologies are advancing hyper-targeted “addressable” TV campaigns; and smartphones and mobile devices allow media to reach customers at the point of sale.
In the healthcare industry, new digital health technologies in devices and wearables are emerging. At the same time, traditional pharma sales representatives continue to confront limitations of access to physicians for calls to doctors’ offices. This presents a great opportunity for health marketers.
Outside of work, what keeps you going?
Gallagher: Running! It doesn’t require equipment and you can do it anywhere. I am a very committed recreational road racer. I have run the New York City marathon twice. In 2015, I placed in the 38th percentile. I have never been so proud of accomplishing something for which the KPIs rank me so below average.