Best Practices For Communicating Digitally With Doctors
Pharma is rapidly adopting digital media to communicate key therapy/product messages to its customers. Most marketers have created online information spaces for doctors, looking to engage them for prescription as well as non-prescription medications. A sensible move, considering clinicians’ rising affinity for all things digital, and their wide acceptance of different online resources of medical content.
But all’s not well with these endeavors. Many digital teams fail to create sustainable engagement with physicians. It is not uncommon to find marketers struggling to drive traffic to their apps or websites, once the initial euphoria around their offerings has passed. Where are they going wrong?
Doctors have never been an easy lot to please, and the “content noise” triggered by pharma’s mad rush to woo them online, has made matters worse. Most online communication is poorly strategized by pharma, with little consideration to what information doctors actually need and in what format.
Given this scenario, a well-thought-out communications plan is the topmost priority for pharma’s digital marketing team.
Our medical content strategists share the following pointers for keeping doctors engaged online:
- Put in place a clearly-defined content strategy
A clear strategy is a precursor to targeting content to physicians. Before arriving at a content plan, it is essential to lay down the objectives of your content marketing. Is it physician education? Is it brand awareness? Or is it therapy building? Your objective will influence content topics, tonality, frequency, and format. Once the objectives are clear, you need to define your key content pillars. These are the broad areas around which your content will be structured. Finally, create a content calendar with a detailed listing of content topics and their formats. Only a clear and defined strategy will help create effective content that holds doctors’ attention and helps them make better clinical decisions.
- Target the right group with the right content
Marketing can be successful only if we target a particular content to the right set of audience. It is essential to understand the different target groups in which the doctors’ community is divided so you can send only the most relevant content to each group. These groups could be based on specialization, area of interest, years of professional practice, geographical location, activity level, and so on. Currently, pharma’s focus has shifted to online CME activities and e-detailing on concerned product features, which needs to be targeted to a specific audience in order to get an effective response.
- Keep a note of Doctor’s interest
We need to ensure that we are aware of the interests of the physicians. A great content marketer provides different ‘type’ and ‘taste’ of content to their audience. A text-heavy content format may not work anymore. The best approach is to balance text with videos, commentaries, PPTs & infographics. We also need to work on the flavor of the content i.e. not only providing clinical information but also keeping them updated with recent advancements in the healthcare field.
- Ensure content quality
Pharma’s prime focus should be to provide quality content along with recent clinical information so as to empower doctors to make better clinical decisions. Great content can trigger conversations around new therapies, clear concerns around existing ones and secure that elusive connect with prescribers. We observe that Webinars of distinguished KOLs greatly influence changes in clinical practice due to features like – focused nature of the discussion on a specific topic, interactive question and answer sessions, and a pre-defined time frame. It is essential to mention here that unbiased information reinforces doctors’ trust and respect for pharma like nothing else ever will.
- Analyze response on content regularly
In order to continue with the legacy of providing interesting and quality content to the audience, it is necessary to continuously analyze the response of the audience on each and every content that is published online. Such ‘’listening’’ can make us aware of the interests and demands of the audience and help manage the frequency and type of contents to be published. It can also help understand the pulse of the community and tweak our narrative to plug all information gaps.
The above practices are key for marketers to build solid, lasting relationships with physicians and create an unbeatable overall experience with their brands.
What is your top tip to engage doctors online?