Engaging Professionals is Challenging for B2B Healthcare Marketers
Engaging medical professionals as the market changes is a major challenge for healthcare marketers, says Matt McNally, president, Digitas Health North America.
The pipeline is changing, says McNally. The market is shifting more towards both generic and specialty/niche products, and marketers need to address those changing needs.
“There are so many different channels and ways to reach people, he says. “How do we create the right content in a cost effective way?”
Social and mobile are now being embraced by healthcare brands, which see them as an essential part of the marketing mix. Augmented reality can now be added to that list, as a way to reach prospects who might not be have the time, money or inclination to travel to industry events.
“It’s hard for clients to experience everything,” he says. “AR can give them an experience in their own office without having to attend a conference.”
While advertising in medical journals is still part of the mix to reach doctors in their offices, the shift to digital is undeniable. “Newer professionals grew up with technology,” says McNally. “While they still want face to face interaction for certain things, they won’t give you as much of it.”
Translating data gleaned from sales calls or interactions into the digital space is another piece of the puzzle. Brands need to know how to deliver the right content at different points in the sales cycle. It’s also key to be able to share patient education materials, particularly for more mature products or brands.
“What are the ways that a doctor can use the product to help the patients, and how can we help the patient understand that?” he notes. “Healthcare marketers are embracing data to become more strategic and thoughtful about how and where they are spending dollars.”
The magic moment is the one that happens between the doctor and the consumer, McNally adds. “Doctors are asking the pharmaceutical industry what they can do to help in that moment, beyond just talking points.”
Are doctors brand loyal? It depends, says McNally. “It’s not like just switching from a Nike shoe to New Balance shoe. Professionals are open to a brand switch, but it depends on the outcome. And of course, cost is a driver. A physician becomes loyal when they’re seeing good outcomes from their patients.”
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