The Future of Marketing Strategies for Physicians
There’s a massive shift occurring within the healthcare system.
Today, physician teams are moving beyond the individual unit of patient treatment to an advanced team-based approach. In the face of ever-increasing complexity, the hard work and best intentions of individual physicians can no longer guarantee efficient, high-quality care. Doctors are, and must continue to be, the central players in this transformation. While this shift is occurring, the way we teach these doctors of our new products and their benefits requires a significant reframing.
As marketers, we’ve invested millions of dollars that are focused on a one-to-one personal rep sell; however, that practice, with its rising costs, (along with time-pressed physicians) is requiring us to refocus on the expanding digital channels that exist today. But as an industry, we need to pivot; we must change our perspectives to effectively reach, engage, and convince physicians to go above and beyond the traditional channels. And if we’re going to market to physicians like that, then we need to enter their domain.
The digital expansion, (which these physicians primarily know as third-party, non-personal, targeted programs encompassing all things digital), brings a new perspective, a fresh approach, and different platforms beyond traditional advertising formats. However, these offerings are often expansive, confusing, and involve numerical decision making with limited knowledge. The internal challenges of defining where these new formats fall poses such a great challenge, that at Underscore, we’ve become channel agnostic and overall, we’ve begun to evaluate in a single holistic manner for optimal decision making. As more practitioners are joining integrated delivery networks and group practices, marketers are pivoting and redesigning their engagement strategies.
Winning a physician’s support requires an imaginative and pragmatic framework that is rich in facts and demonstrates favorable outcomes. The digital channels and tactics that exist are built to help brands focus on stories, patient engagement, and moving medicine to a virtual space for HCP and consumers. However, what we’ve continued to find as we consult is that it’s hard for marketers to take the leap to these new practices; instead, we’ve focused on leveraging small box digital banner advertising, medical journals, and email, which are where these investments are usually spent. But if we’re to pivot to more advanced marketing channels and tactics, it will be a group effort to educate physicians on these new options.
Marketing through traditional channels, while they work, is ultimately limiting, and as we continue to market to physicians, it is imperative that we work with them in their space, to understand and become enthusiastic about the other more advanced options that are available when trying to reach their patients. As we think about what’s working and influencing our physicians, our approach at Underscore is to continue to help clients design smart marketing plans ultimately help move the needle forward.
By: Hemali Lakhani