Written by Richard Marcil on December 10, 2012
in Healthcare Marketing

Pharmalot ran a good piece last week titled, How To Reach Those Hard-To-Reach Docs, describing the myriad ways that pharma brand managers are reaching physicians.

I thought the piece was interesting in that it mirrored results we’ve seen across a number of businesses: physicians and other decision-makers are more willing to respond to various forms of communication. Like it or not, the trends are clear, and the Canadian experience is not that different than that of our U.S. colleagues.

The bad news is that fewer doctors are seeing reps. This is a real challenge for brands built on rep reach and frequency — historically at least. The good news is that this growing pool of “no-see docs” is receptive to education and promotion.

Some of the hardest-working elements of the medical-marketing mix are marketing staples — DM and email — and not shiny new tools. DM remains a terrific tactic for grabbing attention or delivering patient materials.

But there’s also little doubt that tools like e-details and podcasts are key to delivering engagement and education.

A real miss in Canada is the lack of physician access via email. As marketers, we obviously have work to do in terms of developing tools and relationships whereby HCPs would share their email addresses with us.

Note, on the chart in the article, the poor performance of telephone interaction, which may reflect the forced or “canned” nature of telemarketing messaging. Certainly, this is a tactic that worked well in its early days but quickly seems to be running out of steam.

Most importantly, the opportunity may be one of content, and less so of channels and tactics. The #1 driver for engagement remains the perceived value of the interaction, whether it be through a rep, via DM, or self-served digitally. Marketers who can stitch content, channels and tactics together will do very well. We need only look at consumer-marketing best practices to see that it can be done, even across hyper-competitive categories and low-involvement ones.

These are exciting times to be marketing to HCPs.

Is your marketing plan up to the challenge to reach “no-see docs”?

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