Healthcare Professionals (HCP’s) are a key market for any Pharmaceutical, but they are often difficult to reach. Here we examine some techniques for engaging this all important group.
It is important not to treat all HCP’s as one homogenous group. Within this segment there will be different audiences with their own unique behaviours. Taking time to understand these different audiences and how they consume different media is an important and worthwhile exercise, which will help guide the way you interact with these audiences. Often we find creating Personas a useful way to do this. Think about (and speak to) typical users and the way in which they might engage with your brand. Consider the way they use different media: are they sitting at their desk all day, with easy access to email? Or are they out and about visiting patients, using their smartphone to access information? For the later, it is important to ensure information is quick and easy to digest, as they are unlikely to spend more than a few minutes (or even seconds) reading communications, and they must demonstrate something immediately valuable or useful for them to engage.
2. Think outside the box
Whilst developing personas you are likely to find activities that many of your key audience members have in common. Whilst the work environment is crucial, you may also wish to consider the activities they are participating in during their free/social time. e.g. many may have an interest in golf or tennis, or perhaps round the world sailing. The key here is to understand the context for these communications. Outside the work environment they are likely to be unwilling to engage in overtly commercial communications, however there is an opportunity for brand engagement e.g. sponsorship of sporting events or useful mobile applications delivering stats or information on an interest. What is crucial here is being clear about what you are setting out to achieve and being realistic about measuring success. If it really is about brand engagement then look at the effect this activity is having on key brand metrics as well as things like downloads, site visits, social conversation and sentiment. Astellas' used their sponsorship of the PGA Tour to celebrate the volunteers who help make the tour possible, whilst promoting their drug for overactive bladders, Myrbetriq.
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3. Be open
For many Healthcare companies and Pharmaceuticals, Intellectual Property is a key competitive advantage. However, when you are able to, consider sharing information. Online is a great way to do this, using things such as slideshare, online journals, respected blogs and websites, as well as Social Media such as Twitter. HCP’s use online as a key research tool, and sharing valuable insight and information is a great way to engage this difficult to reach audience. Events and conferences are also a great way to do this.
Some tips: make sure you always have a point of contact on the information you share who is able to answer questions, and also allow for resource to respond to queries or comments. Facilitating this conversation can create a number of positives for your brand, as HCP’s value the information you share. Similarly, you may well gain some important insights and data yourself.
4. Speak their language
We’ve mentioned considering the way in which HCP’s consume media, but also consider the language or terms they are using. Often, when we work for large organisations, we almost develop our own language, full of abbreviations or terms that outsiders may be unfamiliar with. When developing marketing material, keep a close eye on jargon or internal terms. They so often become second nature, so this isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Also consider using keyword analysis to examine the terms visitors to your site are using, you may well find they are different to what you are currently using.