Medical device and pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars each year trying to influence physicians and surgeons and for good reason: physicians and surgeons control a ton of money.
According to some calculations, the average doctor in the United States controls about $2 million in healthcare costs. That’s nothing to sniff at. If that figure is hard to wrap your mind around, think of it this way: Doctors control about 80% of all healthcare spending in the U.S. (and the U.S. spends roughly 3.5 trillion on healthcare with those costs expected to reach $5.7 trillion by 2026).
It’s easy to understand why doctors are so popular and why so many marketers are trying to get their attention. But getting their attention these days is no small feat.
Back in the day, it was easy to get a doctor’s attention. You simply sent a rep to the office and over lunch, he or she would tell the doctor and staff all about the product or medication. Easy peasy.
And so for years an almost-constant stream of pharmacy reps or device reps walked in and out of doctor’s offices all around the country.
But nowadays, most practices, particularly those that are hospital-based, no longer allow sales reps into the office. And even if they did, many doctors have become wary and jaded at all of the marketing aimed at them and so have become very well screened from most messages.
But let’s say this wasn’t the case. Let’s say doctors were open to receiving all kinds of marketing messages. The other truth is that BIG PHARMA is going to be able to outspend you every single time. The pharma industry is a $450 billion industry that spends roughly $27 billion a year marketing to doctors.
The good news is, though marketing to doctors may be hard, savvy marketers can do very well, even if they don’t have a BIG PHARMA-sized budget. Here are 5 tips to successfully market to doctors:
- Get Focused
To ensure your marketing is cost effective, hyper focus by marketing to physicians only. Why waste time and money getting your message in front of people who DON’T have M.D. or D.O. after their name? Also make sure the doctors you market to have the authority to make final decisions.
- Get Personal
Your objective isn’t to market to any physician but to high-value physicians and thought leaders. To do this successfully you have got to try and understand what is important to each individual physician on a personal level.
Zig Ziglar once said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” The truth is, even highly-skilled and intelligent doctors make purchasing decisions often based on personal reasons, maybe even emotional factors. So you need to give them the answers and motivation they personally need to get their business.
- Leverage Email Communication
According to a 2016 HealthLink Dimensions survey of more than 700 physicians, most doctors prefer email as an initial means of communication. If all goes well here, you may be invited to a face-to-face in the office. Only 3% of respondents said they use social media for business communications, so best not to waste time or money with these channels. (Though we happen to know for a fact that print publications are a powerful way to get an MD’s attention.)
- Be an Information Partner
According to that same survey, “medical professionals prefer marketers to act as information partners.” Be sure your content does not focus on selling so much as educating doctors about new technology and innovations. Always use content to offer real value that will help grow their practice.
- Use Their Language
When marketing to doctors, it’s important to learn about their clinical or academic focus and use terminology that is specific to their discipline. Consider segmenting your prospects into specific practice areas. For instance, instead of going for all cardiologists in the same manner, segment into areas like electrophysiology or interventional cardiology so you can focus on the right terminology.
Yes, doctors are busy people who certainly don’t make it easy to approach them. But if you use these 5 strategies in your marketing, you’ll have a much better chance of building relationships and making sales.
Need some help reaching the right physicians?
Mediaspace Solutions offers Direct to Consumer (DTC) messaging in doctor’s offices and pharmacies. We also have our own network of 500+ trade and medical journals to deliver your targeted message directly to physicians prescribing pharmaceuticals.
Get in touch with us today.