Marketing to Professionals: The Power of Positive Feedback

Boost doctors' confidence in your brand by validating their prescription decisions.
Jan 01, 2006

Gene Guselli
Doctors tend to hear from patients when medications fail, not when they work. But hearing positive feedback can sometimes be just as valuable. Doctors want to know that the drugs they prescribe produce positive outcomes and boost compliance. Yet, many have little information about the efficacy of these drugs because they don't have time to follow up with each patient and track their progress. Without reinforcement of their prescription decisions, doctors may feel less certain about their choices and more open to trying a different script on their next patient. But marketers can change this mindset of uncertainty by validating physicians' prescribing habits. By presenting doctors with positive feedback from their patient pools, marketers can help boost doctors' script-writing confidence, and help shape their brand preferences.

Positive Patient Input Counts

Avelox Patient Experience Program
Patient data represents a powerful marketing tool, especially when the data is customized. Instead of presenting generic clinical trials evidence, marketers can now offer data from a doctor's own patient population, collected through electronic surveys. In these surveys, marketers ask patients specific questions about relief of symptoms, ease and convenience of use, and drug productivity. Armed with this data, reps can incorporate the results of these surveys into the detailing process. Not only does this personalize the often impersonal detailing experience, but it also helps marketers increase their chances of creating positive brand impressions.

The survey results go into a linked database of information about the participating patients and physicians. Every time a patient inputs information, the doctor automatically receives a report. If the doctor sees that the patient is struggling with compliance, he or she can follow up with the patient by phone. The data can be repurposed for additional uses:
  • Market research Physicians and their patients develop an understanding of the medication experience they've shared, allowing insight into the choices and beliefs that each party made with regard to the product.
  • Patient education The database provides a vehicle for educating both patients and physicians about which educational messages were delivered and understood.
  • Compliance/Loyalty For compliance and loyalty, continued brand-use follow-up surveys of patients provide notifications of brand termination and inform physicians about their patient's treatment stoppage, thereby allowing the physician to intervene when appropriate.
  • Outcomes studies Unified patient-experience marketing allows researchers to have precise information about new patient starts, length of continuous use, and insight into product use. This information can be exceedingly difficult to gather without access to electronic medical records and claims datasets.

Spillover Effect
Beyond these areas, the collected patient-experience data can be repurposed for use in specialty conferences and journals. The data can also support abstracts, poster presentations, and manuscripts.

Spillover Sales

This marketing strategy can also benefit patients. They take comfort in knowing that their doctor is monitoring their compliance with the medicaiton. They also tend to appreciate the increased communication with their doctor. As a result, they spread the word to other patients about their positive experiences with a particular prescription.

Ironically, most of the economic benefits that result from higher script writing are actually conferred by patients unassociated with the program. Marketers know this phenomenon as the "spillover effect," or the positive change in prescribing that results from impressions generated from one patient "spilling over" to other similar patients in that physician's practice.

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