Marketing to Professionals: Diagnosing MD Behavior - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Marketing to Professionals: Diagnosing MD Behavior
A centralized database allows marketers to truly know doctors.


Pharmaceutical Executive


Rating physicians objectively can have a huge effect on the accuracy of a targeted marketing campaign. Medsite evaluated a group of physicians that a client had labeled "low value" because they were very low prescribers. As a result, the company did not market very heavily to those physicians. But upon evaluating their profiles, it became clear that they were actually "optimal" for prescribing the drug—they just had not been reached with the right kind of marketing. Fine-tuning the commercial strategy to better match the physicians' profiles turned these "low value" customers into high prescribers.


Rep Returns
Keep in mind that physicians can move between "high responder," "high value," and "optimal" categories depending on the brand and their unique physician profiles. Just because a certain promotional approach works well for a pain medication, that doesn't mean the same approach will work when marketing an antiviral drug, even if you're going after the same doctor. That's why it's important to remove brand silos from the pharmaceutical culture all together, and to be flexible when it comes to evaluating individuals.

Myth Busters Just as pharma companies conduct clinical trials to verify anecdotal evidence of a product's off-label benefits, a business repository can allow marketers to scientifically confirm or deny long-held beliefs about their physician customers.

For instance, it is a commonly held perception that the younger the doctor, the more likely he or she is to engage in online activities. Yet data mining has shown that this is not necessarily true. Although younger physicians are generally more likely than middle-aged physicians to use interactive technology, a cluster of doctors in the 50 to 60 age range are also very involved online. If a company knows who those doctors are, it could become the first to look beyond the stats and to market to those older doctors through online channels.

Another commonly held belief is that marketing to healthcare professionals during the holidays is a waste of time and money. But Medsite's research indicates just the opposite: Some doctors are very receptive to marketing messages during this time of year, because that's when the office quiets down and they have the most time to spend with reps.

A business repository can also help identify unique physician characteristics. Even something as basic as a physician's gender can make a difference in how targets should be marketed to. For instance, while working on data warehousing physician information, Medsite discovered that men are more likely to respond to interactive e-detailing than women. However, once women do respond, they are more likely to complete an interactive program. A brand team that knows that male physicians spend less time with interactive programs could design shorter programs to hold their interest. And this information can be leveraged across channels. For instance, sales reps can deliver more content to women during in-office details, and deliver messages quickly to males at the beginning of the visit.


Learn the Lingo
Today, it is common to test messages according to the law of averages—by identifying one or two that test best with the greatest number of physicians, then using those messages to market the brand to everyone. But such an approach ignores the other physicians for whom that message did not resonate. Profiles created with data repository information, however, enable marketers to identify the best message for each profile and to target messages to individual physicians.

For instance, information culled from Medsite's database found that using a specific color for the background of a solicitation resulted in an average increase in response rate (click-through) of 25 percent—significantly higher than the response rate for the same solicitation using a different background color.


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