Ready, Aim, Sell

May 01, 2008

Anthony Bianciella
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. Today's multimedia world offers so many choices for reaching healthcare professionals, what are brand managers to do? Ideally, pharma companies can appeal to physicians with a combination of quality, in-person sales calls and targeted marketing outreach. Technology can also be a great asset, but only if it's leveraged with focus and care.

Put Down the Shotgun

We're all probably guilty of using the shotgun approach to reaching customers—that is, shooting in all directions in the belief that eventually we'll hit a valuable target. It's not just that this technique is unsophisticated; it's inefficient and prevents the marketer from really homing in on what individual doctors want and need. Doctors and pharmaceutical companies may not all be ready for Web 2.0, but we can do better than the shotgun approach.

There are many attractive, flashy new e-marketing tools and techniques available. But if you're not focused on the right customer base, it doesn't matter. It's essential to send the right message to the right doctor in the manner that he or she prefers. Otherwise, you're wasting the most valuable resource any doctor has: time.

Know Your Audience

These days, physicians have higher patient loads and more administrative tasks. Despite sales force cutbacks, physicians still deal with plenty of sales reps and read plenty of marketing materials on a weekly basis. It's critical we recognize the enormous importance and immeasurable value of making communication with healthcare providers worth their while. This is the only way to build the essential trust that drives our message. Any successful dialogue has to begin and end with knowing the customer and what he or she wants and expects.

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