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KOL Influence: Giving Brands a Trusted Voice


Brand Insights - Thought Leadership | Paid Program

Third-party, non-personal promotion is bringing comprehensive pharmaceutical marketing strategies to life among key targets and their colleagues. In today’s industry, where 70% of HCPs believe it’s critical for pharmaceutical companies to provide science-based education resources, leveraging the KOL voice offers brands this coveted channel of communication.

KOLs rank so high in credibility because they often specialize in a particular field, and provide unparalleled insights, advice, and guidance regarding the drug development process, regulatory requirements, and patients’ needs.

When It Comes to Impact, KOLs Get the Credit

Based on a recent RxVantage survey, physicians attribute the Sales Rep channel with getting the most monthly reach to them, but KOLs get the respect when it comes to their demand for information. Sixty-seven percent of surveyed physicians said KOLs have the most influence on clinical decisions when compared to sales reps, medical science liaisons, and field reimbursement specialists.1

Further market research supports the sway KOLs hold on their fellow HCPs. Indegene’s 2021-22 report shows that HCPs prefer educational content that can improve their practice. In their most recent online national survey of 2000 HCPs, the FDA indicated that their colleagues and key experts were the most influential on their decisions about prescription drugs.2

Peer-to-peer content works because physicians trust their peers to provide non-biased, clinically relevant education. They look to these trusted colleagues for guidance—and reassurance—on how they are using the brand, as well as in which patient types they see the most success. This industry standard allows KOL content to make an impact with the highest level of trust. Furthermore, delivering this KOL insight alongside more clinical, non-promotional material helps reestablish their peers and the third-party platform as a trusted and credible source.

Stand Out From the Pack

As COVID-19 forced HCPs to become more reliant on digital tools and resources, survey data from SSCG’s MAP MD studies indicate that they “associated the influx of digital information with a feeling of being inundated.” With an increase in digital activity, KOL campaigns can help brands cut through the clutter and drive high levels of brand engagement and interaction.

But crafting KOL-based campaigns that drive adoption requires a deeper understanding of what is important to individual HCPs. Personalizing communications is critical to successful campaigns because different messages resonate with different physicians. BioPharm has found that optimizing content based on HCP affinity drives significantly higher engagement andreach.

Leveraging cover wraps and cover tips on medical journals, direct mail, video, microsites, and social ads can all deliver KOL insights that provide credibility and help drive behavioral change.

Before you finalize your strategy with overly familiar first-party emails and banner ads, consider how KOL-based scientific communications could elevate the conversation around your brand’s benefits. HCPs are primed for a third-party view on how your brand can benefit their patients—and adding a KOL endorsement will reassure them of your brand’s potential in their practice.


  1. RxVantage 4/22 - The Next Era of Practice and Life Science Engagement.
  2. FDA National Survey 2022 - What influences healthcare providers’ prescribing decisions?