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How to meet doctors' demands for self-service information?

Put digital at the heart of your sales and marketing strategy

Online Physician CommunitiesEvidence shows that rather than relying on a limited number of channels, doctors prefer a smorgasbord of self-service medical information that they can access as and when it suits them - and the internet is central to this way of working.

For example, statistics from Manhattan Research's Taking the Pulse Research Europe 2012 show that 89 per cent of doctors use online doctor networks for professional information, while 53 per cent use message boards, communities, social networks and blogs at least monthly.

The internet is now the preferred channel for product education for 40 per cent of doctors, followed by colleagues (20 per cent) and sales reps (10 per cent); while digital channels are considered more influential for prescribing decisions than sales reps.

In the face of so much competition for doctors' time and attention, the pharma industry needs to ensure that it puts digital at the heart of its sales and marketing strategy, and adopts a customer-centric, multichannel approach to delivering its sales and marketing messages.

Creating educational resources that are built on a clear understanding of doctors' knowledge and understanding around key disease and therapy areas, and delivering them through independent channels that they use and trust can help pharma to overcome some of the credibility issues that deter many doctors from accessing their information and advice.

Such content, which can be interspersed with promotional resources, could include sponsored research papers, case studies and arm's length education, provided of course that they meet the ABPI Code.

In addition to providing doctors with valuable resources that they can use in their day-to-day clinical practice, educational materials can bring added value to a pharma company if they are integrated with other sales-force activity. For example, they can be used to inform the message delivery of sales reps and help them to refine their approach, as well as build credibility for their company or product - thus improving the quality of face to face interactions. Alternatively, they can be used as a substitute for face-to-face pharma sales rep activity for lower frequency prescribers alongside services calls and telereach.

Article by
Dr Tim Ringrose

CEO of M3 Europe
For more information on M3, the global provider of technology services in healthcare, and its new European Division which includes www.doctors. net.uk, www.mdlinx.com, and www.networksinhealth .com, please call Tim Ringrose on +44 (0)1235 828400, or email Tim. ringrose@eu.m3.com

3rd June 2014

From: Marketing

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