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KOL engagement: Blending accessibility with reliability

KOLs and healthcare professionals these days are much more likely to be digital natives, so KOL and HCP engagement should include a blend of visibility and quality content.

The term Digital Native was coined by education consultant Marc Prensky in 2001, and refers to those born or raised since the Internet began. Prensky also coined the term Digital Immigrant, which refers to those who have entered the ‘digital world’ later in life. For pharma companies, the difficulty with KOL engagement is that a large number of digital immigrants are reaching out to digital natives – but not speaking the same language. 
Today’s  KOLs and HCPs are much different from that of 20 years ago, simply because they are that much more likely to be digital natives. HCPs are far more likely to access information, as well as communicate with colleagues online, in addition to face-to-face situations. But on top of this, HCPs have far less free time than in the past – particularly in the UK. So simply ‘reaching out online’ is not enough; KOL engagement will only be successful if pharma knows how to grab and keep attention amid the glut of information. This, however, does not call for eye-catching headlines alone! 

Building trust

In order to find a position in the mind of KOLs and HCPs, it’s not enough to ‘be noticed’ by appearing regularly on all the relevant platforms such as social media, forums and so-on. You have to supply relevant, helpful content which will enrich their lives and careers. If you think of your brand merely as ‘a seller of products’, you’ll be just one of countless others they can find very easily. But if you facilitate needs by providing information and support – free of charge – you’ll be viewed as a guiding light first, merchant second. The average HCP is a person who cares for the wellbeing of patients and the health of the wider world, so would much rather do business with like-minded people. 

The ‘science’

In order to understand what is meant by ‘valuable content’, it’s important to outline what types of content are most accessed by healthcare professionals. They include, but are not limited to:
  • Medical news
  • Textbooks
  • Virtual conferences/webinars
  • Factsheets
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6th October 2016



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