Hey, Brand Manager: Here’s 9 ways to influence healthcare professionals, part 2

January 26, 2016By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing, Influencing Healthcare Professionals blog series

By Jen Johnston part of the Influencing Healthcare Providers blog series

In my last post, I shared the first four of nine ways to reach healthcare professionals (HCPs). The remaining five are presented below.

Direct Mail Campaign (with or without sampling): Another approach is to detail doctors and other professionals through direct mail. The important key here is to pick the proper specialty and market. For example, if your product was recently picked up by a regional wholesaler, you would be wise to take a multi-faceted approach of reaching out to independent pharmacies in the area serviced by the wholesaler to educate and encourage order, send an outreach to doctors in the area to inspire product recommendation, and blanket the region with a consumer advertising campaign. HRG offers opportunities to craft effective direct mail campaigns to both HCPs and pharmacists.direct mail

Opt-in Sampling: You can reach out yourself to get physicians to opt-in to receiving your samples, or you can work with a company that does the legwork for you. Some companies have a vast network of professionals who are at the ready to receive samples to share with patients. An example of such a company is Brand Perx. They offer doctors what they call Scriptbags which may be branded with your OTC product and inside feature new offers, samples, and information which are aimed to directly benefit patients. Having a captive audience to receive your samples and one revved up to share them with patients will come at a cost, but it is one option to consider.

Appearing at Trade Shows or Conferences: For a relatively low cost, your brand can have a booth at a trade event that appeals to a certain specialty. The event organizers will be happy to let you know other opportunities their particular event offers for OTC brands, such as sponsoring a continuing education session or advertising in the show guide.

Social Media: Facebook and Twitter may be the most well-known social media communities, and doctors are certainly on there, however many HCPs turn to MD-only communities (or communities around other specialties). The benefit to advertising and engaging on these sites is of course a captive audience. Sermo is just one of the many MD-only online communities that offers advertising and engagement opportunities to OTC brands.

Continuing Education (CE): Opportunities abound for brands to get involved with the continuing education healthcare professionals are obliged to complete. Some publications, such as Today’s Dietitian, offer brands opportunities to sponsor webinars for registered dietitians. Other specialties receive CE opportunities through other means. While the content of a CE will likely not be about your brand specifically, you will get accolades for sponsoring the CE, keeping your name in front of the audience.

Which blend of the above you choose for your brand will depend on your type of product, the specific types of professionals you are trying to reach, a regional vs. national initiative, and your budget. Future posts will focus on direct mailing to doctors. Topics will include how to choose which specialties to outreach to, how to speak to the audience, and more.

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