Hey, Brand Manager: Here’s what to consider when choosing which healthcare professionals to mail

January 29, 2016By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing, Influencing Healthcare Professionals blog series

By Jen Johnston part of the Influencing Healthcare Providers blog series

Previously, I shared the concept of detailing healthcare professionals (HCPs), commonly called “doctor detailing.” (Though the phrase can refer to the detailing of non-MD professionals, such as dentists, naturopaths, chiropractors, certified diabetes educators, and dietitians, to name a few.) You learned there were many ways to reach out to healthcare professionals with your brand message, including direct mail.

This post is designed to help you think through which professionals to send direct mail to. The two main things to consider are:

Specialty Type

We once worked with a nasal care company that offered natural products. When it came to detailing HCPs, they had many to consider.

On one hand, it made sense to target those who offer first defense treatment for cold and allergy patients, such as general practitioners, family practice, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, and pediatricians (for their children’s product). There are more of them, but the chances are smaller that any given patient will have the particular condition your products addresses. On the plus side, they are more likely to recommend an OTC before jumping to a prescription.

On another hand, it made sense to target the ear, nose, and throat doctors (ENTs) that, while there are less of them, they were more likely to see patients with the specific condition the product addresses. They are also more likely to immediately suggest a prescription, bypassing OTC altogether which can be problematic.

However, there was a third audience to consider, which was natural-minded HCPs, such as naturopaths, chiropractors, and acupuncturists, who also make product recommendations, and in many cases sell the products right out of their clinics. Get their buy in and you have a captive consumer audience who will purchase your product at the point of recommendation.

I hope your brand has a straightforward and obvious audience, but if your brand is like the one above, and many types of HCPs could recommend your product, you have some tough decisions to make since I assume your budget will not allow for detailing them all.

Regional vs. National Campaign

This decision will be influenced by multiple factors:national doctor direct mailing

  • If your brand is new to the market, is your product rolling out nationally or regionally?
  • Where is your consumer promotional push taking place?
  • Do you need to demonstrate commitment to a regional chain by driving traffic to their stores via professional detailing?
  • How many HCPs exist within the specialty you chose to target regionally and nationally?
  • Will your budget allow for a national campaign if you narrow down the specialty?

We recently worked with a manufacturer that had an appetite for a national doctor direct mailing that consisted of over 30,000 physicians. We advised this particular client to start smaller and test the program regionally, and then tweak as needed based on the feedback from the physicians.

Detailing doctors is not inexpensive, so it is important to get the audience and messaging right. In my next post I will present some key elements to keep in mind when crafting your message for HCPs.

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