Hey, Brand Manager: Should you sample doctors?

February 4, 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 previous posts, I’ve talked about why it’s important to reach out to healthcare professionals (HCPs) and how to do so, choosing a group of HCPs to mail, and what to say to them. But I haven’t really covered sampling. In my opinion, sending product samples to engaged HCPs should be a long-term part of your pull-through strategy. Doctors frequently pass along samples to patients, along with coupons which encourages retail purchases.

One way to build up a database of doctors and other professionals willing to accept and distribute patient samples and coupons is to send an initial mailing with samples, information about your products, and the ability to sign up for more samples, or auto-ship.Doctors frequently pass along samples to patients

Sending information about your product to doctors and asking them to recommend it without sending a sample along for them to touch, taste, smell, or experience may demonstrate a lack of commitment.

The number of samples you send in the initial outreach is dependent on your product type. If your product lends itself to taste or touch, such as a cough drop or a lotion, and the goal is to get the doctor themselves to try your product, one may be enough.

If your product addresses a specific issue that the doctor is unlikely to personally have but sees patients regarding, then you may want to send out a handful for the doctor to share with patients so he or she can hear the positive feedback.

Of course the number of samples is also dependent on your budget. One is always better than none for reasons previously mentioned!

It’s really not a secret that HCPs can be tremendous patient influencers. And if you haven’t reached them effectively or provided samples, your competitor probably has or will soon. So get out there, make your brand known to HCPs, and drive those recommendations that will contribute greatly to your pull-through strategy!

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