Resolution: Commit to educating healthcare providers about your brand

October 16, 2019By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing, Resolutions

By Jen Johnston, CHHC, senior marketing communications account manager, for the Resolutions blog series

Convincing consumers to buy your health, beauty, or wellness product is your company’s ultimate goal.

Effectively marketing your product to shoppers is just the beginning, however. Advertisements, coupons, and social media can certainly do a lot for a brand’s exposure, and may convince a consumer to make a purchase.

But did you know a large segment of people still rely on their doctors for health and wellness product recommendations?

Healthcare professionals can have great influence with their patients when it comes to OTC brands.

Doctors trust OTCs

The good news is that as a whole, doctors trust OTC products. Data from CHPA shows:

  • 92% of physicians believe OTC medicines are effective, and 91% believe these medicines are safedoctor reading materials
  • 87% of physicians believe OTC medicines are an important part of overall healthcare

According to CHPA, the most important trust criteria for physicians are:

  • An OTC they know will achieve successful patient outcomes
  • An OTC medicine they know will work consistently
  • An OTC medicine they know will be as effective as a prescription

It’s great that they believe OTCs are working for their patients; almost 98% of primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists recommend over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to their patients.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 79% of primary care physicians actually recommend specific OTC medications by name.

Are they recommending your OTC brand by name?

Consumers trust doctors

When patients receive a specific brand recommendation from their doctor, they trust it.

According to BulletinHealthcare, “customers return to a brand more quickly — and with greater frequency — when it has been endorsed by their doctor.”

Therefore, it is very important for the physician to recommend your products instead of your competitors’.

Demonstrate to doctors that they can trust your brand

Doctors tend to trust products that they know from experience or that have been out in the market for a while. So, what if you are a relatively new company vying for their attention – where should you focus your communication efforts?

  • Skip the “marketing speak” — these are medical professionals, not consumers, so they are not convinced by catchy slogans or flowery claims of well-being
  • Tout the benefits — be extremely clear on how your product will help their patients
  • Highlight the clinical data — if you have scientific data to share on the ingredients or preferably your actual product, include it in your messaging, especially links to peer-reviewed studies

Robin Russo of RLA Collective also offered these tips in this Drug Store News article, stating, “Side effects, active ingredients and cost were key reasons for OTC recommendations, as were having samples, coupons, informational material, and familiarity with and trust in the brand.”

Best practice communication tips

In an ideal world, you would be able to place a rep in every doctor’s office in order to speak with their medical personnel face-to-face and to place a sample directly in their hands. While some mega brands can afford this, most companies need a more budget-friendly option.

This is where targeted mailing campaigns come in handy. You design materials once, then choose your specialty and region. Once the mailing program shows some lift for your organization, you can roll out the mailing to more regions or more specialties.

There is good evidence that printed materials are influential to doctors. For instance, Drug Store News reported that a BrandPerx survey revealed, “…79% of pediatricians reported that having printed informational materials about an OTC brand was helpful when making a recommendation to their patients.”

Here are some best practice materials to include in your mailing to doctors:

  • Product Information Sheet — Communicates the features and benefits of your product and establishes history or credibility of your organization, if necessary
  • Clinical Detail Sheet — Describes studies that have been done on your product, the efficacy of the ingredients, etc.
  • Patient Referral Pad or Patient Brochures with Coupon — Helps drive customers to the shelf
  • Sample(s) — Used by the doctor firsthand or shared with patients

Not every company has the bandwidth to put together mailing campaigns for doctors and other healthcare professionals. HRG has designed and executed hundreds of B2B mailing campaigns to pharmacists and physicians, so contact us if you need an end-to-end solution to reach healthcare professionals. We are always just an email or a phone call away — 800-888-0889.