Marketing to Doctors versus Marketing to Patients: Differences & Similarities
Pharma marketers have two audiences – patients and doctors. And in terms of marketing strategy, it’s important to identify the most suitable audience and know the difference between them.
Consumers tend to contact their doctor for medical solutions and they certainly buy pharma device or prescription with the recommendation of a doctor. As a result, marketing to doctors is often more beneficial for pharma companies and different strategies are needed to address both doctors and patients.
Let’s take a quick look at the difference between these two audiences and what pharma marketers might want to consider during the process.
- Marketing to Doctors
Marketing to doctors is all about identifying the needs of these professionals and providing well-researched solutions in a creative way through tactical media placement. It is not cheap as competition and investment is high in this $450 billion industry, but doctors hold the key to consumer sales, and establishing a relationship with these professionals is a good way to communicate with a much wider audience.
Here are some of the most important factors or considerations for marketing to doctors:
- Specific – Content marketing to doctors must be extremely specific to achieve results.
- Placement – Tactical placement is incredibly important to reach individuals who might be desensitized to traditional marketing strategies.
- Researched – Content Marketing must also be professionally researched and articulated in an appropriate manner.
Unfortunately for many companies, most methods look the same when it comes to marketing to doctors and it must be known that there is often a reason for taking a conservative approach. However, creativity is essential to stand out, as doctors are highly educated and most often desensitized to “savvy” marketing.
- Marketing to Patients
Marketing to patients is all about identifying individual needs and creating a patient experience that will provide efficient and specific value to address these same needs.
Creating this patient experience is often an online process and one that relies heavily on strong search engine optimization and user experience. After all, patients are online nowadays and the statistics back this up.
Most patients will now use search engines to find information or solutions relating to drugs, treatment, disease, or other pharma issues. If companies can provide clear and efficient solutions to these search queries, this will inevitably impact sales and revenue.
Apparently, marketing has changed a great deal in recent years with most pharma companies starting to recognize the need for alternative strategies as we live at a time in which people turn to their mobile devices for advice and price comparisons.
Surveys show that one in twenty searches on Google are also health related and it’s not just consumers that use these engines but also the doctors who prescribe them.
For example, most patients who suffer from depression will use a search engine to find medication for this condition. Statistics show that more than 2.5 million depression-related search queries are made every month and many of these keywords are yet to be targeted by pharma companies.
If a pharma company creates a drug or treatment for depression, they can directly target the end-user through search engine optimization and content marketing.
At the end of the day, patients and doctors are all consumers of information and pharma marketers must use known marketing strategies to build awareness and attract and convert these consumers.
Marketing to patients and doctors require distinct strategies but pharma marketing in general involves the same principles that you find in any other industry.
In many ways, implementing these strategies can take time due to lack of understanding and for the fact that many CEOs are still consumed by the ‘old way of thinking’.
Either way, most companies are investing more in marketing than research and development for good reason but with most companies still implementing the same strategies, taking an alternative approach to marketing is most certainly the key to successful marketing in the pharma industry.