How to Market to Physicians and Physicians: Step 1.

Marketing to physicians, physicians, surgeons and other healthcare professionals can be very challenging, complicated and expensive. In addition, most physicians work in a hospital or multi-site medical practice, making it even more difficult to identify key decision-makers.

Not only are doctors and decision-makers hard to reach — and even harder to convince — you’re dealing with a ton of competition.

The B2B marketing strategy you use should stand out.

The good news is that you can find success through many of the best practices marketers have proven over the years.

Today’s traditional and digital marketing technologies offer unprecedented opportunities to reach physicians and other healthcare professionals cost-effectively and at scale.

It’s a fact that people in every industry want to advertise doctors.

In general, physicians control large sums of money, both professionally and personally, making them a highly sought-after target audience for pharmaceutical companies, device and supply companies, SaaS, and even non-healthcare companies such as real estate agents and investment advisors.

Now that you know a little about why marketing to physicians is challenging — and that seemingly everyone wants their attention — let’s take a look at marketing to physicians, including five ways you can implement your marketing strategies and get noticed.

How to Market to Physicians and Physicians in Five Steps

Because marketing to physicians is such an extensive topic, we’ve developed a 5-part blog series to help people in virtually every industry successfully market to physicians and other healthcare professionals. This is the first blog in the series.

  • Step 1: Define your doctor target group
  • Step 2: Create digital marketing campaigns
  • Step 3: Develop and promote content sold to doctors
  • Step 4: Implement Marketing Strategies to Build Doctor Referrals or Direct Sales
  • Step 5: Track, measure and optimize

Step 1: How to Define Your Physician Audience?

There are over one million active physicians in the United States. It would be impossible – and reckless – to market all your products and services in the same way.

Reducing this huge audience to highly relevant market segments is a critical success factor. The more accurately you define your target audience, the more effectively you can sell your products and services to them.

Here are two ways to define your physician audience:

  1. Target your best prospects
  2. Improve your database to target more accurately

1. Focus on your best prospects

The best way to target your best outlook is to define the type customers you want to acquire by assessing your existing customer base. The best customers are the ones who are the most profitable, stay the longest, expand the service and recommend your products or services to others.

Here are a few basic categories you can use to start analyzing your existing customers:

  • Geography
    Depending on your product or service, geography may or may not be a factor in your marketing strategy. Here are a few examples of when it can be critical:
    • Your target doctors treat conditions that primarily occur in specific areas.
    • You are selling a product or service that is regulated by the state (or province).
    • You are selling a product or service with significant state or local competition.
  • Sex
    Understanding whether your target audience is predominantly male or female will guide your marketing message.
  • Age (stage of career)
    The places you choose to market will largely depend on the age of your target audience. Younger doctors are more likely to use online tools such as email, LinkedIn, live chat and other online platforms, while older doctors may still prefer in-person meetings or sales calls.
  • Title
    Segmenting your database by job title allows you to target both physicians and physicians in certain positions as well as those who are most likely to be key decision makers.
  • Role
    Now that you’ve defined which doctors you want to communicate with, it’s important to understand that doctors wear multiple hats. Your next decision is to determine how best to contact or rely on them:
    • doctor-as-physician
      When dealing with physicians in this capacity, focus your coverage on patient safety and well-being to appeal to the physician’s sensitivities as a physician and to build trust and credibility.
    • Doctor-as-Businessman
      Remember this role, especially when targeting private practice physicians, as most are business owners as well. First, discuss how your product or service can improve patient well-being, but also emphasize the economic benefits of your product or service.
    • doctor-as-human
      It’s easy to forget, but doctors also have a life outside of medicine, with husbands, wives, children, grandchildren, houses, mortgages, cars, etc., so keep that in mind and appeal to their lives outside of work in marketing relevant products and Services.

Once you have this information at the company level, you can determine where to focus your prospecting efforts and use this information to support your sales associate’s efforts.

2. Improve the database to target more accurately

More data is always better. Once you have a targeted list, it’s time to improve each consumer’s data to make it even stronger.

Rather than relying on assumptions and weak correlations, statistically significant data results in more granular targeting and better results (e.g., click-throughs, conversions, etc.).

Take your targeting game to the next level by expanding the depth and breadth of the data you collect. For example, licensing lists from reputable providers and vendors are extremely important to the success of B2B marketing.

Search, track, and merge the following data into your consumer relationship management (CRM) platform or database to improve your targeting capabilities:

  • Purchase Lifecycle—Segregate your audience based on where they are in the buying journey.
  • Sales field representatives—Include any data or insights they have provided that can improve your database.
  • buyer people—Is there information your marketing team could translate into models to create personas for your intended prospects?
  • Claim Details—Identify and segment your audience based on which diseases, illnesses, etc. doctors treat most often.
  • Referral Patterns—Identify and segment your audience based on where physicians often refer their patients.
  • Prescription Details—Identify and segment your target audience based on the drugs that doctors prescribe most often.
  • Merge data from multiple sources—Identify and segment data from validated third-party sources (e.g., email lists, subscription services) to uncover critical contact information. The email address they use most often may not be their public address.
  • User Provided Data and Online Behavior—Analyze and segment your audience based on where your audience is going online.

When you have a clearly defined audience backed by timely, relevant data, you can more effectively deploy sophisticated digital marketing campaigns to bring physicians to market.

Step 2 is next in this blog series where you will learn how to create winning digital marketing campaigns using advanced marketing automation techniques to further support your sales efforts.