Sunday, March 09, 2008

A better way of marketing to doctors

Doctors are very important customers for pharmaceutical companies and most of them spend a huge part of the their marketing budget in wooing doctors, to encourage them to prescribe their brands. However, most of them still do a terrible job, because they fritter away huge amounts in giving them trashy gifts ( which many doctors promptly throw away).

Marketing 101 teaches us that the best way to market to a doctor is to establish a relationship with the doctor , which is why companies spend millions on an army of medical representatives ( MRs), whose primary job is to keep doctors happy. However, this is an expensive and inefficient way of doing this - and in an over-crowded field, how can one MR stand out from the hundreds of other MRs who woo the doctor daily ?

Also, it's a fact that times are changing. Many doctors refuse to see MRs because they just waste their time. Also, laws are being passed which prohibit doctors from accepting gifts from pharmaceutical companies . Unfortunately, most companies continue doing what they have been doing for the last decade - and they continue getting the same dismal results.

Here's a much better way. The secret to establishing a successful relationship with a doctor is to give him what he wants. So what do doctors want ? Many things, such as prestige, money and power - but most new doctors want to have lots of patients so see, because once they are busy , most of the rest of what they want will follow in due course.

So pharmaceutical companies should start thinking along the lines of - What can I offer to doctors which will help them to attract more patients ?

Here's a simple, inexpensive suggestion which will and create a win-win partnership. Pharmaceutical companies can offer to print customised patient educational materials such as brochures, booklets and videos for doctors. Most doctors understand the need for educating their patients, but are too busy to actually print their own materials. Many of them don't even know how to go about designing these materials, as a result of which they keep on losing patients to corporate hospitals.

It's easy for a pharmaceutical company to do this in bulk. Each brochure would have input from the doctor; and the text and graphics would be customised to the doctor's practise. These materials would have the doctor's logo on them . They would focus on the top ten problems the doctor sees; and would be printed in local languages also.

Any company which does this for doctors will have lots of grateful doctors - for a very small investment of time , money and energy !

It's important that the brand of the company should not appear on these materials. The aim should not be to market to the patient , but to help the doctor build his practise !

This will help doctors; help patients - and by helping them, help the pharmaceutical company build its brand and market share as well !

1 comment:

  1. shalini9:42 PM

    My LInkedin weblink is :

    Do participate in the discussion on doctor - patient relationship


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