Marketing to Doctors – The Future of Medical Education?
Marketing to physicians is one of the most difficult areas in all of healthcare. Physician advertising has always been expensive, as it is a specialized field. The good news is, despite the expense, a savvy online marketing campaign can do quite well, even when they don’t have a hefty PHRO-sized budget to work with. The pharmaceutical industry is a massive, $350 billion industry that spends approximately $27 billion dollars a year marketing to physicians. By all estimates, this amounts to a huge market potential.
This massive market potential makes it possible for doctors to market their services to millions of people without breaking the bank. Many times, there are websites that will allow you to run a free article or advertisement and you will not pay anything for it. In most cases, these articles are written by pharmaceutical companies looking to reach out to physicians for their advice. They have a wide range of topics that they write about, from the latest prescription medications and how to treat them to natural remedies for everyday ailments. There is even a section on holistic medicine that is written about on most websites.
In addition to the websites, there are also other outlets such as radio shows and telephone hot lines where pharmaceutical reps can make sales to physicians. In some cases, these representatives call doctors on the phone to discuss marketing options, or to find out about specific drugs that a doctor might prescribe. The goal for these areas is to increase the amount of money that they make from a medical practice.
So, what is the downside to marketing to doctors? The main drawback is that doctors are typically in their target age group for the pharmaceutical industry. Most doctors have not completed medical school, and they may not have much experience marketing on the healthcare platform. As a result, their responses can be less than qualified.
Another problem with content marketing for physicians is waste time. Each time a physician enters a database to search for information, he or she will usually click on one of the sponsored links that accompany each article. These links can lead them to blogs and websites that focus on a particular drug or topic. Once there, these individuals read what the writer has to say about the drugs that the site represents, and then they click on the link to go to the company’s website. This wastes time, because the physician has to move through many different websites to get the information that they are seeking. As a result, there is a loss of revenue for the pharmaceutical company.
The final issue is that many doctors are not very tech savvy when it comes to web design. This can lead to poorly constructed landing pages that simply confuse patients. Many of the articles that are written are poorly written and do not offer any useful information about the product or service. This leads to many doctors rejecting these marketing campaigns from pharmaceutical companies.
There is hope for all of the healthcare professionals who are being bombarded with marketing to doctors from pharmaceutical companies. Recently, legislation was introduced in the United States that will require these companies to provide proper disclosure about the amount of money that they are spending on marketing to physicians. Although this won’t directly affect the amount of money that pharmaceutical marketers are willing to spend on physician advertising, it will force them to become more accountable for how they are reaching out to healthcare professionals. For now, however, healthcare professionals can expect their medical colleagues to continue to ignore the advertisements that these marketers send to them.
Overall, doctors have an important role in educating the next generation of Americans about their healthcare and treatment options. However, in the past few decades, many marketing strategies have come into play that have resulted in wasted resources and a loss of patient trust. By educating their own patients and providing useful information through traditional media, doctors can regain a higher percent of the market. In doing so, they can ensure that they are always the first source of medical education for their patients.