Marketing to physicians continues to be one of the largest and most profitable areas in the health care industry. According to one study, sales of pharmaceutical products to physicians reached nearly $40 billion dollars in 2021. The good news is; while marketing to physicians can be challenging, knowledgeable marketers can perform quite well, even when they do not have a hefty PHRA-size budget. The pharmaceutical industry is an enormous $450 billion a year industry, which spends approximately $27 billion a year marketing to physicians. The top five marketing categories are:
Direct marketing through physician networks. Physician organizations, such as hospitals, clinics, and primary care physicians to distribute business cards or brochures containing information about the company and doctor, and contact information. Some also offer discounts on services and provide easy-to-use forms to facilitate contact. Another advantage is that these promotional materials contain the contact information of the main pharmaceutical companies. However, because these professionals often act as “go-between” for the physicians, they can sometimes be biased and take advantage of their position as a liaison. Additionally, the primary goal of these marketing programs is to get physicians to refer business to the advertised company.
Direct marketing via hospitals and medical group associations. Pharmaceutical companies sometimes have difficulty finding direct sales reps in hospitals and other health care groups, which makes direct marketing a challenge for them. For these reasons, some pharmaceutical reps choose to go through an independent professional association, such as the American Association of Medical Reimbursement Representatives (AMA rhre reimbursements). These marketing strategies often have tough competition, which makes it difficult to generate large numbers of sales.
Direct marketing via insurance agents and direct sales companies. While physicians frequently visit doctors and get medical advice, insurance agents and direct sales companies typically visit patients to market pharmaceutical products. For this reason, many insurance agents have direct contact with doctors and rely on doctors’ referrals to promote their pharmaceuticals. However, many health insurance agents work on a commission basis, which gives them incentives to push the sale of a particular drug through their networks. These companies sometimes have difficulty resisting pressure from pharmaceutical reps and will often try to give doctors incentives for promoting their products.
Marketing to physicians via hospitals and independent representatives. For some doctors, marketing through hospitals and independent representatives poses the biggest challenge. Because these individuals work within the walls of a hospital, it is difficult to gain the trust of doctors and make sure that their interests are being met. Because physicians interact with them on a regular basis, there is potential for a conflict of interest. Hospital reps are often tempted to give doctor recommendations for visiting patients and making sales. Independent representatives, who do not work with a hospital or insurance provider, are generally not granted the same level of access.
Marketing to physicians by creating billboards and radio and television ads. While doctors appreciate the professional appearance of marketing, it can take up a lot of time and cost money to create professional-looking marketing campaigns that will appeal to physicians. Additionally, these marketing efforts may distract doctors from attending to patients, taking care of other billing needs, or simply wasting time.
Marketing to physicians via the Internet. Another ineffective way of marketing to doctors is through the use of the Internet. Many doctors are comfortable with using the Internet as a way of communicating with patients and doctors, but many marketers don’t have an interest in creating an online presence. Instead, many marketers choose to go straight to the phone book or use search engine marketing techniques to seek out physicians and their patients. While the Internet can be a good resource for doctors looking for patients, most doctors have little interest in wasting time searching for business.
Marketing to physicians should focus on providing information about the service that the doctor provides, rather than trying to sell him or her products. Physician marketing can help doctors get the word out about services that physicians find beneficial, such as bundled tours, discounted pricing, and discounts on office supplies. Marketing to physicians can be a difficult challenge, especially since most doctors don’t like to be sold to, but it is possible to find successful practitioners of medicine who will be willing to work with a marketing specialist to provide the service that you need.