Attracting a physician to our messaging is one thing. Actually engaging that physician in the content to drive a response is yet another. We are all aware of the complaints—not enough time, messaging is too self-serving. The list goes on. So, how do we address this? A resounding message from Dr. Jordan Safirstein who served on an industry panel at the recent ePharma conference in New York was, “Pharma has to find a way to insert its way into doctors’ lives.”

Inserting ourselves into doctors’ lives can be done in many ways, but we need to reach beyond the normal. This means more than harnessing “big data” into meaningful customer snippets. If we have learned one thing over the past decade, we have discovered that we cannot depend solely on medical content to understand our customers. We need to acquire a deeper understanding of a physician’s analytical profile. How does he or she think, learn and engage with all aspects of life. In understanding these factors, we will be in a far better position to deliver meaningful content that compels the physician to action.

So what do we know about the physician population we serve? With two out of five physicians suffering from burnout as reported in a Medscape study published in March 2013, we have a significant hurdle to overcome. A recent survey we conducted of our agency’s physician panel told us that 87% of them participate in online communities. Obviously they are looking for a connection—a way to share their burdens, learn, escape. Yet only 27% of them are very satisfied with their online community engagements. The same Medscape survey indicated that regardless of burnout factors, key favorite pastimes are spending time with family, exercise, travel, reading and cultural events. In other words, physicians are like you and me. They enjoy being entertained.

So what if we draw upon entertaining medical content to engage our audience? Would this resonate? To test this theory we have established such a blog site for our physician panel. Known as TheMedicalBag.com, this site offers a number of “tongue in cheek” series on compelling topics in medicine as well as some general interest items. Physicians are taking the time to post after articles and participate in online surveys. It’s entertaining content that engages. Our immediate goal is to keep our physician panel happy and involved so we can best serve our customers with digital outreach. But in the course of entertaining our physicians, we are also gathering important information on what gets their interest and then moves them to act. Leveraging this information for future outreach is the next logical step.

Of course, entertainment only remains so when the content is fresh and appropriate to cultural trends. In our rapidly changing environment, this means keeping your ear to the beat of the social pipeline and your hands ever ready on the proverbial keyboard.

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