We have spent many of the last columns discussing the use of multichannel marketing to give physicians the information they need where and when they want it. Serving up what the doctor ordered is not effective if it falls short of creating the response you would like. So how do we give physicians what they want and get the results you want, too?


No one will take the time to grasp the message if they don’t perceive its value. This may seem obvious, but delivering meaningful content in a way that provides value is not as easy as it may sound.

First of all, you need to make sure that your outreach is what the doctor ordered. Sophisticated systems can now record physician preferences learned in rep details, e-details, and other interactions. For instance, an e-detail might prompt a physician to request more scientific data on the efficacy of a particular brand; the field rep can gather that information to present in the next detail or video conference. Had the rep not had access to the initial e-detail, he or she might have not been prepared for the follow-up and blown the opportunity to engage the physician. By the same token, a rep can learn that a physician has an interest in a particular topic and arrange a series of e-details on the subject, information the physician can tap when convenient.

Ideally, one would maintain one database to follow communications across all platforms. For those using separate, single-channel tracking systems, however, coordinating outreach between these systems—though more difficult —is key to a valuable interchange.

Once you have established what the physician needs, you must serve it up in a manner the physician finds valuable. This means using the communication channel the physician prefers, be it field representative, e-detailing, video conferencing, teledetailing or some other interactive medium, or a combination of several communication techniques. Experience has taught us that the more interactive you can make the information exchange, the more meaningful the interchange. In fact, a study by Accenture Ltd. suggests that active learning leads to 75% retention of the information presented.


Interactive outreach requires crafting content to fit the medium. Detail aids are not e-details, and vice versa. Both can engage the physician through thoughtful, functional, user-friendly design. Indeed, the more often you can individualize the communication—the more you can emphasize content of personal interest— the more likely you are to deliver value. Certainly, the rising popularity of notebooks and iPads gives the field rep greater flexibility in providing valuable content during an in-person or video detail. Make sure you have an on-demand library of engaging, thought-provoking, and (wherever possible) interactive content. A robust physician database can drive a totally individualized e-detail presentation; it can even serve up comparative content based upon responses by other physicians. This certainly creates a meaningful session.

Timing is also critical, as field reps know all too well. There are physicians they can only see en route to their cars, or in hospital corridors between rounds or after hours. The same is true of digital media. Reaching the physician on the right day, and at the right time of day, is half the battle in getting through.

Certainly you want to avoid physician fatigue and to keep your brand fresh. This will most likely mean taking advantage of the multi-channel venues at your disposal and carefully and thoughtfully orchestrating message delivery to mesh best with the physician’s schedule and interests—interests being the operative word.

In this way you’ll be serving up what the doctor ordered and gaining a loyal customer.


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