As a doctor in primary care private practice, I frequently get called upon by marketers (of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, etc.). Commonly, they just drop in and ask for five minutes of my time, not knowing they are the fifth one of the day to do so. When I am unable to speak with them because I’m too busy with patients (yes, the patients will always come first), they often leave behind print materials that either get buried in the deluge of similar promotional materials on my desk or head straight into the trash can. Marketers of the future need to make their efforts count.

So What Do Doctors Want?

Stop the cold calls. It’s disruptive and often leaves me more annoyed rather than interested in any product.

Embrace technology. Everyone is now on social media, Skype, WhatsApp, and on and on. Market to us where we have some free time. I’m much more likely to pay attention to a medical service or product if a marketer tags me in a tweet rather than leaving behind unwanted paper ads.

Do away with the drug lunches where one rep sits with one or two doctors. Do live virtual events where we can learn about new products as well as interact with other doctors from other practices at the same time. If a doctor tells me they have used a medication with great success, I’m more likely to prescribe it than just listening to a pharmaceutical rep’s marketing pitch.

Keynote speakers are good, but we would be able to attend so many more of them if they were online rather than actually making us go to a physical location in our very limited free time. Everyone does webcasts these days.

Marketers should also update their sites with actual medical information rather than just a pitch for their products. If I’m looking for information on diabetes, for example, and I find relevant content, I’m likely to pay more attention to any product listed. If it is just a website devoted only to a product, I’m likely to just click away to another site.

Doctors needs marketers to get the latest information on many products. But, marketers of the future need to deliver it in a way that is mutually beneficial to all parties.

  • Linda Girgis, MD, FAAFP

    Linda Girgis, MD, FAAFP, is Owner of Girgis Family Medicine LLC. Currently affiliated with St. Peter’s University Hospital and Raritan Bay Hospital, Linda also writes for Sermo, Physician’s Weekly, the Library of Medicine, and others.

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