HealthJuly 17, 2023

From awareness to advocacy: Crafting the perfect physician content channel strategy

Engage healthcare professionals throughout their content journey by leveraging different media tactics. Learn how each stage of the journey requires a different approach to drive conversions, loyalty, and advocacy for their products.

Healthcare professionals (HCPs) have access to a wealth of content, but they interact with each content channel differently. Marketers must understand these contexts to drive meaningful results for their brands.

Consider this: More than 67% of physicians and other HCPs find that peer-reviewed content influences their treatment decisions; less than 6% say the same thing about non-peer-reviewed news and commentary, according to a recent Wolters Kluwer survey*.

Marketers who understand these differences can adapt their messaging to practitioners’ mindsets when accessing different channels. With the right techniques, they can guide physicians through a traditional marketing funnel — from awareness to conversion, loyalty, and even advocacy for their brands.

Align sponsored content with your marketing funnel

A winning channel strategy begins with understanding the types of professional content available to physicians today. These include print and online medical journals, professional portals, newsletters, CME and non-CME events, and social media platforms, among other channels.

We should think of content as a physical journey, which includes moving from a state of unfamiliarity with your product to ultimately adopting your product. From there, you can determine which channels are appropriate at each stage of your marketing funnel. These stages include:

  • a state of unfamiliarity
  • awareness of your product
  • discovery, where HCPs begin investigating your product
  • consideration and interest, where they evaluate its merits
  • conversion, where they make a purchase
  • loyalty and advocacy, where they share their positive experience with other practitioners

This approach will align the traditional marketing funnel with physicians’ preferred content journey and may drive the best results for your brand.

Five techniques for transitioning physicians from brand awareness to advocacy

Marketers should use a variety of techniques when crafting industry-sponsored messages and advertisements for practitioners. But using these techniques in the right order and context is critical. Here are five steps for marketers as they work toward brand success:

1. Cast a wide net to boost brand awareness.

At the awareness stage, marketers should attempt to reach as many individuals in their target market as possible. They should prioritize trusted channels that medical professionals access often and in large numbers.

For example, more than 78% of nurses, physicians, and other HCPs are more likely to visit a website for medical content if it is associated with a medical or nursing society*. Websites of this kind are good channels for building brand awareness. Engagement activity within these channels may generate insights into the types of HCPs who are drawn to your brand as well.

2. Align with targeted content to drive real discovery.

At the discovery stage, marketers should prioritize exposing their product, its purpose, and its benefits more directly. Marketers can leverage more targeted channels and content to engage HCPs at this time.

This process involves crafting sponsored content that aligns with the content physicians seek out. For example, HCPs are more likely to find credibility and value in sponsored messages that have independent peer-reviewed research or clinical data citations that support or substantiate their claims. Channels that feature clinical and peer-reviewed content, such as journals and channels for clinical case studies, provide the right context for this approach.

3. Leverage high-frequency methods to drive consideration and interest.

Practitioners’ newsletters, subscription publications, and other high-frequency channels keep brands top of mind at the consideration and interest stage. These are HCPs who already understand a brand and its purpose, so their only next step is to consider it for their own practice.

In fact, many HCPs expect to see industry-sponsored messages of interest in the resources they choose themselves. More than 29% of HCPs understand sponsored messages keep the publications they value affordable to them, and over 49% acknowledge that they can provide their own value depending on the topic covered as well*.

4. Prioritize deep engagement.

At the conversion stage, marketers and sales teams have uncovered likely customers as part of their funnel marketing strategy. They should prioritize closer, high-touch interactions, such as meetings and engagement with sales representatives. As opposed to advertisements, these “intimate” channels are more likely to drive HCPs toward real transactive outcomes.

5. Make new customers a part of your brand conversation.

Marketers can leverage practitioners’ loyalty and advocacy by participating in forums, symposia, and other formal settings. Nearly half of the HCPs surveyed claim conferences and symposia are among their trusted resources for staying up to date on the latest information and research in their fields*.

Marketers may only participate through sponsorship channels. However, existing customers who attend can become brand ambassadors through their conversations with peers. Their success creates a more trusted context unachievable through industry-sponsored promotions.

Advocacy begins with the right first impression

Building meaningful relationships with HCPs is a long journey. But the right message in the right context is a powerful way to begin. It’s with this start that you can make your brand an important part of practitioners’ professional lives.

Partner with Wolters Kluwer for your channel strategy

Wolters Kluwer provides access to additional data about your target specialist’s content preferences that can help you create a successful content marketing campaign.

*Source: Wolters Kluwer Content Consumption Study, June 2023

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