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Marketing a product to physicians? Think education and email

2:18 pm by | 8 Comments

Doctor using laptopHere’s some advice for companies trying to get new medical products in front of the eyes of physicians: Aim to educate them rather than try to sell them, and do it via email or direct mail.

The face of medical sales is changing as physicians get busier, other clinicians step into some of the their roles, and the Sunshine Act becomes reality. Pharmaceutical and medical device companies, who are dealing with shrinking sales forces of their own, are moving away from traditional direct sales and trying different ways of marketing their products.

The good news is that busy doctors still want new information about drugs and medical devices as long as it’s relevant and useful. They would just rather receive it through email or direct mail, according to a survey conducted by HealthLink Dimensions.

A majority of the 124 physicians and nurse practitioners (in internal medicine, general surgery, cardiology, OBGYN and family practice) who responded to the survey said they most prefer information they can review on their own schedule. They were slightly less fond of in-person visits and generally frowned upon phone calls.


They also said the information they want most is regarding industry-sponsored accredited CMEs, patient education materials or disease state information.

That content must be flexible though, as most said they communicate with patients mostly in traditional ways rather than through email. A white paper put together by PharmaLeaders using the data suggests that the best marketing materials will be sent to a physician in a way that’s easy to translate to the patient in person or over the phone

It’s not surprising that busy physicians like materials they can review on their own schedule, but it is a little surprising that most of the respondents said they read their email primarily on a desktop; only one in four said they use a mobile device. But the white paper is quick to point out that that will likely change, so the flexibility of content is especially important to keep in mind.

Here are some of the findings spelled out in an infographic.

[Graphic credit: HealthLink Dimensions. Image credit: BigStock Photos]

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Deanna Pogorelc

By Deanna Pogorelc MedCity News

Deanna Pogorelc is a Cleveland-based reporter who writes obsessively about life science startups across the country, looking to technology transfer offices, startup incubators and investment funds to see what’s next in healthcare. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and previously covered business and education for a northeast Indiana newspaper.
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I wish I had found this article sooner, but I am so grateful that I did find it because I had been trying to sell instead of educate doctors about our product. Man, this article just made sense! No more selling for me, education! Education! Education! www.medicalpowerstrips.com


Hello Ms Pogorelec,

Great article!!! I am creating a company in the health care field in relations to technology. In case that you may want to hear about it here is my email borgesjca@gmail.com or my number is 615-579-5161.

 I think you will find it very interesting, new and useful for docotrs.



This information parallels what we learned in a survey of our professional association members.  We limit our email updates to no more than 2 a week and the providers created their own portal WCNClinicLibrary where they can pre-screen postings and discussion topics.  Companies who want to push their information out to the 1000+ WCN Clinicians can apply to be a discussion sponsor and post their  white paper and other resource materials.  Unfortunately, time for interesting in-person discussions has been replaced with time spent entering data into the EHR and squeezing in more patients per day.  Charla Parker, CEO, www.westerncliniciansnetwork.net


The question is also what's the most effective way to present information - I still think face-to-face increases the likelihood of message retention vs. electronic means.


@parkercharla Thanks for sharing, Charla. I'd be interested in hearing more about WCN -- can we connect on LinkedIn or by email?


@MichaelSinsheimer Excellent point, Michael.  I do not think it is surprising that clinicians want information on their own terms to review on their own time.  The better question for companies is:  which mechanism leads to the best response, retention and conversion/usage? 


@dpogorelc @parkercharla 

Feel free to email me at [email protected] or call 530 383-5030.