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Mobile Strategies for Marketing to Doctors

Medical professionals are busier than ever. With 47% of doctors owning their own business, it’s common to trade time with patients over managing their medical practices. Many experience a grueling workday that can involve managing employees, digesting an abundance of new medical research, updating medical records, considering insurance and billing options, and – according to a 2018 survey by Statista – spending between 13 and 24 minutes with each patient. A 2017 study by the American Medical Association indicated doctors can spend an average of 27% of their time in patient care. And then there’s the epidemic of physician burnout.

As a result, busy doctors move faster and multi-task more than ever before. They spend less time sitting behind the administrative desk and more time on their feet. They’ve become more reliant on smartphones as a lifeline to drug information and clinical research on-the-go. Typical digital marketing strategies may be lost on most doctors. They’re smart. Their time is in high demand. And they’re hyper-aware of thinly veiled marketing tactics designed to distract. When digital strategies promote new drugs or treatment alternatives backed by clinical research, doctor’s pay attention. This is especially true when the campaigns are integrated into their busy workday via their trusted companion – their iPhone. Below are some effective methods to rise above the noise and get the attention of medical professionals through mobile advertising:

Target medical offices through geo-fencing

Doctors, Physician’s Assistant’s, and Nurse Practitioners may use their iPhone to research a drugs side effects, conflicts, or recommended dosage during the moment of care. For pharmaceutical brands marketing new drug treatments and promoting disease awareness, location-based geo-fencing campaigns can geographically target the office or hospital where doctors work – including medical conferences where doctors may congregate with a common purpose, such as a conference on the latest Alzheimer’s treatments. Marketing content for a new drug or disease awareness study can be targeted to appear on smartphones within the location perimeter when prompted by the doctor’s use of search terms or by visiting selected websites.

Clinical research apps are replacing books

New time-saving clinical mobile apps are replacing the old desk reference manuals commonly found in a doctor’s administrative office. Apps such as Epocrates enable doctors to research drug interactions, disease references, and treatment information while on-the-go. MDCalc provides doctor (user) generated and board reviewed “calculators” used as a checklist for patient symptom diagnosis, surgical prep, and conditional scoring. Each app supports lean display ads that are ideal for physician-focused campaigns.

Doctors are collaborating, socially

Doctors are people too, and they love using social platforms for pleasure and purpose. They may follow medical influencers on Twitter or Facebook. For private exchanges governed by HIPAA, Doctors have historically participated in doctors-only support and collaboration groups designed to share personal experiences. Through social apps such as Doximity – which reaches more than 85% of all U.S. doctors, these conversations have moved online – think LinkedIn for doctors. The Doximity app allows a closed network of doctors to connect and share ideas through HIPAA-compliant messages, access clinical research, share electronic medical documents and patient charts, and even look for their next career move. Doximity supports sponsored ads with robust segmenting controls that can target audiences geographically, socioeconomically, and through a doctor’s clinical interests, trial work, and coauthored article subject matter.

Ultimately, doctors sit as the gatekeepers to billions of dollars spent on drugs and treatment options that are heavily regulated by the FDA and Legal-Medical Review process. Reaching doctors requires a sophisticated touch from well-researched campaigns that earn their respect while operating empathetically to their busy lives.