Saturday, August 21, 2010

Doctor Referrals Sell

Few marketing efforts are as effective as having professionals recommend your brand to their patients.  A Medical Economics study reported that 88% of the time, consumers purchase the OTC brand recommended to them by their doctor or nurse.  Pretty convincing numbers.  So how do you get a healthcare professional to recommend your brand to their patients?  We have found that a marketer can build programs to get those important doctor recommendations. 

We have documented results from custom sampling programs developed for OTC products in the healthcare, oral care and personal care segments.  Each yielded a significant increase in brand recommendations.  One such example was for an oral care product where a targeted sampling program produced a 252% lift in incidence of recommendations!  Another health product program achieved a 75% increase in recommendation levels.  For both of these programs, the lift was measured by an independent third-party research company using pre and post studies.                

Here are a few sample tactics that proved effective:

  • To build and/or reinforce brand awareness, be sure to include sales literature to the medical professional as part of your sample kit which highlights the key patient benefits of your product.
  • Consider including a coupon or rebate on individual patient samples to encourage trial and repeat usage.
  • Have an easy way for your target professionals to request additional samples if they like them.  Having them enroll, or register, for more samples allows you to grow a proprietary database.   
  • Why not ask some additional qualifying questions when they enroll?    Using this information, you can then vary sampling and communication efforts to match key behavioral patterns. 

Coordinating a targeted professional sampling program with your overall marketing plan can be a strategically powerful and cost-effective tool to positively influence brand recommendations. 


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