The key to engaging healthcare professionals effectively

Hank Sczerba on how to understand healthcare professionals in order to target them more effectively

Tell me about yourself and what you do?

I am Head of Commercial Excellence and Salesforce Effectiveness for Novartis in Austria.

We’re talking about how to gain a deeper understanding of healthcare professionals (HCPs) to target them more effectively, what advice would you give?

With digital it is easy to collect information: you have data from online training or newsletter usage and there are publishing houses who sell their insights and data. All this will help you to get deep insights and do proper segmentation.

What’s the most effective way to engage HCPs?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach. My experience is for instance geographically – in the countryside people are less digitally connected, in the city they are more so.

How can you understand the behaviours, motivations and attitudes of the HCPs you want to access?

There are some consistent findings around age groups and digital usage. GPs have traditionally been early adopters of digital channels. There also appears to be less of an age group difference amongst doctors.

How can you track the effectiveness of different approaches?

Digital effectiveness data is easy to gather – however, all other data can be difficult. For example, prescribing behaviour can’t be tracked. Data can be collected at pharmacy level, but it’s not as pinpointed as to identify an individual doctor’s prescribing behaviour.

Are HCPs moving more towards digital or is there still a place for traditional channels?

Digital will be an easier route to access healthcare professionals. However, I believe that there’s still a place for traditional approaches in the marketing mix. There’s still a place for the representative, however, the top role has to change and be more interactive.

What are the benefits of doing that?

Doctors are very busy, making digital an easy route to engage. They can do it at a time that suits them; it’s more convenient. Also, digital is cheaper than traditional marketing methods. If doctors opt-in to receive digital communications, you can save on the costs of printed materials.

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to pharma professionals regarding engaging their customers?

All of this is very dependent on the right customer insights to understand the best route to engage each individual. If you start there you will get it right.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

The industry needs to look at how we use digital in daily life and apply that to practice. It’s a definite mindset change. For example, people rarely transfer money via cheque anymore, so why does the health service expect doctors to prescribe on paper? It’s time to update, revolutionise and disrupt.

 

Hank Sczerba is Head of Commercial Excellence and Salesforce Effectiveness for Novartis in Austria.

 

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