Marketing to Doctors & Physicians: 6 Strategies to Maximize Your Budget in 2023

The largest percentage of physicians see between 11 and 20 patients a day.1
Hours and workload vary, but we can agree that doctors and physicians are busy.
The rush of the healthcare world can make it hard to get them to pay attention to your ads — and if you can, it comes with a high price tag, a lot of complexity, and a ton of expensive resources.
With the right doctor marketing strategy, however, you can break through the madness, engage doctors and physicians with relevant ads, and do it all without burning through your budget.
Here’s how to market to doctors and physicians in 2023.

Marketing to Doctors & Physicians in 2023

Advertising to doctors and physicians looks considerably different than it did even a few years ago.
Google gave third-party cookies an extra year to live.
Doctors and physicians are declining more in-person meetings with sales reps in lieu of video calls.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, and it’s on you to evolve.

1. Speak Their Language

Even the most creative ads and most innovative ad types won’t generate clicks and conversions if the message doesn’t resonate.
When building your doctor marketing strategy, make sure that every aspect of your ads, including the copy, imagery, and CTAs, focus on what they care about.
Ask yourself: Would you click on the ad if you were a doctor or physician?
The answer to this question will vary based on the specialty and seniority of your target audience, but a rule of thumb that’ll remain regardless is this: Focus on values instead of features.
So, for example, if you’re promoting a CT machine, instead of creating copy and imagery that highlights a new feature that makes the model “great,” zoom in on how the design improves patient comfort or how it produces more detailed, easy-to-read imagery.
The name of the game when marketing to doctors and physicians in 2023 is “outcomes.” At the end of the day, if you can show them how your product, medication, or device can help them, ad engagement will follow.

2. Use Geofencing to Reach Doctors in the Medical Mindset

Burnout is a constant in the healthcare world. In fact, U.S. doctor burnout reached an all-time high of 63% during the pandemic.3
The overwhelming nature of their lives means they won’t always be receptive to ads — not because they don’t want to see them but because their minds are elsewhere.
This is the reason banner blindness exists, i.e., people see so many ads that they subconsciously ignore them.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t keep your campaigns running throughout the day (and night) — you absolutely should — but you’d be remiss not to take every opportunity to get in front of them when they’re inherently more likely to click.
That means the workplace.
Geofencing technology — the same technology behind Snapchat’s popular filters — allows you to do this by delivering ads to doctors and physicians based on their physical location.
For example, you could launch a campaign aimed at doctors and physicians working at a certain hospital or healthcare executives attending an industry conference. Geofencing is crucial when figuring out how to advertise to doctors.

3. Stand Out & Save Money With Non-Endemic Ads

Conventional wisdom would have it that endemic websites, e.g., healthline.com, nih.gov, and mayoclinic.org, are the answer to anyone asking you about the most effective ways to market to doctors and physicians.
These websites carry their weight given their medical-first audience, but their popularity — and lack of supply — drives up the price.
Said another way, advertising on endemic websites is expensive. When cost-efficiency and budget maximization are key, the high price tag can be a non-starter.
The cost-efficient alternative, but no less impactful way to reach doctors and physicians in the medical mindset, is to build your doctor marketing strategy around non-endemic websites and contextual targeting.
This could result in an ad that appears on Yahoo within an article about heart surgery or one in the New York Times about a medical innovation

4. Advertise to Providers at Home

Doctors and physicians are busy, but they have lives outside of work, too.
Advertising to them on channels they’re using outside the workplace can be an effective way to continue the conversation when they’re not bogged down in the daily grind.
CTV, OTT, and social media are a few of those channels.
As the likes of Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and others increase in popularity
— 92% of U.S. households were reachable by CTV programmatic advertising in 2021
— forward-thinking strategies will include them.4
Not only are CTV and OTT ads a smart strategy for tapping into a growing addressable audience, but the ad types available give you an unprecedented opportunity to engage your audience with an immersive experience that’s harder to deliver on smaller screens.
As these ecosystems evolve to offer more direct-response ad options — they’ve historically been confined to brand awareness campaigns — they’ll offer a valuable outlet for your ad dollars.
Social media should also be in play as doctors, physicians, and patients turn to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other platforms to conduct research, stay connected, and communicate.
Both channels will gain extra importance when Google officially deprecates third-party cookies in 2023.

5. Use the Right Data

Between the decline of third-party cookies, the importance of ad personalization, and the shifting sentiment around ads, the data powering your doctor marketing campaigns will be under more pressure than ever.
This is why social platforms, CTV, and OTT will deliver value far into the future; there isn’t any third-party technology involved.
But what if you want to market to doctors and physicians outside of these walled gardens?
The answer: first-party HCP data.
With first-party HCP data, you can target doctors who meet your ideal customer profile (ICP) by medical specialty and other characteristics that enable you to get in front of doctors who actually want to hear from you (since they willingly gave you their data).
Since these doctors are inherently more likely to engage with your ads, engagement rates should rise, but you should also see cost-efficiencies since you’re not wasting impressions on those who aren’t familiar with you or aren’t ready to buy.

6. Consider Adding Offline Tactics

Most of your doctor marketing strategy will revolve around digital tactics.
That said, don’t discount offline tactics, like industry conferences and in-person meetings, as ways to enhance your strategy and add authenticity in a world that’s losing some of its human touch.
While these tactics can be costly from a financial and bandwidth standpoint, if they’re woven strategically into online tactics — like any of the ones discussed above — they can pay dividends.
For example, you could attend a conference and use the event as an opportunity to get face time with doctors, but augment that with digital ads that continue your story after they leave.
The same goes for in-person meetings.
Instead of trying to close the deal on-sight, in-person meetings can be the lever to build relationships, while follow-up ads in the coming weeks and months can be the means by which you reinforce the benefits and ultimately close the deal.

A Healthcare Ad Agency: The Best Way to Market to Doctors & Physicians

The doctor marketing world is constantly evolving.
Between the downfall of third-party cookies, new ad-support technologies like EHRs, shifting behaviors, and new generations, doctor marketing strategies are evolving faster than ever.
Partnering with a healthcare ad agency, like Adfire Health, with access to doctor-marketing expertise and brand-safe HCP data, you can engage more doctors at a better price — and do it all without crossing any privacy or data-regulation lines.

Sources

  1. Michas F. Number of patients that physicians in the U.S. saw per day from 2012 to 2018. Statista. Published Jul 27, 2022. Accessed October 25, 2022.
  2. THE AESTHETIC SOCIETY RELEASES ANNUAL STATISTICS REVEALING SIGNIFICANT INCREASES IN FACE, BREAST and BODY IN 2021. The Aesthetic Society. Published April 11, 2022. Accessed October 25, 2022.
  3. Berg S. Pandemic pushes U.S. doctor burnout to all-time high of 63%. AMA. Published September 15, 2022. Accessed October 25, 2022.
  4. Statista Research Department. Connected TV advertising in the U.S. – statistics & facts. Statista. Published September 12, 2022. Accessed October 25, 2022.
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