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The Importance of Emotion-Based Marketing Campaigns When Targeting Doctors

What type of marketing campaigns appeal most to doctors across specialties?

Many marketers would answer that rational content based on facts, figures, and statistics would be the most appealing to doctors. After all, physicians are highly educated people who spend much of their time staying on top of the latest research. They are rational people who prefer logic to feelings.


Not so fast.

It turns out our assumptions about what motivates physicians may not be as ironclad as we thought.

A recent study from Wunderman Thompson Health found that emotional messages appeal more to doctors than entirely rational messages that rely on facts and statistics. Their research indicates that doctors are more likely to be moved by messages with an emotional appeal than those with a strictly rational appeal.

This information is powerful for marketers who want to get higher response rates from physicians. So, now that you know emotions are more powerful than facts when marketing to doctors, the question is, how can you do it?

Understanding Physician Emotions

The first thing to know is that not all doctors are motivated by the same emotions. The study that assessed the role of emotion in decision-making among doctors found three different emotional motivators among the 500 doctors who were surveyed about their attitudes toward ordering osteoporosis screenings for at-risk patients:

  • Desire to feel they have done their best professional work
  • Fear of the downward spiral caused by bone fractures
  • Greater confidence in their clinical judgment than professional guidelines

The rational appeal included obvious benefits of screening, such as that tests are painless, easy to do, and often covered by insurance.

Overall, emotional approaches led to a 23 percent increase in motivation compared with a strictly rational approach. More impressively, a personalized emotional approach, meaning an approach that used the emotional appeal most compelling to each doctor, led to a 34 percent increase in motivation compared to the baseline.

How to Use Emotional Appeals in Physician Marketing

The research shows that any emotional appeal can improve motivation for physicians, even if it is not personalized. So, making the shift from strictly rational-based marketing to emotions-based marketing could lead to an increase in motivation.

But marketers want to go beyond minor improvements. So, here are a few things you can do to create emotion-based marketing campaigns as part of your doctor outreach.

  1. Get to know your doctors’ emotions with testing

Segmenting email lists based on different physician specialties can help you determine which emotional appeals work for different types of doctors.

  1. Combine emotional and rational messaging

Emotion-based marketing doesn’t need to eliminate rationality completely. Combining emotional marketing with rational arguments can appeal to physicians who still want to see the data and numbers behind the emotional appeal.

  1. Combine personal with emotional marketing

The study found the most significant increase in motivation in campaigns that combined personal with emotional marketing. Healthcare marketers who can achieve this sweet spot with their campaigns will see the most gain when they launch new campaigns.

Reach More Physicians with HealthLink Dimensions

Doctors are humans too, and they feel an emotional pull to take action just like the rest of us. That’s why emotional campaigns can be so powerful, especially when they include personalization that makes the doctor feel like you are speaking directly to them.

Whether you are launching native ads, SMS campaigns, emails, or other types of digital marketing campaigns, HealthLink Dimensions can ensure that your emotional message gets seen by the right physicians at the right time.

Contact us to learn more about how HealthLink Dimensions can accelerate your next healthcare marketing campaign.

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