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How Marketing To Physicians’ Groups Is Different From Hospitals

How marketing to physicians’ groups is different from hospitals

Successful marketing and sales efforts depend on knowing your audience. For life sciences organizations, that means developing a deep understanding of what medical professionals are looking for in products like pharmaceuticals and medical devices and then forming long-term connections. One of the most crucial considerations when developing these relationships is the institutional affiliations of particular physicians.

Whether a doctor works within a hospital system or a physicians’ group often makes a huge difference in both the needs of his or her patients and the process that leads to purchasing a new product. By taking these distinctions into account and drawing on an extensive database, organizations can create narrowly segmented strategies for their medical email marketing campaigns.

Understanding physicians’ groups

“Group medical practices offer a number of advantages over solo private practices.”

For doctors, group medical practices offer a number of advantages over solo private practices. In these arrangements, physicians come together to work with a wider base of patients than any of them could manage alone. A group may be focused on a single specialty, such as family medicine or cardiology, or one organization can offer multiple types of care.

By collaborating and sharing resources, healthcare providers are better able to handle the financial demands of staying in business, the need to meet stringent standards for regulatory compliance and the complexities of insurance claims. However, many of these practices have taken the next step by selling to hospital systems. These deals put hospitals in touch with larger pools of patients while allowing doctors to worry less about finances and paperwork.

There are great rewards for organizations that can cater effectively to medical practices, with the Medical Group Management Association valuing the industry’s annual purchasing power at $185 billion. To communicate effectively with physician’s groups and form productive, lasting relationships, marketers and salespeople need to familiarize themselves with the specific challenges and opportunities involved in these organizations.

Getting to know the purchase journey

No matter their affiliation, physicians are always interested in finding ways to improve the care they offer. However, the particular treatments they are interested in and the path their institutions take toward buying new products may differ widely. That’s why it’s so vital for life sciences organizations to take this context into account when embarking on marketing initiatives.

One of the biggest distinctions between how physicians’ groups and hospitals operate is the time and deliberation that go into deciding to buy a pharmaceutical or medical device. A medical group practice manager, who may work under titles like administrator or operations manager, is often the person mainly in charge of initiating purchase decisions or organization-wide changes. These individuals work with the group’s healthcare providers to ensure they have all the resources they need to deliver high-quality services.

When marketing and sales teams are familiar with the stakeholders with input into purchases for a physicians’ group, they can strategically target communications. These practices generally move through the purchase journey faster than a hospital system, in which more individuals have a say. Still, it’s essential to maintain open lines of communications with key decision-makers and offer ample information at every juncture.

Marketers must show physicians' groups how products will benefit their patients.

Sending segmented messages

Life sciences organizations utilize a variety of data to get the most effective possible messages out to the individuals involved in choosing to buy a product. Digital channels such as websites, display ads and emails have become increasingly important in recent years due to changes in the rules governing in-person contact between businesses and physicians. The MM&M 2017 Healthcare Marketers Trend Report found that 87 percent of organizations used digital marketing tactics to catch the attention of health care providers in 2016, up 6 percentage points from the year prior.

Current, easily accessible records of the contact information for stakeholders in physicians’ groups makes direct marketing possible, and maintaining up-to-date email addresses with data append services is particularly important. According to the  2017 Annual Healthcare Professional Communication Report from HealthLink Dimensions, 66 percent of physicians prefer to receive marketing communications via email. Since professional addresses change any time a doctor switches from one institution to another, marketers need to be confident they have the latest information.

Physicians’ institutional affiliations can also greatly impact what messaging they are likely to find worthwhile. A physicians’ group may tend to treat individuals within particular demographics and focus on specific conditions. Detailed treatment insights developed from insurance claims may point marketers in the right direction so they can put together intriguing emails with powerful calls-to-action.

Showing medical professionals how a product can help their practice and their patients with thorough explanations and clinical data is among the most effective ways to market to a physicians’ group. Life sciences organizations are more capable of conveying persuasive messages driving sales when they consider the wide range of needs that doctors must address and take advantage of a wealth of information.

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