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Involve Physicians in Campaign Strategy

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, September 22, 2010

Physician input can also be useful when developing a strategy for consumer campaigns because they know what matters to their patients and can help explain technology and procedures in laymen's terms, but they may not know how to best communicate those points with consumers.

"It's more important to be able to position your messaging structure based on what is most important to the consumer and not the physician—even though you're working with the physician to market their service line," DeTora says. "A lot of time what they think is important doesn't matter to the consumer. As much as it's important to have that initial conversation, it has to be filtered through what the consumer needs to know to make that decision."

Though many physicians are eager to be involved in the marketing process, it's important to prioritize the information you need to obtain from them because their time will likely be limited.

"We understand that physicians are extremely busy seeing patients and performing surgery," Lawlor says. "This is why they are here. We share our strategy and tactical plans. Once we have their input, it is up to us to implement this plan."

Physicians play a lesser role in the execution and creative stages. When a physician reviews advertising copy, it's better to ask him or her if anything is factually inaccurate rather than asking whether or not they like it or think it will work, DeTora says.

"Then it's about what that particular physician likes and wants and not necessarily what the target audience will respond to," she says. "At that point it's not as much about an open conversation. You go from this big funnel of information gathering, and it gets funneled and funneled as you go toward the technical execution."

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