How Medical Device Companies Should Speak to Primary Care Physicians

marketing to pcps

When marketing medical devices to primary care physicians, the secret to success may be simplicity.

Despite the rise of patient-centric marketing, physicians remain a crucial audience for any medical device company. Patients are much more likely to purchase a product that has been recommended by their doctor, even if that means eschewing convenience and cost-savings.

Medical device marketers are thus tasked with advertising to primary care physicians, who tend to be more skeptical and difficult to sway than the average consumer. A recent survey from advertising agency GSW in partnership with The Harris Poll sets out to address that challenge, however, by examining where, when, and above all, how PCPs prefer to receive advertising messages. The findings of this study highlight that, when speaking to an expert audience, simplicity is key.

Keep It Simple, Medical Device Marketers

The GSW survey polled 302 U.S.-based PCPs, asking a wide range of behavioral questions running the gamut from how often they texted during the work day to whether or not they made New Year’s resolutions to how closely they monitor their children’s internet usage. In conjunction with questions about marketing messages that PCPs do and don’t find compelling, the survey revealed some interesting insights about where and how marketers can reach PCPs.

Firstly, the survey found that the majority of PCPs do take time out of their work day to use their mobile devices, whether to text their child or spouse, swipe through social media, or quickly perform a Google search. Almost half of PCPs use social media at least every day, and 30% admitted to checking social media multiple times throughout the day.

These findings make it clear that there’s abundant opportunity to reach PCPs with digital marketing, whether in the form of display ads, pay-per-click search ads, social media ads, or organic content. But when marketers do have these opportunities to “speak” to PCPs, what should they say?

According to the survey results, 76% of PCPs prefer when companies use simple language, 51% sometimes don’t understand what advertisers are trying to communicate, and 35% are sometimes overwhelmed by advertising language. These responses suggest that overall, advertisers should look to simplify and streamline their communication efforts with PCPs.

Clear, Creative Content is the Answer

While these results are striking, they don’t mean that medical device marketers should throw creativity out the window. Quite the opposite, in fact: 6 out of 10 PCPs report that they like to be entertained by advertising, and when asked what qualities they appreciate in advertising, 62% said humor and 51% said creativity.

It’s certainly possible to create clear, yet creative, copy in search or display ads — but it’s far easier to do so in longer-form content. Blog posts, articles in online publications, and marketing emails afford medical device manufacturers the opportunity to explain themselves clearly while also injecting humor or personality into their content (where appropriate).

That’s likely why content marketing is gaining ground nationwide — half of marketers expect their content marketing budget to increase this year, and almost three-quarters of marketers say they’ve focused efforts on developing long-form content. For medical device manufacturers who have yet to invest in content marketing strategies, now is the time to do so.

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