A Prescriber Evolution

A Prescriber Evolution

Prescribers have adapted and are thriving in today’s digital world.  Are you?

Google released a new study in June aimed at understanding physician utilization of online resources as reference tools while making treatment decisions.  Understanding these results is key as manufacturers continue to seek prescriber engagement opportunities.  Google reports:

  • Physicians conduct an average of six professional online searches each day
  • When searching, they do so by condition-based keywords 84% of the time, while using manufacturer-based keywords only 50% of the time, and manufacturer names much less frequently ( just 17% of the time)
  • Physicians turn to search engines for information 84% of the time, as opposed to visiting drug-specific (7%) or manufacturer-specific (7%) websites for the same information
  • Several situations prompted physicians to conduct online searches:

    • After patient requested specific drug  - 62%
    • After patient reported drug side effect – 61%
    • When new drug became approved – 51%
    • After drug did not show expected effects with patient – 33%
    • After talking to a pharmaceutical sales rep – 34%
    • After seeing prescription drug ad in print – 32%, online promotion – 28%, on TV – 26%
  • 55% of physicians report having “changed or made a decision about treatment for a patient” following an online search
  • One third of physicians click on sponsored links (paid search ads) while searching for professional information

This study clearly debunks the website philosophy of “build it and they will come.” Helping your audience find your site becomes as critical as the design and content of your site.  Brand marketing teams need to mark resources for search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search (such as Google AdWords) as a standard form of practice.

In an era riddled with hurdles for brand marketers, search engines are a shining light of opportunity.  What else has the potential to engage your prescribers six times each day?  At a low, controlled cost?  And just so happens to be influencing treatment decisions more than half the time?

SEO and paid search have evolved into their own science but experts are available for consultation or for hire, and successful campaigns can be run for mere dollars each day.  A strategic approach to keyword development and ad placement can result in capturing the right prescriber at the right time, as opposed to that same prescriber falling into the lap of a competitor.  Big picture:  low investment, low risk, high ROI potential.

We advise our pharmaceutical clients on SEO and paid search strategies and utilize these tactics to support our own services.  For hands-on marketers, there is little more satisfying than the ability to assess and adapt targeted campaigns on a daily (or even hourly!) basis.  We anticipate that these tactics will hold a firm place on brand marketing plans and long-term strategies for some time to come.

Google’s report dives even deeper into physicians’ digital habits, for those interested.  And PMLive.com provides a great synopsis of the 2-to-1 preference for online vs. print research on their blog.