Building Trust & Credibility Is Key to Marketing to Physicians

Marketing doesn’t have to be a dirty word when speaking with physicians. Done right, marketing to physicians isn’t hyping; it’s building trust and credibility.

Marketing to physicians comes down to speaking their language: what you say, how you say it and who’s saying it. That was the focus of my conversation with Dallas-based Darshan Gandhi, MD. A hematologist/medical oncologist by training, Dr. Gandhi is an entrepreneur and co-founder of HealthEntrepreneur — a forum that provides resources to healthcare stakeholders like physicians, technologists, hospitals and investors. Its goal is to create a truly virtual “global healthcare ecosystem.”

Here are three tips from Dr. Gandhi on marketing to physicians.

1. Avoid Jargon

Darshan Gandhi, MD: A physician’s blind spot is the technology itself. Many times, physicians lack an in-depth understanding of its value. Part of the problem comes down to language. Technology language may not fit well within a physician’s work flow. Vendors often use jargon on how it will help doctors. Trust me – over 90% of the information goes over a physician’s head because that is not what they understand.

For instance, we had a company present a product on HL-7. A better way of saying it would be ‘this technology allows a patient’s labs to show up on the EMR or patient portal.’ Or instead of saying software that optimizes RCM and AR/AP, vendors could say ‘this software expedites payment collections from patients and payors to reduce the time lag and improve practice revenues.’

Distill information into lay language and show how the technology can help. Explain how you are going to make a physician’s day better or make their patients better. Translate technology into a physician’s specific language or terminology.

2. Frame the Discussion around Making a Physician’s Job Easier

Darshan Gandhi, MD: Focus you marketing on how your solution makes life easier for me or how it improves a practice/personal bottom line. If you can achieve both, even better.

Address how your product is going to chart my notes, take care of my patients more efficiently or get me home sooner? Can I see more patients? Will it lead to more revenue, will your product make the workflow or revenue cycle management more efficient and improve or increase productivity? Yes to one or another, and that’s how you get buy in.

Marketing is an iterative process. Getting feedback is critical. Many times, the pitch will change or should change depending on what the needs are. For example, your product does ABC, but physicians say it needs to do D. Your company needs to be responsive to that request and be able to modify your product accordingly.

3. Find a Physician Champion to be Your Advocate

Darshan Gandhi, MD: Truth is, most physicians really don’t have the time and the commitment to work with companies to provide feedback. That is why it’s critical to engage several physicians until you are able to narrow it down to one who will work with you.

Out of 100 physicians, you’ll find 1 or 2 that are willing work with a customer. In any other industry, that number will be higher. Physicians are a different breed all together with a different DNA given the type of training they go through and the current state of healthcare in this country.

It takes a lot more effort to find that right person. However, once you have a physician who believes in your product and is ready to work with you – that person will go with you for the long run. The dedication you get from working with that one physician can be invaluable.

Published by Health Tech Insight, January 3, 2017