Any marketer can define B2C and B2B communications. But how comfortable are you with B2D?
B2D is my shorthand for business-to-doctor communications. (In this case, “doctor” is used to represent any medical practitioner or administrator.) It’s a specialized field, with some unique challenges.
In many respects, effective B2D is like any targeted marketing communications campaign: you need to get the right message to the right people through the right channels. To do that effectively, though, you need to first understand the distinguishing features of the B2D world. Here are three of them:
Doctors are very literal. The kind of wildly abstract concepts that make for great consumer ads will often be met with confusion in the B2D space. If you’re talking about a surgical product, you’ll likely need to show a surgical setting. That said, doctors are people, too. So it is possible to play to the emotional side of your product’s benefits, and even do so in a clever way. We once created an ad that featured a surgeon with an “I <3 ” tattoo on his arm. Not only did it have stopping power, it appealed to the reader’s sense of loyalty for what we were promoting. We then substantiated that loyalty with key facts and figures. Which leads us to the next point.
Doctors need data. Maybe all doctors are originally from Missouri, because “show me the data” is always on the tip of their tongues. As a result, declarations without proof will be dismissed. Vague assertions will be severely questioned. So you need to give them the facts in order to make your case. Doctors may not always want to read the clinical studies behind your claims, but they do need to be shown that they exist. Consider providing clinical summaries in an easy-to-digest format to more conveniently give them what they want. Those studies will also help you with the third B2D distinguishing feature.
You can’t fool the regulatory reviewers. You can try to be as clever as you want, but when your copy goes through regulatory review, it will be scrutinized. It will be edited. It might even be decimated. There are a few useful tricks—like prefacing marketing claims with qualifiers such as “could possibly”, “is designed to”, “may potentially help with”, etc. But the bottom line is this: don’t say it if you can’t substantiate it. To help things run as smoothly as possible, take the time upfront to create a messaging matrix and have it approved by regulatory. Then, every piece you develop from there on is more likely to be a winner in everyone’s eyes.
Just remember: B2D “could possibly” be challenging. But it “may potentially” be very rewarding, too.
To learn more about Martino Flynn’s healthcare marketing capabilities, please call 585.421.0100.