Physician segmentations stop short if they only profile HCPs as health care providers – because HCPs are also customer service providers who are deeply motivated by creating a positive patient experience.
“A lot of doctors think they’re providing health care to their patients, but what they’re really providing is human care. Those who fail to realize that likely have failing practices.” So we heard from a physician recently, speaking against the backdrop of prestigious degrees hanging on the wall behind his desk.
We may think of physicians, dentists and other health care professionals as health care providers, but fundamentally, they’re also customer service providers. They want to keep their patients healthy, but they want to make sure they’re happy, too. Importantly, this focus on patient experience powers the motivations of HCP’s and directly influences every decision they make as professionals – including which medicines to prescribe, what equipment to invest in, which technology to adopt, which products to sell, what brands to recommend and how to run their practice.
Through scores of interviews with GP’s, specialists and dentists over the past year, we’ve created a physician segmentation with five HCP customer service mindsets, each with a distinctive core motivation, to help optimize physician targeting. Whether the goal is customer journey mapping or crafting and curating messaging, these mindsets illuminate what each HCP most cares about – thereby helping companies to connect in ways that are salient, persuasive and able to stand out amid the clutter. Medical marketers that speak to these core motivations are well-poised to connect with HCPs and forge a successful, profitable partnership with them.
Understanding these HCP mindsets can give health care marketers invaluable added insight, thereby giving them an edge in a number of practical ways – as we’ve seen in our own work with health care professionals:
Journey Mapping: In recently mapping journeys from symptoms and diagnosis through to prescription, fulfillment and compliance, we saw that many of the pain points along the journey were similar for HCP’s regardless of mindset. What was clear, though, is that an HCP’s mindset – whether they were a Productivity Seeker or Nurturer, for example — significantly influenced how he or she dealt with those pain points and how willing they were to invest time working with insurance companies to get authorization for a specific medication. As a result, we used these mindset-specific insights to devise the physician targeting strategy.
Positioning and Content Strategy: The HCP customer service mindsets were influential in developing the positioning and content strategy for several brands of a major pharmaceutical company. Zeroing in on Advocates as the primary target, we crafted content guidelines with patient empowerment at the heart of the message, and listened as HCP after HCP reacted, enthusiastically appreciative that the brand shared their goals as health care providers.
Product Design and Guidelines: The significant upside of understanding these health professional segments became clear as we partnered with a leading oral care company to develop products for dental professionals. Knowing that Business-Savvies were looking to reduce time in the chair, for example, directly inspired product designs to keep procedures and appointments as brief as possible while minimizing the number of visits to perform a treatment plan. The Nurturer, meanwhile, always looking to maximize patient comfort, gave a thumbs up to less invasive products and procedures that caused less patient angst.
Marketing Tools and Tactics: The HCP mindsets directly impact how and where HCP’s can be reached and want to be reached – whether it’s by using more traditional marketing tactics like free samples, drug coupons and CME or embracing newer approaches like engaging with HCP’s through LinkedIn or other social media.
Practice Management Support: Running a practice is running a business – and running it successfully is essential for an HCP to deliver quality health care to their patients. Because business attitudes are directly baked into the HCP customer service mindsets, we’ve been able to use these mindsets to identify meaningful ways health care marketers can support HCP practices – whether it’s by optimizing the patient experience or streamlining management behind the scenes.
Today, it’s much more challenging than it used to be for medical brands and companies to get an HCP’s attention. HCP customer service mindsets can help ensure that when they do, their messaging and marketing is truly meaningful and motivating, speaking to HCP’s not just as providers of health care, but as human care providers, too.