The bad news is healthcare providers have never been more difficult for sales forces to reach. The good news is that HCPs are increasingly embracing digital channels, providing opportunities for savvy pharma marketers to engage physicians where it matters most—right at the point of care. The core of that strategy is EMR ad placement, and I’m delighted to share three proven techniques that help HCPs make the best treatment decisions, exactly where those decisions are made.
Tap 1: Choose an optimal partner and program
• The EMR landscape is fragmented, complex, and in constant flux. Many systems don’t support ads—but of those that do, options abound, demanding a media expert with the high level of sophistication and expertise needed to ensure maximum effectiveness and value.
• The first item on the EMR to-do list is strategic: work together to precisely describe your brand goals, target audiences and theirs needs, competitive landscape, and key performance indicators. Remember that EMR ads should be just one part of an integrated multichannel plan.
• After crafting the campaign strategy, your media partner is ready to determine the EMR system best suited for your brand’s needs. Selection criteria include HCP specialty and reach, target list match, exclusivity within a disease state, pricing efficiencies, and more.
• Seasoned media partners will also help you and your brand engage exactly the right physicians at the right time with the right patients: Geotargeting down to individual offices, ICD-9/10 codes to zero-in on exact indications, and placement that gets attention at the moment of decision.
Tap 2: Create appropriate and effective content
• Some media partners try to save time and money by repurposing assets from existing display banners and other channels for EMR ads—but more experienced strategists and planners understand that effective EMR ads demand their own creative, content, and calls-to-action.
• Content is certainly king—but context remains queen. In no channel is that more important than EMRs, within which physicians make the key point of care decision as to which drug to prescribe. That immediacy and action places unique demands on EMR creative and content.
• Some best practices for EMR creative and content include short, concise messaging that focuses on clinical brand differentiators and support features that instantly get attention and inform physicians; compelling calls-to-action drive HCPs to data encouraging the best Rx decision.
• But don’t drive physicians too far for too long, since there might not be a second chance for your brand. Effective EMR creative and messaging educates and empowers HCPs in the point of care “moment of truth,” making your brand and its strengths shine where they count the most.
Tap 3: Define and substantiate your metrics of success
• EMR placements differ from digital banner ads in other ways, too—most notably in terms of measurement and optimization. For starters, your HCP targets have completely different mindsets and behaviors, shifting from passive web browsers to active point of care providers.
• Another vital difference is click-throughs, which are far less likely for EMR placements. That makes reach and frequency your primary if not sole leading performance indicators. After all, you want HCP impressions to convert as an actual script, not necessarily a website visit.
• And unlike display banners, EMR ads often have the added measurement benefit of built-in ROI analysis (depending on spend levels or additional paid brand study) derived from actual changes in script-writing behavior attributable to the ad exposure. Experienced media partners can help you and your brands create these placements—and substantiate their value.
• Many EMR platforms offer additional measurement tools and reporting, such as coupon and copay card downloads, and other value-add service opportunities. Heatmap reports showing engagement across various geotargeted regions are also sometimes available.
EMRs are an emerging technology already transforming how HCPs engage with and choose prescription brands at the point of care. But the current platforms are fragmented, complex, and often confusing, demanding a proven media expert to help pharma brands choose the best programs, content, and metrics. Is your brand taking advantage of this powerful opportunity to engage prescribers when they’re actually prescribing? And is your media partner helping you get the most from EMRs?