How to Market to Healthcare Professionals: Follow David Ogilvy’s Advice

Long before the Internet and pocket computers, advertising tycoon David Ogilvy said, “The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be." That is still true when it comes to marketing to healthcare professionals.

They are education junkies. They know that consumers trust them more than anyone else to recommend what’s best. And the more health professionals know about your brand or product, the more likely it will be that they recommend it. Period.

Last month, we spent three days with 700 dietitians at the 2017 Today’s Dietitian Symposium in New Orleans getting their education fix. Though “Huge Ass Beers” was just down the street from the hotel, these dedicated professionals were eager to sit through 90-minute presentations in conference rooms and talk with brands on a trade show floor to gain a better understanding of how they can best help their patients and clients.

If you’re not educating health professionals about the health and nutrition benefits of your product, you’re missing a huge (dare we say huge-ass?) opportunity. Here’s how to do it.

Don’t market to them like ordinary consumers

Health professionals are dedicated to continuous learning. They want to know all they can about the options their clients face at the supermarket. The bottom line is this: Less is not more when marketing to them. 

Take a look at advertisements from the 1940s and ‘50s. Most consumers would give the copy-filled pages 0% of their time. Not these consumers. When writing for healthcare professionals, use Ogilvy’s old-fashioned equation: informative = persuasive

One of Ogilvy's own  ads .

One of Ogilvy's own ads.

Share the details

These are smart, curious people who want the kind of resources they can leverage in their day-to-day practice. So, get down into the weeds a bit. Provide context, use charts and graphs, introduce new terms — health professionals can not only handle it, they want it. If you feel like you’re giving too much, you’re giving enough.

Add value to their client interactions

Think samples, coupons, pamphlets, brochures, one-pagers, and other physical pieces of information that health professionals can literally hand to their clients during a face-to-face conversation. Once they know enough about the health and nutrition benefits of your brand or product, there’s a chance you’ll make it into that verbal exchange. But by providing a dietician, for example, with paper-based information, you’re guaranteed to add value.

Make it a two-way situation

Like most curious learners, health professionals want to ask questions and give their feedback. For brands, this may be done through surveys, online forums, even webinars or Twitter chats. Don’t stop with promotional materials. Make it possible for health professionals to talk to you, too.

Brands, you have willing, eager consumers of information — and consumers themselves — who want to understand the health and nutrition benefits of your brand, product, or service. And they want to understand it so well that they can teach it to their clients, who are also consumers. Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of this? 

It’s time to channel your inner Ogilvy. What’s old is new again!