When Marketing Through Health Professionals, the Conversation is the Target

When defining a target market and developing a consumer profile, brand marketers usually begin with geography, demographics (like age, gender, and income), or relevant behaviors (like recent purchases). But if you are marketing a healthy brand and want to tap into the influence of health professionals, your targeting begins—and ends—with the conversation.

What conversation are we talking about? The face-to-face conversation between a trusted health professional and a consumer that your brand can be placed at the center of, leading to a brand recommendation.

Identifying “the conversation” requires more from marketers than simple geography, demography, and behavioristics, but the rewards are that much greater. This is how you find the right conversation for your brand.

Determine the "who"

When we start working with new clients, many assume that this is the easiest question to answer. If they have a kids’ product, they want to reach pediatricians. A weight loss product, then dietitians. Often, however, the “who” isn’t as obvious as it might seem.

The conversation your brand should be at the center of may not be happening with the health professionals you’d expect—or more typically, it’s happening with them and other professionals as well.

Identify the "what" and the "when" 

It’s unlikely that the conversation most relevant to your brand is about, well, your brand. More likely, the conversation is one connected to a broader need state or life event.

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For example, a health professional who regularly counsels people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes finds that those conversations invariably lead to a discussion of brands like yours and the features and benefits they offer. Or maybe you're most relevant not just in any conversation that a pediatrician might have with a mom of a baby, but specifically in a discussion during a six-month well visit and all the topics and concerns raised during them.

Finding the right conversation means going beneath the surface of these ongoing, regular, and predictable interactions between health professionals and the consumers they counsel to understand where and when your brand is most relevant—and how you can add value to that conversation.

Benefit from the "why"

By adding value to those conversations, through education and resources highly relevant to the conversation (and some brand promotion, as well) you can earn a recommendation from that trusted health professional that drives purchase at the shelf.

And because you are relying on a trained and experienced health professional to identify which consumers to share your brand with, you are benefiting from targeting more laser-focused than anything geography, demographics, or behavioristics can deliver.