Marketing experts estimate the average American is exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 marketing messages per day. As much as we’re swayed to think physicians are a special breed of human, they’re really just people too—and encounter just as many marketing touchpoints as the average individual.
With figures like that, there’s no wiggle room to experiment with marketing channels that have become less effective over the years. While direct mail was at one time considered a top performer in physician communications, statistics surrounding physician preference reveal email beats out all other forms of communication. Even though direct mail is not “dead” and arguably has a place in certain outbound campaigns, email is still the clear winner.
That is, if you do it the right way.
Two Key Advantages of Digital Over Direct
There’s no wiggle room to experiment with ineffective marketing channels
One can understand the reluctance to “go digital” when direct mail assets like postcards, brochures, and newsletters have previously proven their worth. Longevity is compelling, but when you consider the many benefits of digital over direct mail, a strong case can be made for digitally-focused outreach.
Two advantages stand out:
Cost. Direct mail is expensive; there’s just no getting around that fact. Between the creative costs and rising postal investment, you could easily dedicate thousands of dollars to one relatively small campaign. Yes, email requires a creative budget as well, but deployment costs are minimal—even for a large outbound campaign.
Reporting. The USPS can inform you that a direct mailing was successfully sent, but they can’t provide feedback on whether or not those mailers were opened, read—or read by your target audience. Sending direct mail via certified mail just isn’t financially feasible. On the other hand, email’s robust reporting ability allows for real-time evaluation of open rates, click-through rates, and day (and time of day) physicians engage. Additionally, links to additional information or landing pages expand the power of your digital communications reach. That data acts as research material for digital marketers. They learn what worked and what didn’t and subsequently adjust campaign strategy.
That data acts as research material for digital marketers
An additional factor is a generational one. Fewer Baby Boomers are practicing medicine while more millennials are putting on the white coat. The millennial generation was born into a digital world. They don’t know an existence without mobile phones, tablets, and the ease of turning to Google, Siri, or Alexa for answers.
What Physicians Want, When They Want It
All of the above points support the transition to digital, but there’s one more that really seals the deal: being able to optimize communications by sending the right message at the right time. In regards to the direct mail versus email discussion, this capability is afforded to email and email only—but only when employing a high-quality physician email list.
When you’re working with accurate data—that is, data that’s been first-party sourced, third-party verified, authenticated, and updated daily—you know you’re reaching the right physicians. That’s the first step.
The millennial generation was born into a digital world
In turn, you get an accurate picture of individual physician needs and wants based on engagement behavior. This goes back to the breadth of analysis available. Subject lines, email content, CTAs, and day/time of deployment are components that can be tweaked upon engagement scrutiny, ultimately ensuring you’re deploying the most impactful message at the most desirable time. Again, such potential is lost on direct mail.
There’s no need to fear the progressive evolution of direct to digital. In truth, all points of logic represent reasons to not only adopt digital, but to embrace it.