Have you come home from a conference or a meeting with a pocket full of cards? All marketers of a certain age have had that experience – jotting notes on business cards about a person or a conversation, then carefully tucking them in a Rolodex later.
It’s done digitally now, with LinkedIn connections and Contact lists, but the goal remains the same: we seek to build connections and relationships, which often begin with a personal, credible, relevant interaction.
If you’re a brand manager, you have these same goals. It’s not possible for you to get the preferred contact information of every HCP you hope to reach, though – so how can you be sure that your message is reaching the inbox of every prescriber?
It’s all about that (data)base
The answer? You need the pharma marketer’s version of a Rolodex or little black book: you need a high quality email database. What is a good database? There are several criteria, the most important are sourcing, reach, and targeting.
Sourcing means a database is backed by good data. Good data has been cleansed (ideally with external, third-party validation), audited and verified. The most reliable authentication of databases are those done through BPA International, the leading auditing service for B2B publications. With the BPA seal of approval, marketers can be confident that they’re actually reaching exactly who they think they are. A well-sourced database is also authenticated and validated daily, and includes multiple email addresses for every HCP. The different emails ensures marketers are able to reach health care professionals at their most active addresses.
Reach refers to how inclusive a database is. A database with good reach includes the specific HCPs you want to connect with, with their specialties indicated. It is important that the records include more than just physicians. A range of healthcare professionals have the ability to impact your pharma brand and a well-honed marketing campaign includes nurses, NPs, and PAs. In addition, the vast majority, if not all, the records should be of people who are currently in practice (yes, that is an obvious observation but too often we encounter third-party databases with deceased and retired HCPs). There are many questions to ask to confirm that the database has the breadth and the depth necessary for a successful campaign.
Targeting is getting the right information to the right HCP at the right moment. Sourcing and reach are important, but targeting is nearly as crucial. Effective email deployments are timed appropriately, so marketers should seek a database provider that offers insight into best practices in terms of when to send email - both day of the week and time of day. We’ve found that email usage patterns vary widely by specialty. For instance, pediatricians tend to read email on Tuesdays during business hours. For surgeons, though, peak times are late Thursday afternoon and evening, as well as very early Friday morning. It’s important to take specific online behaviors into account when timing deployments.
Asking the right questions of your database provider is crucial. It starts with sourcing, reach, and targeting.