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Persuasive Medical Communication Begins With a Shift

The key to successful medical communication

By Paul Hill, SciencePOD writer 

The primary question to answer is not what do we need to say, but why should our audience care about what we’re saying?  For medical communication, that means adapting the style and substance of content to the varying perspectives of practitioners, patients, and non-specialist professionals. 

For example, Public Health England’s Antibiotic Guardian campaign offered a variety of content, from quizzes, animations, and videos for patients to case studies, technical toolkits, and resources for healthcare and veterinary professionals, in its bid to raise awareness of the public health threat posed by antibiotic resistance. Your core message will be the same, but the clothes it will wear will be tailored to the needs and characteristics of each audience segment. 

The content marketing equation 

Behind these public health campaigns, a simple equation is in play. To persuade someone to give up their time and attention, the content being created must be relevant to their perspective and have one of three attributes: 

  • Is it insightful?  
  • Is it useful?  
  • Is it emotionally powerful?  

 To engage an audience, at least one attribute must be in play. But to engage and persuade people to act, transact, or change behaviour, the most successful campaigns are likely to draw on two or all three attributes across different content formats, media, or channels.  

A doctor helping a patient after persuasive medical communication
It is important to communicate medical information in an accurate and compelling manner.

Engaging your audience through medical communication

 For life sciences and biopharma organisations, content marketing rather than traditional advertising or editorial approaches offers an effective route to engage and persuade different audience segments, for example: 

  1.  Engaging patients EU rules prevent direct marketing of prescription medicines to consumers. However, providing public health information is permitted and offers a valuable route to building brand trust while serving the civic good. For example, GSK’s Tackle Meningitis campaign used former England rugby player Matt Dawson, whose infant son contracted the disease, as an advocate to help parents better understand the risks and symptoms.  
  2. Engaging healthcare professionals A technical description of a product or service is a vital element of any transaction, but it’s only an expected requirement, rather than a route to truly engage new or existing customers. Take a look at the training website of biotech products company, Thermo Fisher, for example, and you’ll find an array of training and learning tools. It’s problem-solving content that offers an audience insight – and helps build customer trust and brand affinity. 
  3. Supporting non-specialist professional staff Pity the poor sales professional who is armed with dry, highly technical material rather than accessible and engaging content they can deploy with prospects. If your marketing material is not geared to helping sales teams answer the question – why should potential customers care? 

 The lessons are simple enough, albeit the execution of successful content marketing requires a creative flair and careful planning – and a willingness to produce something that goes beyond what everyone else in your industry is doing. 

So, step away from that press release … and start working on your content marketing strategy.