Where’s your smart phone? On the table next to you? In your pocket? More likely than not, it’s in your hand right now. How else would you read this?

We are smart phone obsessed, so much so that our own devices now cast judgement about how much time we spend swiping and scrolling. We reach for our phones to stay connected at work, kill time when bored, catch up on news (both real and fake) and avoid conversation with mostly everyone. It’s almost something to be ashamed of, but let’s be real, our phones are fun, and we aren’t giving them up. Perhaps we’ll consider it the next time someone takes a tech detox and doesn’t immediately blog or Tweet about the whole experience.

For communicators, mobile marketing has become a critical element of any research and data-driven digital connection strategy to reach consumers. But, what about physicians? Recent studies show nearly 80% of physicians use a mobile device at work every day, often to access work-related content, yet many companies are underutilizing this channel.

In the digital transformation era, it’s essential for pharma marketers and communicators to rethink their usual way of doing business. The days of relying solely on previous experience and traditional channels to reach this audience has passed. Companies need to understand and incorporate modern mobile marketing capabilities to succeed in a competitive, crowded marketplace.

Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all mobile marketing strategy to reach physicians—they’re all so very different—but, this would be a pointless piece without a few practical tips.  

Providing a mobile experience

Optimizing for mobile is a multi-step process, which includes, but is not exclusive to resizing visuals, enlarging font size and creating easy-to-use buttons for an enhanced mobile experience.   

Skipping this step comes with some serious consequences, which your digital design and development team will flag right away, but it won’t seem like a priority at first. According to Google, 40% of consumers have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience, and just a three-second load time can lead to a bounce rate of 53%. We are impatient creatures with low attention spans.

Size and speed certainly counts—it gets you into the mobile game—but, your content also needs to fit the channel, too. Yes, physicians are constantly checking their mobile device, but they’re still pressed for time. It’s unlikely the modern health care professional will painstakingly scroll through a 20-page medical whitepaper on a 4.7-inch screen.

There’s also no sense in forcing a physician to dig through blocks of text to find the material relevant to them. Consider using video as one of the most engaging and mobile-friendly formats. Successful digital marketing campaigns are flexible, relying on real-time analytics to know what’s working and what’s not. Take action on those insights and adjust your content accordingly.

Understand your audience

Do you remember thinking your teacher lived at school? It seemed impossible to picture them in any other setting, doing anything other than grading papers or writing on the chalkboard. The first time you saw them at the mall was mind-blowing.

You’ve likely come to terms with the fact that teachers are people, too, but a similar roadblock persists when we consider physicians. We often picture them in a white lab coat, surrounded by medical journals, exclusively browsing health care websites. 

And, while this image isn’t entirely false for some individuals, we need to think of physicians as both professionals and consumers with a variety of interests. Yes, they frequent online networking services for medical professionals like Doximity and Sermo, but they’re also on Facebook and Twitter. They read health care news, but they’re also consuming a wide range of other information.

Because the modern physician is on their mobile devices at work and at home, pharma marketers need to adjust their mobile strategies to reach this audience in different places, with consideration around time of day, channel and device.

If you’re only marketing on health care professional platforms, you’re fighting for real estate with competitors who are pushing similar content. It’s difficult to stand out in a sea of related information.

This switch in strategy starts with more extensive research. Instead of investigating only which health care platforms your audience frequents, broaden your search to also include the websites, apps, and platforms where they spend their free time.  

Don’t forget to budget for paid

Maybe you’ve uncovered how your health care professional audience is spending their time on mobile and maybe you’ve created the most optimized piece of content, but your view count will hover right around zero if you don’t account for paid elements in your mobile marketing strategy.

It’s a hard truth to come to terms with, especially when you’ve spent countless hours on a compelling animation or an informative one-pager. We all desperately want to rely on the quality of our content to break through the noise, but algorithms change, and our attention spans grow shorter and Facebook wants money – so paid support becomes a necessary part of any mobile strategy.

How you use your paid promotion budget depends heavily on your audience and their preferences. It could take the form of third-party partnerships, sponsored advertorials, social media ads or a number of other tactics.

A final word of advice — don’t rely on gut feelings. Just because your audience responded well to other physical or digital marketing efforts doesn’t mean those materials and messages will translate to mobile. Strong research and strategy — not a laundry list of tactics — are at the start of any effective mobile strategy.

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