Keeping up with the newest trends in physician marketing

What is physician marketing?

Physician marketing or HCP (healthcare professional) marketing is the subset of marketing and advertising to effectively reach doctors with your marketing messages. It’s not the marketing tactics of a physician to reach and engage new patients, but rather the concept of reaching the doctors with new treatment options, medicine advertising, or medical device trends.

Physician marketing trends

Example of physician marketing

A pharmaceutical brand launches a newly FDA-approved drug and wants to create awareness. Often, pharma marketers know precisely which physicians they want to reach based on their specialty or even unique NPI number (national provider identification).

Historically, a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative would visit the doctor’s office. Nowadays, physicians are seeing fewer and fewer pharma reps in person, and medical marketers need to shift to a digital approach.

A new approach is to run a multimedia advertising campaign across digital channels including, display advertising, search advertising, email marketing, and website promotion – just to name a few.

Best physician marketing strategies

Evolving from direct media buys

In order to run successful physician marketing campaigns, advertisers need to go beyond what they have done previously. Programmatic real-time advertising has evolved. Digital media teams run advertising campaigns on endemic healthcare publications that they knew doctors would visit regularly. While this is still a good tactic, it should be only one tool in your toolbox.

With programmatic advertising, marketers can buy specific audiences at scale, regardless of where they are browsing. Physician marketers can reach the same doctor on WebMD, Healthline,, and their favorite cooking sites.

Deterministic physician targeting

Advertising to doctors needs to be deterministic, meaning, it has to be one-to-one knowing you are marketing to the physician you are trying to reach. This can be due to legal restrictions, but also due to modern advertising standards. Other industries have long evolved to personalize ad experiences and user journeys.

Generic DSPs (demand-side buying platforms) can’t necessarily fulfill this requirement. Therefore, specific healthcare marketing platforms have evolved that pharma marketers need to take advantage of.

marketing to physicians

Use of first-party data

It’s becoming more and more important to implement a first-party data strategy. The 3rd party cookie will soon be replaced. Therefore, it’s crucial to know where data is coming from. Tying this back to the two previous points, it’s crucial to work with an advertising partner in physician marketing who can support deterministic targeting at scale.

By the way, it doesn’t have to be your first-party data. If your advertising partner has access to opted-in advertising consent, you can expand your reach.

New advertising formats

In healthcare marketing, analog TV is still one of the biggest media outlets. Meanwhile, new advertising formats with dynamic creative optimization (DCO) have evolved. Connected TV is the new standard of video advertising. Many households have pulled the plug on analog TV, and so have physicians. It’s best practices in 2023 and beyond to reach physicians across devices and formats. CTV healthcare advertising should be in your media plan.

Another new marketing format is EHR (electronic health records), right at the point of care. This unique physician marketing channel is still often untapped and provides big opportunities for advertisers.

Physician marketing channels

Branded and unbranded campaigns

The FDA regulates medical marketing. Therefore, branded and unbranded campaigns are powerful marketing ideas.

HCP marketers need to create high-quality content for search engine optimization (SEO) and social media. This will not just establish yourself as a thought leader, but also promote your medical products. Content marketing at every stage of the user journey is a must.

Measure what’s working – and what’s not

Effective measuring of your campaigns across all digital marketing channels is a must in today’s landscape. It’s not just important for your online reputation, but also for your results. Beyond visibility scores, you need to attribute on the physician level what’s working and what’s not.

New technologies allow brands to measure their impact down to the NPI level and attribute campaigns to prescription lift.

Physician marketing in a nutshell

In physician marketing, your targeted persona is a multimedia doctor. Consumer brands long understood the shift to new digital technologies, pharma, and medical marketers need to keep up with the newest trends. Deterministic, measurable media buys across different media outlets and formats – at scale – are the norm.