Strategies for increasing doctor engagement through digital platforms

by fizkes
by fizkes

What are the top proven strategies for reaching millennial physicians?

Your pharma marketing strategies must reach the right physicians at the right time

The medical industry has changed beyond recognition throughout the last decade. The accelerating digital transformation, changing demographics, and technological advancements – have all shaped modern-day healthcare. In this new environment, traditional marketing strategies might no longer be effective.

Let’s put it straight - marketing is essentially all about delivering value that meets the needs of the target audience. Whether you rely on medical content creation, performance marketing, or social media activities, your marketing strategies must reach the right physicians at the right time. But before you start an expensive promotion, you must understand your target group – who they are, what they want, and where you can find them.

Read more and learn about proven strategies for increasing today’s doctor engagement through digital platforms.

A new generation of doctors

Digital native doctors or millennial doctors are the physicians who have been surrounded by technology, social media, mobile devices, computers, and the internet for most of their lives. In contrast to the previous generations, their medical education was facilitated thanks to numerous digital educational resources.

Digital native doctors who are they

Today, millennial doctors function in an environment shaped by numerous technologies, which continue to expand. Concerning their “internet habits”, they are accustomed to tapping into digital platforms on a daily basis – not only after but also during their clinical practice. Having a smartphone in a pocket and a computer in a doctor’s office, digital tools help them simplify their workflow, connect with other HCPs, educate, and self-improve. Acknowledging that there’s no surprise that millennial physicians spend on average more than 8 hours a day on screens – 5 hours using electronic health records and 3 hours consulting external search websites, according to recent studies [1].

Facts about digital native doctors

While looking at such digitally-savvy behavior, it might seem that reaching today’s doctor has never been easier. In fact, healthcare marketing is much more challenging than it seems.

New challenges of reaching digital HCPs

With the expansion of the digital sphere, the number of online health-related information reaches the extreme. Millennial physicians are flooded with promotional materials from pharma, becoming increasingly selective in terms of the content they consume. Brought up surrounded by digital tools, they can distinguish high-quality from low-quality information at a glance and know where to look for a trusted source of knowledge. What’s more, accustomed to staying in touch with their peers via social media, they seek human connections from the companies they would potentially rely on. 

To put it straight, if a digital doctor doesn’t trust a platform or isn’t interested in something online, they will skip your article and not even get to the part about your product advertising.

Digital native doctor

Thus, millennial HCPs are much more demanding when consuming content. To reach today’s doctors, new healthcare marketing strategies must take these dynamics into consideration.

Top strategies for engaging millennial doctors

#1 Create content that your audience craves, not your company

Creating content that promotes your product from the beginning of the article may be tempting. Arguably, it may be one of the main reasons why 70% of clinical staff claim that companies "do not fully understand their needs and expectations", whereas 62% are "overwhelmed" by the content from pharma [2]”.

To make materials highly engaging to your target audience, you should create medical content that is doctors-centered, not company-centered. Get to know the group you’re writing for and learn about their preferences. This may include targeting the audience and personalization based on their age, geography, specialization, or used devices (desktop, mobile, etc.). Instead of asking, “What do we want to promote?” we recommend you consider the following questions: “How does it speak to my audience? Does it resonate with them? Do we offer them a new, interesting, and insightful perspective?”. Without obtaining the message that corresponds to their needs and key pain points, they will just exit the site and look for more relevant medical content on the web. Not to mention that any mistake will undermine their trust in a particular health-related platform.

Target market physicians

#2 Diversify content types

Correctly identifying the audience’s needs and pain points is half the battle. Next, it all depends on what content you can deliver to them.

Physicians are humans, yet also consumers. Wishing to increase engagement, your medical content should be accurate, include relevant references based on the EBM (Evidence-Based Medicine) approach, and have educational value. However, this doesn’t mean it needs to be monotonous or boring. Read more about high-quality medical content creation here.

Nevertheless, writing high-quality medical content is one thing. Another is broadening the formats of content you provide to your target audience.

As demonstrated in our latest article about Top Healthcare Marketing trends for 2023, exciting, interactive content is currently at the top of the marketing trends across many industries. It includes exceptional visuals, short-form videos, and podcasts.

#3 Short-form videos

The average present-day user watches 19 hours of video content per week [3]. 

Thus, there’s no surprise that in 2023 91% of businesses plan to use video as a marketing tool [3]. Digital channels additionally boost such a trend, granted that all social media channels prioritize video content through algorithms [4].

Short form videos pharma marketing

Medical video content is a great opportunity for healthcare businesses to engage healthcare professionals. Nevertheless, some marketers tend to struggle when trying to come up with new ideas that would be interesting to doctors. 

Where to start? Start with the needs and pain points of your medical audience and consider how you can address them with the use of video language. Write a good script, focus on relevant information, and keep in mind that an effective video needs to tell a story to keep HCPs engaged.

Do some research about digital native doctors

#4 Visual content & infographics

Most marketers are now more and more aware that visuals can make content more digestible and enticing for the target audience. This tendency doesn’t omit healthcare marketing.

When it comes to medical content creation, options for using imagery are limitless. Visuals can be used to simplify a complex health-related issue, explain the mechanisms of action of medication, or depict how a drug should be administered. Infographics may play a particularly significant role in your healthcare marketing strategy, as they are liked and shared on social media more than any other content type.

The power of visual content pharma marketing

If done correctly, infographics can increase doctors' engagement in communicating a certain message quickly and clearly. How to make them effective? Just follow the 5 key steps:

  1. Define goals for your infographic.
  2. Do extensive research and collect up-to-date data.
  3. Visualize the data in a clear and accessible way.
  4. Choose the right template or structure for your image.
  5. Spice it up and add style to your infographic design.
How to make an infographic pharma marketing

#5 Podcasts

The podcasting boom hasn’t stopped in 2023. According to the studies, US consumers listened to 15 billion hours of podcasts in 2021 [5]. Nevertheless, with the growing popularity of podcasts among users comes increasing competition. 

Podcasts are a compelling and engaging solution to reach the target audience in a relatively inexpensive way. It’s an ideal form for physicians who can listen to the content while immersed in other activities, such as exercising or commuting.

Podcasts ideal form of content for physicians

Like other forms of content, the important idea behind any piece of the podcast is that it delivers value for the target audience. Begin with an interesting, up-to-date topic. Do extensive research. Reach out to the leading authority or healthcare influencers, and never forget that quality is the key. 

Podcasts are cost-effective, and if done correctly, they can significantly increase digital doctors' engagement. If you need some support in getting started with your healthcare podcast, get help from professionals who specialize in communication with millennial doctors.

Final thoughts

Healthcare marketing campaigns can boost doctors’ engagement by delivering a value that meets their needs and demands. Effective solutions should be perfectly tailored to the new millennial doctor persona who treats social media and the Internet as a natural source of acquiring knowledge, educating, and communicating with peers. Creating audience-centered content of different types and formats will help you reach your business goals effectively.

When developing a physician content marketing strategy, it can be beneficial to work with a team that specializes in communication with digital doctors. Brandmed is a full-digital agency focused on health-related brands. Our clients trusted us to build and scale their brands while creating, developing, managing, and executing marketing strategies and digital products to maximize business efficiencies. Contact us, and let’s make healthcare digital together.

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  1. Iman Ghosh, How Millennial Doctors Are Transforming Medicine, Visual Capitalist, [last accessed: 05.03.2023].
  2. PwC, Pharma’s route to digitalization, [last accessed: 05.03.2023].
  3. Video Marketing Statistics 2023, 
  4. Clodagh O’Brien, 4 Key Content Marketing Trends for 2023, [last accessed: 05.03.2023].
  5. Adobe Communications Team, The top 10 content marketing trends for 2023 [last accessed: 05.03.2023].
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