Brand loyalty is an essential part of marketing anything. Every industry relies on brand loyalty for the majority of its customers. In terms of long-term profitability, the objective of a brand is to instil loyalty in its consumers. Short-term sales work for cash flow, but they don’t ensure the survival of a company for any great length of time.
Many medical market research specialists, believes it’s important for brands to strengthen physician relationships by increasing their marketing frequency, without removing short-term streams of income.
Loyalty and Disloyalty
Before looking at how loyalty improves the doctor/brand connection, it’s important to understand what loyalty and disloyalty is.
Loyalty to a brand, due to good branding practices, means the physician will actively look for your brand whenever they need something. They’ll explore your website and view your range happily. Other brands won’t gain much consideration.
Disloyalty means you’ll be actively avoided. It’s rare for a brand to get to this point. Most physicians are indifferent to a brand, or they’ll only remain loyal to a certain type of product.
How Loyalty Helps Brands and Physicians
Loyalty to a brand comes as a direct result of how the brand treats its customers. In other words, if it delivers consistently on its promises loyalty will develop over time. There are many factors that go into developing brand loyalty, and they include:
Treating the physician fairly and giving them a good deal.
Supplying quality products.
Understanding the needs of the physician.
Providing a wide range of services.
These things are only provided by those brands with a successful product patients can benefit from. Physicians stake everything on their reputations. If they don’t supply good products from reputable brands, they will suffer.
Loyalty enables both the brand and the physician to succeed. The brand gains the reputation of being a quality supplier, and will likely gain more business through recommendations. The physician is able to have all of their needs fulfilled by the brand with a minimum of fuss.
The Role of the Brand
The role of the brand has changed. They’re no longer expected just to supply products and samples. They’re expected to offer a range of services. And this has been linked with the increasing role of the physician.
If we look at the doctor of the future, they’re expected to do everything from digitising their medical records to acting as a product testing department for new additions to the market.
In some ways, this has made developing loyalty both easier and harder. It’s easier because now we have a clear path for how to establish it. On the other hand, it’s more difficult because brands are expected to do more to gain this loyalty. The industry is more competitive than ever before. An increasingly globalised world has contributed to this.
And the globalised world has made it especially difficult to measure loyalty.
Measuring with Metrics
Determining how much loyalty you have is something you’ll never get an accurate figure for. The human mind changes all the time. Someone better might come along tomorrow and steal your regular clients.
The way loyalty is measured is actually quite simplistic. Customer satisfaction is by far the most used metric, despite the fact there are serious questions about the accuracy of customer satisfaction methodology.
Another major metric is what patients think. Patient profiling can tell a brand what a client won’t necessarily reveal. You have to understand the patient is the person who receives the product last. The doctor is essentially a retailer buying stock from a wholesaler (the brand).
The physician is going to buy based on what his consumer group is looking for. Use patient profiling to determine what patients are buying and what they want right now. This can enable you to tailor your products to what they want. And this is going to instil loyalty due to the fact you’re providing the physician with something that fulfils his or her needs.
Summing it Up
For a physician developing a brand they want to stay loyal to a brand. It gives them peace of mind. What’s changed over the last few years is an increasing importance on satisfying a wide range of services. Pharmaceutical companies need to think more about what patients want.
They’ve realised there are so many more channels they have to focus on. The time of the short-term sale is over. This is something that has been relegated to a relatively small part of a brand’s revenue. Whilst it should never pull back on these campaigns, it needs to focus additional resources onto increasing satisfaction rates.
Loyalty is now the essence of medical marketing. It does everything from guarantee regular income to fighting off competitors without having to do anything. And the best part about it is both parties in the business relationship benefit from this way of doing things.