Research shows that working with credible healthcare professionals is key in the food, health, and nutrition space. But, what do you need to know before engaging with healthcare professionals?

At Eat Well Global, we know that the answer lies in research and insights. Listening to healthcare professionals (HCPs) will get you closer to the truth about what your consumers want and need.

In my past consumer insights positions, I rarely saw healthcare professionals’ insights featured in, or even paired with, consumer insights. Companies mostly rely on in-store data, traditional media, digital marketing, and social media influencers. I now realize that brands are missing a huge opportunity when it comes to really understanding their customers.

If you want your consumers to receive factual, science-based information about your products, engaging with healthcare professionals is a fantastic approach. But without knowledge about the information that healthcare professionals are already sharing with your patients, there may be a leak in your consumer messaging - and your budget.

We recommend the following approach when you first set out to engage with healthcare professionals:

1. Healthcare Professional Targeting: Start with the Who

The first step is to validate the professions your consumers look to for food advice via a consumer survey. Our consumer research shows that dietitians, nutritionists, and primary care physicians are the most frequently consulted healthcare professionals for food and nutrition advice. But, other professions are key for specific categories. Pharmacists play a crucial role in supplement recommendations, fitness professionals share information about functional foods with their clients, and cardiologists educate their patients on heart-healthy diets. If you’re not sure which healthcare professions to target, a simple, inexpensive consumer survey is the best place to start.

2. Healthcare Professional Insights: Accept the Nuance 

Like any professional, healthcare professionals have different schools of thought. They receive different education, rely on different sources, and dedicate different levels of effort to stay informed about nutrition. They also have their own personal and cultural preferences, all of which influence their thoughts and opinions about food and nutrition. This is why it’s important to gauge product perception and endorsement, identify education needs, and test messages among the healthcare profession via surveys and focus groups.

3. Healthcare Professional Strategy: Activate your HCPs

At this stage, the insights you've gathered should already provide you with a better-informed strategy for your direct-to-consumer engagement. And if you’re considering engaging with healthcare professionals (and we think you should!), you are now equipped with the right knowledge to run a HCP strategy and engagement campaign. You are ready to educate and equip healthcare professionals with science-based content about your products through a range of targeted activations, such as educational webinars, handouts, newsletters, partnerships, or social media.

4. See the Impact of Healthcare Professionals

You will likely find that the immediate impact of this insights-driven engagement is improved sentiment, perception, and likelihood of recommendation for your brand among HCPs. With time, this strategy will lead to increased consumer engagement around your products, which eventually leads to sales and more demand for healthy diets.

Ready to take your HCP engagement and marketing to the next level with customized healthcare professional insights and strategy? Contact our team today to see how we can create your healthcare professional marketing journey.