Article by Ann Dosen
Recently we scheduled several sessions with Young Physicians to discuss their thoughts on in-person meetings. Our goal is to find out what young physicians are looking for when selecting their meetings, including locations, content, cost, time of year, and more. Here’s the problem we ran into – only 10% of people that signed up for a session actually showed up! We did our best to schedule sessions on days and at time when we felt physicians would be able to attend and we even gave away prizes to get their attention.
This was frustrating, to say the least. I thought a lot about why this happened and how the problem is not unique to us – meeting planners probably deal with the same issue. So, what’s the answer? How do we grab the attention of young physicians AND keep them engaged? I won’t claim to have the perfect solution but here are a couple of tips:
Find a leader. You’ve heard of influencers, right? You need an influencer, or ambassador to reach young physicians for you. Find a group of motivated, connected young physicians to help spread your message to their colleagues. Consider incentivizing the group somehow. Young physicians are influenced by their peers – and that’s not a bad thing. They rely on suggestions from friends, online reviews, and other word of mouth feedback to make a decision.
Be in their faces – constantly. Most times when we (the collective “we”, meaning all of us) plan our email marketing or communication strategy, we are mindful to avoid over communication. We don’t want to bombard busy physicians with our emails. Right? Yes, that is true for many physicians. However, I have found it is not true for young physicians.
Think of it the way a retail company thinks of it. Take, for example, Bath & Body Works (relevant to me because they recently had their annual “Candle Day” and I’ve been reading their emails every day for weeks so I didn’t miss it). I received at least one, sometimes two emails from Bath & Body Works every single day for the past several weeks. Sure, I didn’t open every one but I at least saw the message in my inbox, read the headline, and sometimes scanned through the email. While I may not have read every word of every email, seeing it in my inbox served as a reminder to keep an eye out for Candle Day news.
I believe this method will work for busy young physicians as well. They are used to getting emails for everything, multiple emails, and they serve as a reminder of a commitment. They need the constant messaging so the reminder is kept “top of mind”. When you are promoting your event or communicating important details, schedule multiple emails about it. More than you think you should.
Try segmenting your email database so young physicians are in their own group. That way, you can schedule a bunch of emails for them, while only scheduling a few for the other segment of physicians.