Breaking Out of the “Bermuda Triangle” - Persuadable Research Corporation

A Qualitative Conversation with HCPs about in-office marketing of OTCs

pharmacy - 400wCHALLENGES

A new company with a line of health products needed to determine the most efficient way to inform Healthcare professionals (HCPs) about their products.

  • Do we need the reps to talk to the HCPs?
  • Or do we mail information kits to the HCPs?
  • Where is the best ROI?
  • If we give them a kit – what is the ideal kit? What are the key components?
  • Should it be clinical? Should it be testimonials? Should it be endorsements from other HCPs? Pictures?
  • Who should it be sent to? The Dr.? The RN? The PA?

After conversations with the client, we agreed to approach this qualitatively using a Bulletin Board Focus Group (BBFG). While not offering the rigor of a quantitative study, a BBFG reveals nuances that can only be gathered in a qualitative study. The qualitative approach allowed us to explore the vocabulary and the process surrounding such materials from the perspective of the target user.

We shared a few detailing kits, both inside and outside the target health category, to gauge HCPs’ reactions to various components of the detailing kit


The contents of the ideal OTC introduction kit were identified. It is important to have an appealing presentation, but it’s also important to have the information in the right place.

  • The introductory kit must be simple, yet informative, with visually appealing graphics.
  • Medical professionals like coupons and samples that they can give to their patients.

When asked what they wanted in a detailed kit, the typical physician response was, “It depends.”  Ultimately, it depends on what the underlying condition is. In this situation, the HCPs didn’t want all the clinical data.  They just wanted to know it’s available, if they need it.

The research also showed:

  • Patient financial and medical well-being is a concern.
  • Patient education is key.
  • HCPs appreciate information they can share with their patients that simplifies their communication with the patient and helps them save time in explaining it to the patient.
  • Patient brochures must be informative, clear and visually appealing to help patients understand and retain.
  • For OTC treatments for simple conditions, such as those which were targeted, medical professionals do not need as much detail in an introductory kit as they would for prescription drugs.
  • Patients can drive awareness, bringing brands to the attention of the HCP
  • HCPs gain awareness the same way the patients do.
  • A national TV campaign would help support mailed communications.
  • Time is of the essence.
  • A sales rep would not be required.
  • Every physician’s office has a closet where products go, never to be seen again: “The Bermuda Triangle” of the Drs’ office. This makes it all the more important that marketing materials can be easily displayed and stand out from the rest of the crowd in the office storage closet.


The client got more clarity in terms of the elements they needed to focus on in their kit. Additionally, the research brought consensus between the client, the marketing consultants and the graphic design firm on what the ideal kit for this category looked like.

The research gave direction for how to optimally use every piece of the kit to their advantage.

  • How much clinical data to be used? (The client didn’t need to use all the clinical data they had.)
  • What kind of tools/pictures/infographics should be used to make it patient-friendly?

Originally, the client intended to create a kit to educate the physicians, but based on the research the kit focused more on providing materials for physicians to educate their patients. So, in reality, the kit is really for the patient, not the doctor.