Marketers have more choices available to them than ever before to reach their targets. Finding the right channels to reach healthcare professionals (HCPs) might be a straightforward proposition, but there is no single solution for creating a good channel mix. Making decisions about when and how often to reach out to HCPs will dramatically affect the reach and response rate of a campaign.

Even when the message is clear, consistent, and compelling, entire campaigns can go unnoticed because of the competitive landscape and demands on HCPs’ time. This waste in advertising stems from market noise and advertising clutter. It’s the single biggest problem for marketing today as shown by the decline in response rate to all tactics.

Flash saturation

One solution to simply getting noticed might be sustained campaigning and saturating the market. But creating that kind of market saturation for a peer-to-peer education event may not be practical because of the short-duration campaign cycle and audience segmentation. Our own Avant Healthcare marketing data suggest shorter drive times and focused segmentation yield the highest response rates. However, some concepts related to market saturation can still be applied and affect the outcome. By integrating tactics that deliver in a very short time frame (such as on the same day or one day apart) greater responses can be generated for the campaign as a whole. Generating quick saturation is ideal when the channels can be controlled in an on/off manner and where audiences can be segmented. Authenticated and targeted physician network media placement, direct mail, personalized e-mail, and outbound telemarketing are all ideal for arranging in this manner.

Program example

The following example shows three e-mail and three direct mail tactics timed to deliver over the course of about three weeks. Communications were timed to deliver on Tuesday and Wednesday based on historical data from healthcare event registration.


The average response rate to direct mail (regardless of industry) is 3.70%. To generate a response to direct mail requires the target audience to both understand the call to action and type in the Web address to visit the registration site. Direct mail targets have a higher commitment to register because they are often more informed due to the completeness of information in the direct mail piece.

Conversely, an e-mail response only requires users to recognize that there is an offer to generate an action. The convenience of the click often delivers a high number of targets to the registration site, but they may not ultimately register. This could be because they may have been seeking additional information (which was not supplied) or the registration process itself may be challenging. Even with the ease of response, e-mail (again, regardless of industry) sees a much lower response average rate of 1.90% and an even lower registration (or conversion) rate.

By recognizing that direct mail can be better at building awareness and e-mail is better at providing a path of least resistance to the offer, marketers can maximize the combined response rate of the campaign by combining both of these tactics during a short period of time.

In the example above, by carefully timing the delivery of each e-mail to coincide with the delivery of direct mail, each cycle of the e-mail campaign saw an increase of an additional 3.31% over the industry average of 1.9%.

So, though cost and technology may tell you e-mail is the way to go, consider the impact that direct mail and print materials combined can have to improve the response rate, and ultimately, your registrations.


About the author

Stephen Erickson

Stephen brings skills with multiple automation platforms, geared toward B2B & ABM marketing. In addition, he is proficient in engagement planning, journey mapping, user experience, brand management, graphic design, and front-end development.

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