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eDay 2016: Valtech and Philips present case on how to use B2B marketing to engage healthcare professionals

November 02, 2016

Digital is changing the world of the healthcare professional radically thanks to connected devices, health apps, e-commerce and new (digital) patient demands. For health technology companies like Philips, these trends raise challenging questions: How can we truly engage with health care professionals? How can we empower them with the right digital tools and services?

During Emerce eDay 2016, Milan Verstegen, digital strategy consultant at Valtech Netherlands, and Joan Regan, digital marketing manager of Philips Oral Healthcare Professional, gave a co-presentation into the digital world of Philips Oral Healthcare and how the company is stepping up to the digital challenge.

Digital is crucial to reaching dentists

Imagine the situation: you’re in your dentist’s chair for your annual checkup when suddenly she starts enthusiastically recommending this fantastic new electric toothbrush. It could be that your dentist is an enormous Philips fan and so recommends the brand. Or maybe she is a lifelong Oral B ambassador and so recommends that brand. The brand preference and therefore the brand recommendations made by dental professionals to their patients is tremendously important to brands such as Philips and Oral B. More than 40% of consumers' purchase decisions are influenced by their dentist. 40%! These brands are therefore doing everything in their power to influence the recommendations of dental professionals. And digital is a key instrument.

Philips recognizes the need to step up to this digital challenge. First, its target audience is changing radically. A new generation of digitally savvy dentists and hygienists are entering the profession. Second, competitors such as Oral B are leveraging digital to claim their presence in this domain. Needing an accelerated digital performance but lacking the requisite digital capabilities, Philips came to Valtech two years ago with a request: “Help us to drive, digitally, dental professionals to recommend Philips to patients.”

Improve your customers’ business

The team began with a research phase to gain clear customer and business insights. Based on these, the team devised a digital strategy that focused primarily on improving the business of dental professionals. Improving their business by offering easy-to-use digital services, such as online product ordering and product testing requests, helping them to get new patients, helping them to educate themselves, helping them to educate their patients, and much more. All these digital services help dental professionals to drive more revenue, work more efficiently, and to give better care to their patients. And that creates real brand loyalty.

We executed the strategy by defining three phases during which we would gradually build digital capabilities and best-in-class digital touchpoints.

Three-step strategy

In the first phase, we focused on getting the basics right. If you want to craft the best digital services out there, you first need a solid digital foundation. So, together with Philips’ digital team, we devised a digital strategy and roadmap, envisioned the customer journey of the future, and created rich, knowledge-based content. We also started building basic analytics and dashboarding capabilities, and experimenting with important digital marketing channels, such as LinkedIn.

Attract new clients

With the basics in place, we entered the second phase. Here, the goal was to establish best-in-class digital services. One example of such a digital service is providing leads to dental professionals. New dentists and dentists who are launching a whitening practice, for example, clearly need new patients. So we created an app for consumers called the Zoom app. With it, a consumer can pick up her mobile phone, open the app, and take a picture of her teeth. The app automatically recognizes how white your teeth are. Based on this, you can then change how white they are and you see how you would look with a nice Hollywood smile. Finally, you can send a picture of your improved self to your friends via social – and make an appointment, directly, with a whitening dentist, to really get those white teeth.

Educate and teach

The Dental Hub is another example of a digital service we are developing. The Dental Hub is an app that gives dental professionals instant access to a range of educational tools for themselves and their patients. In the Dental Hub, they can find the latest scientific papers on their preferred topic, discover interesting events to attend, find the latest video of that event online, and follow online training courses. They can select articles or videos and send them to their patients in one click. Currently, knowledge is dispersed across a wide range of resources, including such as YouTube, blogs, scientific journals, magazines, and so, which takes a lot of time to monitor. Time they don’t have. The Dental Hub saves them time and helps them to become better.

Smart, data-based services

With these services, we have the basics in place. A few years ago, this would have been enough. But today we live in a connected world, where it’s all about data. Philips is no exception. Philips’ connected toothbrush, for example, can track and monitor patients’ brushing habits: how often they brush, the pressure they apply, and the time they spend on focus areas such as areas with decay. An app can provide reports to the patient and her dentist. This changes the game of B2B digital marketing. In the third phase, therefore, the focus is on offering smart services based on data. Of course, this brings challenges with it, such as data protection and privacy laws, but it also opens a world of opportunity to offer even better digital services.

To conclude, Philips and Valtech have devised a digital strategy to influence dental professionals’ recommendations that is based on improving their business. The end goal is to turn dental professionals into true and lifelong brand ambassadors. So that the next time you find yourself in the dentist’s chair, your dentist will certainly recommend a Philips toothbrush.

PS: as said before, the presentation took place during the Emerce eDay event in Amsterdam. Curious to see how it went? Check the video.

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