Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) or Thought Leaders (TLs) are those physicians who impact the medical practice of their colleagues in many ways including best practices and procedures. Thought leaders are selected by pharmaceutical companies and are often identified using intelligent software that identifies these clinicians based on specific criteria. These providers are selected mainly to get feedback, guide strategic and tactical marketing decisions and as speakers.
TLs give lectures, conduct clinical trials and make presentations on behalf of pharmaceutical companies. They work closely with pharmaceutical companies to help them research, launch and market new drugs. The planning and targeting of these individuals is a valuable component of successful research and marketing for pharmaceutical companies.
In today’s high tech and digital era, companies need access to a broad array of actionable data in order to be successful in gathering and executing on this market intelligence. BioPharma companies that successfully build long-lasting relationships with TLs benefit greatly from the investments made in managing these relationships.
Key Opinion Leaders meet the needs across multiple departments:
- Medical Affairs: They work as consultants to advise on current medical trends, procedures and research.
- Drug discovery: They help write protocols and participate in clinical trial research.
- Sales and Marketing: They speak on behalf of companies to help educate the medical community and medical institutions. This information helps increase adoption and the proper use of new drugs and reduces adverse events.
Thus, we see that thought leader targeting plays a major role for BioPharma companies. They are apex clinicians whose views and discoveries are acknowledged by the medical community. They are innovators by nature, seeking the best possible ways to improve patient outcomes. Clinical research, medical education, speaking, sales and marketing are all contracted services done by TLs. This is why selecting these individuals is a priority for most life science companies.
The metrics used to rate thought leaders and analyze the ways they affect the diffusion of ideas and medical information helps in the ongoing process of managing this provider initiative. Relationships, affiliations, clinical research and publications all add to the TL’s profile. It is important to track how the opinions of TLs affect the medical community.
Thousands of providers gain in stature each year through their accomplishments and identifying the best with the highest ethical standards is key but training is also needed. Working together with companies that provide thought leader training programs helps these individuals keep abreast of legal and regulatory requirements to ensure that proper procedures and protocols are always employed. Thought Leaders work as both emissaries and critics for the industry. With the advent of social media, the internet and enhanced connectivity among providers the use of these individuals is a vital component to brand success.