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Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) can be a very powerful component of the marketing plan for medical device companies of all sizes. Every day we see numerous advertisements where various types of celebrities are supporting products, services or charitable causes. They are acting as KOLs. In medical device markets, doctors, nurses and sometimes business administrators are our “celebrity” KOLs . An effective KOL can deliver the same credibility and marketing leverage to medical device companies that a sports celebrity can deliver for athletic apparel.
Owners and executives of small companies may mistakenly believe that they cannot afford a relationship with a KOL. This is not true. There are several ways small companies can work with KOLs and not break the bank.
At large pharma and medical device companies, there are entire departments devoted to the management of Key Opinion Leaders. A smaller company without the luxury of a large budget can start a simple, practical and economical KOL program. The next several blog posts will cover practical KOL management strategies and tactics.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways a Key Opinion Leader can be of value:
- Providing product development feedback;
- Speaking at large or small peer to peer events;
- Networking to other KOLs for advisory or political reasons and/or testimonials;
- Organizing and chairing an advisory group;
- Conducting or participating in clinical or marketing studies;
- Authoring media articles and assisting in getting the article placed and published;
- Authoring white papers in support of your products;
- Reviewing sales, marketing and patient education materials; and,
- Acting in a formal role such as “Clinical Advisor”, where you will tout them on your website. They can lend credibility to the claims you make related to your products.
You can see a KOL can be very helpful. The next post will focus on developing a simple KOL plan and budget. Then an important post will be about creating a KOL profile so you approach the right KOL candidates.