Competitive challenges for CME

I just received another great response to a reader's request for information on how to get people to attend her fee-based activities when so many free resources are available. I'm printing it here with his permission:

    There are many more challenges for fee based CME today than there were 10 years ago. Competition from free courses, online and off, is intense. However many fee-based educators are thriving in spite of the challenges. There are several steps involved:

    Messaging--it is important to emphasize the brand, and the fact that fee-based CME is independent and unbiased. This should resonate with more physicians post-Vioxx and other ethics related issues (e.g., ACCME guidelines). It is also important to emphasize the benefit to practitioners of the coursework involved to overcome physician cynicism about CME--(e.g., they just have to get credits but there is no value).

    Targeting--It is more important than ever to properly target promotions. This can be done with commercially available data, including:

    -AMA Physicians Recognition Award winners (AMA-PRA)--This list selection targets about 50,0000 physicians who have qualified for the PRA, indicating that they are interested in and participate in CME.

    -Geographic Data-this can include radius selects of physicians within driving distance of a particular locale and physicians in states which require CME for licensure. In addition, it makes sense to target physicians who are alumni of the sponsoring institution or who were born, trained, or licensed in the state where the course is being held--the rationale is that these physicians may want to revisit old friends or colleagues and be able to tie in such socializing with a trip for the purpose of CME.

    -Specialty Data--this includes targeting by primary and secondary specialty, specialty board certification and subcertification, and residency training specialty. In addition, it makes sense to target specialties whose specialty societies require CME for membership

    -Survey Data--This data identifies physicians who have attended CME courses as well as physician CME preferences by type (e.g, local vs. out of state seminars) and topic (e.g. geriatrics)

    By combining a powerful message with a combination of the above targeting techniques, fee-based CME providers can pinpoint perfect prospects for their promotions and persuade them with a powerful value message. This sort of sophisticated marketing should help improve results.

Thanks to Terry Nugent, VP Marketing, Medical Marketing Service, Inc. for all the advice.

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