KOLs For An Omnichannel World
The omnichannel world in which future Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) will thrive is vastly different from the world in which current KOLs have excelled. The behaviors of tomorrow's leaders and audiences are undergoing a transformative shift that sets them apart from the norms we have grown accustomed to for so long.
Information dissemination has become more constant and standardized across various digital platforms. Today's audiences can access bite-sized updates through a range of tools at their convenience through multiple channels, rather than relying solely on seasonal engagements at conferences and industry events. These evolving audiences serve as a blueprint for the future, especially in a world where communication, conversation, and engagement with HCPs can occur through multiple touch points and channels. Failing to cater to their preferences risks missing out on their attention, and ultimately, missing out on the audiences of the future.
Let's consider the KOLs currently leading your initiatives. You may have a solid understanding of which KOLs to engage for traditional touchpoints such as congresses and educational events. Much of this endorsement is derived from publicly available data on their past activities. However, can you confidently rely on these same KOLs to deliver the desired messages across all the channels that constitute your omnichannel strategy? Can they adapt to the format, style, and didactic nuances across the multitude of options that make up your strategic engagement and communication plans?
We must also consider the audience that receives your content. The medical workforce, consisting of 70% digital natives, consumes new information while commuting, doing chores, or waiting for their clinic appointments. Whose voice do they want to listen to? Whose opinions matter to them? Who has the potential to guide their behavior? And how does this vary by specific channel?
It’s not just channel, but also content that matters. Achieving true omnichannel success goes beyond simply utilizing different channels or touchpoints because it also involves understanding the level of knowledge and the specific needs of each healthcare professional (HCP). A senior expert may desire more advanced information on your latest data release, while a frontline HCP may simply need a summary of "what does this mean for my patients?". So which KOL is best positioned to lead these different types of content and resonate with both the audience and their unique needs?
Finally, within each channel, it is essential to understand not only the reach of KOL voices but also the characteristics of the listeners. Who are they? Where are they located? Who do they want to hear from? How do they want to hear?
Even if you have a persuasive, compelling, data-driven piece of content, achieving true omnichannel integration requires careful consideration of which KOL is most suitable to lead and present that content across each channel. This consideration encompasses all the aforementioned factors.
Therefore, finding the right KOL for each activity, channel, and audience becomes even more critical. The success of your strategy lies at the intersectionality of these three parameters.
From all the above, it should be evident that simply evaluating someone's publication history, speaking engagements, or social media presence is no longer sufficient to identify KOLs most suited to your omnichannel. Databases driven by such data sets won’t tell you anything about influence, impact, opinion, or how much a KOL resonates with the target audience through a specific channel.
Because in an omnichannel world the view of peers and audiences, and the way they want to consume and engage with your content, will matter more than ever before, with all of it customised to advancing the strategic imperatives of just one brand – yours.
Keywords: KOL identification, KOL mapping, omnichannel, KOL engagement, KOL strategy