storytelling marketing strategy pharma
Posted on
March 13, 2017 by Actando Consulting Team LEARNING SOLUTIONS > Blended Learning

Storytelling Your Way Into the Doctor's Office


Storytelling Marketing in the Pharmaceutical Industry | Great stories are passed on. Great stories often light up social media channels. And great stories compel people to change. A great medical or healthcare story can also engage, educate and stimulate debate, and influence. Through storytelling, you can also reinforce memory and compliance, and improve a patient’s experience and health outcomes.

It is with relevant content that stories can be taken to physicians that they can use, share, and discuss. Stories are social at their very core, and they can be used to answer questions the physicians and their patients seek. The challenge is figuring out how to introduce and then tell a compelling story in a way that aligns to the needs and priorities of the physicians and their patients, while also aligning to your brand goals. How do you tell a great story that gets you in the door again and again?


3 Compelling Reasons to Use Storytelling Marketing

  1. Humans from the dawn of time have told and craved stories. A good story is simply mentally richer than facts and figures. It short cuts the decoding mode normally associated with absorbing complex information and goes straight to the retention mode.

  2. A story can motivate and inspire acceptance of new information or treatments, and it can explain complex information in a digestible way – and often in a much shorter space of time.  It can also engage the physician and/or patient and get them involved by being two way and collaborative in nature.

  3. As a story can ignite empathy and imagination, it is more likely to be remembered long after your Representative has left the clinic or your physician or patients has consumed your digital content. If the story is compelling enough, it can be retold and enriched with new information from the physician’s or patient’s own experiences, thus the story begins to be adopted as their own.

One story can, in effect, open the door to more conversations.


What Makes a Great Story?

The following advise is from one of the best-selling authors and marketing guru: Seth Godin’s blog "How to tell a great story".

  • "A great story is true. Not necessarily because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. Consumers are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for a marketer to get away with a story that’s just slapped on".
  • "Great stories make a promise. They promise fun, safety or a shortcut. The promise needs to be bold and audacious. It’s either exceptional or it’s not worth listening to".
  • "Great stories are trusted. Trust is the scarcest resource we’ve got left. No one trusts anyone. As a result, no marketer succeeds in telling a story unless he has earned the credibility to tell that story".
  • "Great stories are subtle. Talented marketers understand that allowing people to draw their own conclusions is far more effective than announcing the punch line".
  • "Great stories happen fast. First impressions are far more powerful than we give them credit for. Either you are ready to listen or you aren’t".
  • "Great stories don’t appeal to logic, but they often appeal to our senses. Pheromones aren’t a myth. People decide if they like someone after just a sniff".
  • "Great stories are rarely aimed at everyone. If you need to water down your story to appeal to everyone, it will appeal to no one. The most effective stories match the worldview of a tiny audience-and then that tiny audience spreads the story".
  • "Great stories don’t contradict themselves. Consumers are clever and they’ll see through your deceit at once.”


Healthcare Storytelling Marketing Strategy

Can you involve the physician and their patients in your story? If you can, they will more likely to be open to your arguments.   

Think of your product as a main character, and all the ways it can affect the physicians and the patients. These are the stories to be told. Your story needs to explain why your product matters to them. Give them a reason to care. Position yourself as a partner in your story, the one who knows what the challenges are that they are grabbling with and provide value-added content. 

This also means your story needs to be able to be delivered in a tailored fashion to the different physician segments and archetypes receiving the story, and their different types of patients. Ensure you are answering their questions. Can they see themselves in the content and the storyline?

Don’t try to put everything into one long complex story. Consider which channels you are using and how the story might need to be told differently. Break your story up in to bite-size chunks, with clear messages, that can be told as mini stories, building over multiple visits to multiple channels.

Brand Management Training Storytelling Marketing



The door to the doctor’s office is not always a physical one. It can be a virtual one too. Truly effective storytelling whether physically or digitally, requires relevant customer centric content, skill, feedback, training and regular practice. Persevere and continue to iterate as your knowledge and skills in storytelling develop.

The benefits for the physician, the patient and your brand are significant. The payoff is more engaging interactions, and this in turn can lead to better physician-patient communications and more effective healthcare delivery.

If you are interested in our mobile learning solutions on digital channels, contact Actando

The Actando Consulting Team