HCP Marketing, Part 1: Understanding HCP Segmentation for Targeting and Messaging

This is part 1 of a 3-part blog series all about HCP marketing. This part reviews segmentation and messaging. Then part 2 reviews content development, followed by part 3, covering content promotion and optimization.

Marketing to doctors is hard. We’ve said it before, and we will say it again and again. So why is this the case? Well, the market is crowded, doctors are busy, and big pharma can outspend you – just to name a few. The good news is that your HCP marketing can stand out if you implement the right strategy – and HCP segmentation is the first step in getting started.

Want a quick overview on effective HCP marketing?

Download: Marketing to Doctors: A Quick Guide

HCP Segmentation

A lot of companies struggle with segmentation. For example, marketing to “doctors” is way too broad of an audience. You need to filter down to a smaller and more highly targeted group for maximum impact.

When creating your segments, tailor your message and targeting based on HCP segmentation that considers:



Physicians often professionally self-identify based on their specialty. Even if your product or service isn’t inherently specialty-specific, narrowing campaigns based on specialty provides a lot of insight into the demographics within it (e.g., income level, setting, gender prevalence, the impact of COVID, or other outsized factors, etc.).


Hospitalist or office-based? Solo practice or government-employed? Different physicians inhabit radically different work environments. This impacts everything from how much influence they have over purchase decisions to how they get their mail.


State and national borders influence everything from regulations to payment models to income levels and more. Therefore, limiting campaigns based on geography can be a straightforward method of optimizing spend.

Payment Models

How you are reimbursed for your product or service, as well as the level of understanding required of physicians in executing payment, should be a critical factor in your go-to-market strategy. Make getting paid as easy and as painless as possible.

Traditional marketing demographics won’t be particularly helpful here. Make sure your HCP segmentation is based on the things that have impacts on the buying potential of your product or solution.



This type of clinical marketing requires presenting your product in a way that allows doctors to validate benefits on their own. You must build trust by keeping patient safety and benefits top of mind, not creating the appearance of financial conflicts.


Almost half of the doctors in the US run their own practices, so they sometimes have to wear this hat (even if they have hired people to handle this day to day). If this is who you’re talking to, include your economic argument but don’t let it be at the cost of patient well-being.


As it turns out, doctors are humans too. They have lives outside of their practices, including families, homes, financial responsibilities, hobbies, etc. While being a doctor is a self-defining characteristic for many, don’t forget that they’re people too.

Doctors may wear a lot of different hats, depending on where they work. The position you’re appealing to will help you develop more specific messaging.

Ok, we segmented…

Now that we have a better understanding of our specific HCP segmentation, including audience demographics and positioning it time to create some content for them!

Want to get all 3 parts of our guide?
Download: Marketing to Doctors: A Quick Guide

Want help in developing and deploying an HCP marketing strategy?

Rich Quarles

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