Digital Medical Media: How to Deliver an Edge to Physicians and Advertisers Alike

Contributed by:

Doug Grose, President Digital, Frontline Medical Communications

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What is driving the trend to provide digital engagement and messaging to physicians?

PV0916_DougGroseIncreasing numbers of physicians blocked from detailing necessitating rapid growth in non-personal communications.  Also, data and ability to measure return has only recently become a meaningful reality – pharma now require standardized rich data feeds as best practice.

What are some of the digital challenges facing medical publishers, i.e., ROI, reach, etc.?  

While the physician media niche is rapidly ascending the technology curve, success still lies in the basics — reach, measurable performance, and return, and to that, I add quality. Billion-dollar products with target audiences often in the low five figures make quality of audience and context of engagement, among other factors, more important than in possibly any other media niche.

You have been leading the digital charge at Frontline for some time, what are your observations about how digital is changing communications to and with physicians?  

The market now demands one-to-one physician-level targeting and data, and we have long embraced that dynamic. Five years ago, we identified the value to advertisers of highly targeted reach, deep contextual engagement and robust performance data, and implemented a data management platform (DMP) coupled with a validated physician database (recently audited by BPA — a media company first) to meet that need.

How have some of the cutting-edge media companies influenced your thinking?

We found our inspiration in the recommendation engines of Amazon and Google, as well as leading consumer media companies such as NYTimes and Condé Nast. A major push for us involves one-to-one machine learning and user personalization across each of our 25-plus million physician touchpoints every month. For advertisers in a crowded marketplace, this equals standout results through greater contextual relevance.

In the area of physician self-assessment quizzes, we sought to meet the continuous need of physicians to challenge their knowledge. Doctors simply love learning interactively, and consequently clients love the strength of these engagements — an average of 15-plus page views and four-plus minutes per session – producing annual run rate of 4 million clinical questions answered.

My greatest pride comes from creating a startup mindset inspired by my time at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the companies of greater Silicon Valley.

What are some ways to address the digital challenges facing medical publishers?

Achieving truly differentiated quality for advertisers eludes nearly all media companies. To discover El Dorado, we are taking the radical step – ahead of the market – of 100% of sold engagements tied to validated doctors. This market earthquake not only provides authentication (zero waste), it also turbocharges all engagement stats. For example, session time, pages/session, contextual relevance, high view-ability, and low nonhuman traffic.

Covering almost every physician specialty — often with more than one brand/specialty – giving clients the benefit of our combined reach of their targets has been a challenge unique to Frontline. We just launched amalgamating all 30 Frontline brands — enhancing each underlying specialty brand, including improved organization obsessively focused on treatment condition context.

We set our goal as nothing less than the state of the art among physician media, and to achieve this, partnered with the same digital development gurus who have built websites for The Economist, Yale University, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and NBC including winning an Emmy for developing Jimmy Fallon’s website. provides its audience and sponsors a real advantage through its incisive, penetrating quality. (PV)

Frontline provides the #2 physician digital engagement resource for advertisers – web reach validated by Kantar Media – through 30 physician specialty brands, turbocharged this month with new platform. For more information, visit

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