DOLs in Pharma: An Exploration
While influencer marketing has been around for as long as there’s been advertising—think Santa Claus and Coca-Cola, Michael Jordan and Nike, Britney Spears and Pepsi—digital influencer marketing is relatively new and has become ubiquitous with the emergence of social media. (Today, 93% of marketers across all industries are engaging in influencer marketing.1) In healthcare, digital influencer marketing, and specifically DOLs, are an even newer phenomenon, and many healthcare marketers are asking themselves: what exactly is a DOL? Is it a celebrity? A famous doctor? Are KOLs the same as DOLs?
Non-HCP celebrities are certainly “influencers,” but they don’t meet the criteria for a DOL. Nor are celebrity partnerships guaranteed to be advantageous for pharmaceutical companies. Khloé Kardashian, a famous reality television personality, become a spokesperson for a migraine drug and the reception of the partnership was quite unfavorable among the general public.2 Additionally, there’s little evidence that non-HCP celebrity endorsements of therapies have any sway among practicing HCPs.