1. Policy – Make sure your company has a set policy in place with respect to honoraria and travel expenses. This saves a lot of time during the negotiation period and clearly lays out the guidelines that you, your brands and your organization are willing to work within. Never set random honoraria…KOLs talk and word travels fast. Your brands cannot bear the burden of “playing favorites” within the clinician community.
2. Let Your Agency Handle the Arrangements – If you employ an agency partner and they are ensconced within your healthcare arena, let them do the heavy lifting. Arrangements, venues, travel, honoraria, etc. can become incredibly taxing on a marketing professional’s time. A great account service representative from your agency should be able to do this in their sleep and they also act as a buffer zone between you and the desired clinical speaker.
3. Now Presenting – Make sure that your KOL has state-of-the-art presentation materials. We are in a totally new sensory learning environment. It’s not just about being a great speaker anymore. Slide presentations should be dynamic and have video or hyperlinks built in. Your KOLs should also be able to handle mobile audience participation. Spend the money making these the best possible speaking engagements.
4. A Little Market Research – Ask your customers who they like to hear from the podium. Ask a few short and sweet questions using Survey Monkey if you do not have an online research tool. You might be surprised by whom they wish to hear from!
5. Social Graces – Do your KOLs have a social media presence and if so, how big is their bandwidth? It is important that there is a waiting audience online after your programming has ended. It also is a great measurement tool for popularity, clinical knowledge and response time.
6. On Tour? – How many speaking engagements is your KOL doing on an annual basis? A KOL who has too many dates may also be representing too many brands, even competitive ones. No matter how great the speaker is one that is perceived to “play the field” will not be the best choice to represent your corporate or marketing strategies.
7. Live or Memorex? – Make sure that you, the marketing professional, have seen your KOLs in a live environment. A video audition role or online viewing is not good enough. You want your speaker to be engaging, have impact, interact with the audience and be quick on her feet with respect to dissemination of proper knowledge. If you are employing a young or up-and-coming KOL – provide them with media and public speaking training. It will pay off in the short and long term for your brands.
8. Science, Selling or Both? – In our highly regulated marketing world – a good KOL will have a healthy mix of science and personal experience with your brand – make sure that is showcased. If the presentation falls more heavily to one side, your audience could either become bored or disenchanted. Balance of message is the key.
9. We’re Getting Feedback – Make sure that attendees (live audience or online) are provided with some type of review form where they rate the speaker, materials, presentation, etc. This is critical in making the best programming going forward. Keep the rating scale simple, though, and leave room for personal commentary.
10. ROI Baby! – You should immediately begin tracking the efficacy of the KOL…whether it is in the specific geographical location where they just spoke, or by tracking sales/inquiries immediately following an event. By doing this, you can hopefully replicate, tweak or change things during the next event. Try doing a simple formula of Cost/Benefit Analysis…How much did it cost to put on the event and have this KOL compared to the change in sales, revenue, lead qualifications and requests?