Qualitative KOL mapping
If you were trying to identify the most influential people within a large and active Facebook group, would you restrict yourself to analysing “number of posts” and other quantitative metrics only?
In such situations, adding a variety of qualitative inputs – to balance the objective with the subjective – can uncover and yield additional insights about influence and impact.
The same applies to identifying and mapping KOL influence within a group of HCPs.
One such technique is the use of in-depth interviews with HCPs and Experts – having done thousands of these, we know that there is a lot you can learn by talking to a KOL for 45 minutes focussed solely on the subject of “people”! You discover things that no amount of quant research could identify.
Large-scale HCP surveys are another common research vehicle, although this approach is plagued by traditionally low response rates and a scatter-gun philosophy. We’ve seen entire KOL maps (and the related strategic programme) built on just a hundred HCP responses – that’s just not granular enough to give you a true picture.
One way to mitigate this shortcoming is to focus the survey on a specific “expertise level”. An example of this is the “Head of Department” (HOD) survey. Here, you only reach out to HODs, and focus on key centres and hospitals. Everything about the survey, the outreach, the questions about influence, etc., are focussed to that specific cohort – HODs. The results can give you a unique viewpoint on the influence landscape, with a very high participation ratio.
Finally, we can extend the use of Advisory Boards to the issue of HCP mapping itself. We convene a group of established KOLs (through our virtual interactive platform) with the sole purpose of identifying and mapping the key influence drivers and stakeholders within a therapy area, from Regional Tier 2 influencers to national Rising Stars.
In summary, quantitative research is great, but when trying to uncover the deeper influence-drivers amongst a group of irrational and emotional entities (i.e. humans!), targeted qualitative techniques can certainly help as well.
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