Role of KOL influence

Partner Content
Annotation 2022-11-28 111429

Why KOL Influence Drives KOL Engagement

You have in front of you a syndicated KOL database of gargantuan proportions showing you everyone with any sort of activity in your therapy area. You have a million names with metrics to match.

But to get from this point to actually achieving your medical objectives and making important decisions with regards to KOL & HCP engagement, it will require a whole load of additional insights, especially around “influence”.

True Influence

The level of activity an expert has or who they are most connected with is not a proxy for true influence. “How influential is an expert?” can only be answered by the people they supposedly influence – because it’s their viewpoint that makes the expert influential regardless of how active, vocal, or visible the expert is.

Type of Influence

A KOL may be considered influential, but what’s going to be more important is the type and nature of that influence. For example, do others look to that KOL for practical guidance on everyday treatment decisions, or do they value more the KOL’s viewpoints on innovative approaches to management as a whole?

Sphere of Influence

The geographical and public reach of a KOL, especially in the digital realm, is of critical consideration when engaging with a KOL. The type of activities you want to engage with, the sort of content you want to collaborate on with that KOL, and even the clinical data messages that can be discussed and communicated - they’re all governed by the sphere of influence of that KOL.


Is there a KOL community that’s in itself considered a ‘centre of influence’ in your therapy area? Where exactly a KOL that you want to engage with sits within such communities is an important factor because by engaging with KOLs you are also in effect engaging with that community.

Micro Vs Macro

We tend to associate the word ‘influence’ with a KOL who has a large reach, a significant audience, a well-known ‘name’ etc. Yet in many therapy areas there are micro-influencers who may have a limited reach as governed by such metrics and who may not be as visible, but who are highly respected in their niche areas of expertise. Such experts may not be picked up by traditional KOL identification and mapping systems. Yet if your medical strategy calls for education, action, and advocacy around issues that affect focused groups of HCPs, then micro-influences will be of tremendous importance.


Engaging the right KOL – with the right type of influence, whose thinking is valued by the right audience, who has reach in the right geography, and whose KOL peers represent an important clinical community – will impact how successfully you execute your strategic imperatives.

Generating a list of KOL names is a start. However only by having the right insights on all the above components that constitute ‘influence’ can you ensure that the KOLs you choose to work with are aligned 100% to your medical objectives and your strategy.

Robert Hollands

Business Development Account Manager

KOL Insights at VMLY&R Health


t :+44 (0)20 3443 8914


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