In 2007 when ROF ran it first consumer opinion leader (COL) engagement project, it took guts for our Client to convince senior management that patients could eventually have a status similar to KOLs. Now it’s all the rage and it’s getting difficult to tell who in this industry actually understands how to effectively work with COLs.
I see lot’s of ‘drive-by COL engagement’ where folks delude themselves into thinking that they are “working” with key bloggers in a community simply because the have display media and/or text links running on their sites. Quite to the contrary, the actual relationship is practically non-existent.
Take a look at the disclaimer on a top COL site that accepts advertising:
- “Due to the high cost of maintaining this site, [Blogger] does accept advertising. Occasionally, ads personally screened by me may appear below the content section. They will be clearly indicated. Additionally, this site uses advertising services such as Google and others. I have a limited amount of control over that content, but I make every attempt to insure that is appropriate. The ads are distinguished by the word “Advertisement.” [Blogger] is free from any commercial influence on the content portions of the site.”
Do you really think you’re developing a relationship with COLs in your disease state simply by running an ad buy? Many of these key influentials don’t think so. Why should you?