Identifying and Engaging Digital Opinion Leaders (DOLs) in the Life Sciences Industry

Identifying and Engaging Digital Opinion Leaders (DOLs) in the Life Sciences Industry

Our world is now hyper-connected to everything digital. Digital media is greatly influencing our economy, education, health care, communication, work culture, transportation, lifestyle, etc. Life sciences industries, too, are leveraging the power of digital media and the digital influence of DOLs to improve their brand visibility and optimize operational developments.

Let us understand more about opinion leaders in digital media and their role in maximizing the efficiency of the life science industry.

Who are Digital Opinion Leaders (DOLs)?

DOLs can be academic experts, researchers or healthcare professionals.

Digital Opinion Leaders, or DOLs mean the digital experts who can influence a community in their field, which can be: education, health care, lifestyle, etc. They can also be academic experts, researchers or healthcare professionals. They use online platforms to share information, shape policy, provide and receive professional and peer assistance, and deepen their expertise. Moreover, these thought leaders have a great following on social media and influence a wider audience.

How do DOLs impact the Life Sciences Industry?

Life sciences companies have witnessed significant development in recent years. COVID-19 expedited these developments even further. This led to various departments of the company, including the Medical Affairs department, to adapt to changing expectations.

Let's first look at the challenges faced by the life science industry, so it would be easy to understand DOLs extensively.

  • Poor Data Accuracy

  • Reputation Management

  • Staying updated with trends

  • Clinical Trial phases

  • Marketing & Launch of products

  • Low operational efficiency

The above points denote that the Life Sciences Industry historically relied on manual processes and did not prioritize operational strategies. They were also dependent on traditional KOLs to seek guidance in RnD, for identifying new trends, and promoting Rx brands.

These companies also relied heavily on opinion leaders like traditional KOLs to seek guidance in RnD, identify new trends, and promote Rx brands.

Later, in light of factors like the COVID-19 pandemic, changing geopolitics, new therapeutic modalities, and new ways of working, pharma companies started re-evaluating their long-term decisions in researching, manufacturing, and supply chain. As a result, more and more companies began collaborating with DOLs.

These opinion leaders became crucial for Medical Affairs teams due to their influential role in shaping public opinion and disseminating accurate medical information on social media platforms. Their ability to build trust within their online communities allows teams to reach a broader audience and positively influence patient behavior and decision-making.

Impactful Digital Opinion Leaders among the Ocean of Leaders

Digital users get influenced very quickly by DOLs. That is because many Digital influencers, play a role as an information source and a voice of authority for their audiences.

Followers form their opinions about these leaders based on various variables, including personal values, life circumstances, knowledge, experience, and social context. In addition, people are far more likely to consider how a subject is portrayed, shaping their opinion significantly.

DOLs training might also be necessary when a pharma firm wants them to understand their product portfolio. This may typically involve a blend of strategic guidance, product/therapy-specific tutorials and understanding certain case studies.

DOLs are regarded as authoritative and influential and might play varied roles. Here are some significant characteristics of DOLs:

1. Conversation Starter
  • DOLs can be a voice for pharma companies, helping them increase brand awareness.
  • They simplify healthcare topics and present them in a way that promotes better health outcomes for individuals.
  • DOLs can help improve a brand's credibility and make it stand out from industry competitors.
2. Network Builder
  • DOLs have a strong network of healthcare professionals, specialization leaders, and academicians.
  • They develop novel ways to reach out to, approach, and influence their audiences.
3. Patient-Leader
  • A DOL can be a therapeutic expert who has treated numerous patients or performed successful surgeries.
  • DOLs' followers could comprise patients who look forward to their posts and regularly engage with them.
4. Strategic Leader
  • They help a brand improve its reputation by emphasizing its benefits or conveying its importance during a crisis.
  • Digital opinion leaders are great marketing strategists who can help a new or existing brand to establish its foothold in the competitive market.
5. Digital Journalist
  • In this fast-paced world, DOLs prefer the audience to be informed about the subjects/ trends/ topics through their journal works.
  • This helps to build trust and trade as a word-of-mouth recommendation.
6. Opinion Leader
  • DOLs can sway public opinion, which is what pharma or life science companies ultimately hope to achieve.

The Evolving Role of Digital Opinion Leaders in the Life Science Industry