How AI can help you find the right KOLs

Key Opinion Leader (KOL) identification and mapping is a critical part of business marketing, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. Artificial intelligence and big data play a huge role in speeding up the process of finding the right influencers/thought leaders and ensuring that only the best goals for a project are reached, saving money and effort.

But how exactly do these emerging technologies play a role in increasing the efficiency of these complex research tasks?

This article explores the methodology behind KOL mapping and how it can transform your influencer marketing strategy.

What is KOL mapping?

A Key Opinion Leader (KOL) or “thought leader” is a knowledgeable and experienced influencer with a strong reputation in a particular field or industry. Often sought after in the healthcare field, KOLs stand out by running some high-profile campaigns that differentiate them from their peers in their careers. These activities may range from serving on the boards of influential organisations, speaking at national or international conferences and/or publishing their research in peer-reviewed journals. (Also read: ‘Anything is possible’: Advice from female tech CEOs.)

Identifying KOLs and their digital counterparts, known as “Digital Opinion Leaders” (DOLs), is critical to an organization’s marketing efforts. This is especially true for pharmaceutical companies, as the opinions of trusted and independent physicians and healthcare professionals influence people more than the opinions of other physicians when choosing a drug, medical device or therapy. The success or failure of many drugs — especially new or lesser-known drugs — often depends on the opinion of KOLs. Therefore, pharmaceutical companies put a lot of effort into mapping KOLs.

But in practice things are rarely that simple.

Selecting the right people from the millions of practicing physicians and other experts — those with enough influence to probably want to hear from you and willing to have a conversation — is like finding a needle in a haystack. If that haystack was the size of Mars.

So what Do Did you pick the right person?

Artificial Intelligence: The Key to Finding Relevant KOLs

In the modern connected world, the sheer number of datasets we have access to, especially in healthcare, is simply staggering.

With thousands of research papers published in various journals each week, the volume of data from electronic medical records, claims data and daily practice is simply too great for anyone to analyze. However, even the smallest amount of information can affect a so-called KOL’s reputation—for example, a surgeon’s complication rate or necessary reoperation rates.

However, not all data are of equal value: are congress presentations at regional meetings of equal importance, for example, being featured contributors to WHO guidelines? Obviously not.

So, given all this data, how do you determine who are the most influential KOLs in a given field? The short answer is artificial intelligence.

Key Applications of AI in Key Opinion Leader Mapping

1. Data organization.

AI is able to scan data faster than humans – referring to a set of rules that assign scores to more important data, organize them and present them clearly so analysts can present each KOL’s profile to clients Research it before. (Also read: Robotic Process Automation: What You Need to Know.)

In other words, AI is capable of scraping large amounts of data, identifying relevant or important information, and discarding all unnecessary information so that humans can improve their search. It can combine data from different sources to determine the degree of influence of experts at the international, national and local levels.

2. Correctly identify KOLs.

People rarely give their names exactly the same way for different activities on different sites.

For example, when gathering information about a particular influencer, you might find “Claudio Buttice” who is the author of a paper, “CA Butticè” on a website, and “Buttice, C” in a textbook. When thousands of names are collected, and there are a lot of people sharing the same initials, things can get pretty messy.

AI can make obvious decisions based on simple rules and determine when there is no need to worry about accent loss or individual character differences. It can also look up a database of healthcare professionals for final verification. If directed properly, machine learning algorithms can eventually begin to identify specific KOLs by integrating data about their affiliations, the towns they come from, and/or the organizations they belong to to ensure a given campaign is assigned to the right person. (Also read: 3 amazing examples of AI in action.)

3. Translation

When these experts work in non-English speaking countries, it can be more difficult to search for the specific activities that differentiate KOLs, especially when their languages ​​are based on non-Latin alphabets such as Kanji.

Experts from different countries may only exist in specific databases, while some documents (eg country guides) may only exist in their native language. The only way to overcome these language barriers is to hire an international army of experts proficient in every language on the planet, or to enlist the help of a single, very effective automatic translation tool.

State-of-the-art translation tools, like DeepL, take advantage of their neural networks to capture the tiniest nuances of human language. The application of machine learning to translation has allowed these tools to come a long way in recent years: the right tools can now translate documents in seconds; even the basic translator that comes with your internet browser allows you to understand immediately foreign websites.

4. Improve Communication

Machine learning can extract many unexpected and useful insights from large databases.

It can identify patterns that define the degree and scope of potential KOL influence, and can be used to predict the best path to approaching the KOL. In other words, in addition to simplifying the process of identifying KOLs, AI can also provide actionable insights on the best way to overcome potential communication challenges. It can suggest the most effective way to get closer to a specific expert by understanding their expertise, preferences and future career development. (Also read: How can artificial intelligence help with personality prediction?)

Can AI replace human analysts?

We all know it’s going to turn out like this, don’t we?

Whenever the topic of AI is discussed in any form or form, the main question that comes to everyone’s mind is whether the latest ML-driven tools will render human professionals obsolete or largely unnecessary. The answer is more or less always the same – and in the KOL map industry, it’s no different.

In short: no; humans still need it. AI can ease some of the most trivial and repetitive tasks, but even the smartest tools cannot be left unattended. (Also read: Will robots take your job?it depends.)

Current algorithms are good at creating long lists of names by combining information scraped from the public internet. They can be smart about finding connections, identifying the activities of relevant KOLs, and even building a profile of reasonably credible KOL positions and affiliations.However, they are almost incapable of describing things about KOLs real What matters is from the customer’s perspective: the people behind the name.

Who Yes This particular COL? What is their sphere of influence? What are their skills, preferences and expertise? And – more importantly – what’s the best way to approach them for marketing purposes?

Only skilled human analysts with good industry experience can cut through all the noise in the data, remove potential predatory activity, find significant influencers, build their profiles and tailor the list of names to the specific needs of clients. Simon Rosenberg, CEO of Scout, one of London’s most prominent KOL mapping agencies, put it this way:

“Algorithms are a great guide, but letting them do it is like asking kids to redesign their living room. AI is always a good starting point to get you down the road quickly, but then you have to Tidy up. You can’t clean your house just by turning on the vacuum and leaving it on the floor – some manual labor has to be involved to get that shine.”

in conclusion

The KOL map industry may seem like a niche market. But given the size and scope of the healthcare and pharmaceutical markets, this is not the case.

Countless ingenuity needs to be identified every day before industry liaisons can connect with them. AI and ML tools have proven to be a game-changer in this vertical, being one of the earliest and leading adopters of these technologies. (Also read: Top 20 AI Use Cases: Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare.)

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