KOL identification and KOL mapping are often spoken about together, often treated as the same entity would simply a difference in terminology. They are however very different, yet synergistic.
KOL identification is about identifying those that can impact your work – clinicians, authors, speakers, nurses, tweeters, or the medics building cutting edge apps. KOL identification should be geared precisely to your strategic needs i.e. what sort of KOL, clinicians, and speakers are essential to execute your medical and commercial strategy?
KOL mapping should tell you about the connections, relationships, and people that connect and interact together in many different ways to create the broader disease ecosystem in which your medicine must compete and thrive. In effect, KOL mapping gives you a complete contextual picture of the Expert/KOL landscape.
So while KOL Identification identifies the individual mountains, peaks, and valleys, KOL Mapping helps you see the terrain of the entire landscape. And together they create the canvas on which to create your own unique KOL programmes.
KOL identification and mapping, though very different in the sort of insights they give you, do complement each other. Identification without mapping is like telling you the names of the key mountains on the terrain, but not telling you anything about their relationship to one another, or even the landscape on which they actually reside.
Is it advisable to conduct one without the other? Absolutely, but only if you already have the insights that one of them provides. For example, you may already know the most important people that you need to engage with, but what you may be missing is the connections, relationships, and networks between those people – in that case a pure KOL mapping exercise will give you exactly the context you need.
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