A byproduct of our increasingly connected world is that many of us are drowning in content, and healthcare professionals (HCPs) are no exception. This is due in part to the increase in content marketing by pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical device makers, medical publishers and other players in the healthcare ecosystem. According to marketing automation leader Marketo, “Content marketing is a digital, inbound marketing strategy that uses educational, entertaining, or informative content to attract, engage, and grow a target audience. It’s becoming increasingly competitive, which means marketers need to produce valuable content, not just more content.”
Over the nearly 20 years, MNG Health has helped clients refine their approaches to creating and distributing valuable and relevant content to HCPs. Today, this is informed by our massive volume of over 250 million data-rich HCP interactions that yield deep insights about customer behaviors, channel and other preferences, and broader trends. These data enable MNG to act as a smart filter for the vast sea of medical information, predictively and precisely matching HCPs with the content and tools they need to confidently care for patients.
Start with customer needs
As in any relationship, both parties want to feel heard and understood. That’s the basis of an audience-centric approach as opposed to a brand-centric one traditionally used by pharma Sales and Marketing teams. According to Manhattan Research, “Pharma can help address physician distrust and frustration with its digital offerings by understanding their needs and challenges – and then providing content and services that go beyond promotion to provide value, especially on dedicated HCP customer service portals.”
At MNG Health, one way we addressed common customer needs was by creating a platform solution called Media Hub that supports brands and sales teams in helping HCPs select highly relevant content delivered through their preferred channels and times of the day. Media Hub curates the experience, enabling HCPs to discover immersive, current and dynamic content based on their needs and interests, as opposed to forced choices among limited, static options. For brand teams, it creates a high quality, enduring brand destination that increases frequency with valuable prescribers. Input from sales representatives helps to further personalize an HCP’s experience and extends their relationships with HCPs. Interestingly, it helps a sales rep to seemingly be everywhere, filling in gaps before and after office visits, and fulfilling many customer requests digitally.
Trust is a must
While traditional marketing focuses on selling and putting brands at the center of a pitch, content marketing works best when it positions companies and brands as trustworthy and worth doing business with. Once you free yourself from the narrow constraints of repetitive, similar-sounding brand messages, it opens up huge opportunities to be more conversational and educational, answering questions and solving problems. HCPs experience this in other parts of their lives and have come to expect it in their interactions with pharmaceutical companies. When they trust a company representative like a sales rep, we find that they are several times more likely to open and engage with communications (like an email) from that person.
Alignment between Marketing and Sales is critical. Sometimes a credibility gap is caused when communications to the same customer from the home office brand team and field-based sales team appear to the customer like they’re coming from two different companies. It is a pervasive problem that pharmaceutical companies face, and actually created. At worst, customers are bombarded with redundant, irrelevant and ill-timed messages driven only by calendar dates. In orchestrating the type, timing and triggers for content delivery, we often help clients overcome organizational habits and hurdles to put the customer first, providing just-in-time, data-driven and preference-based content and tools to busy HCPs.
Medical content today needs to shape-shift to accommodate our multichannel, multimedia and multidevice world. For many companies, centralizing the editorial planning, creation, distribution and measurement of content is the best way to modularize, personalize and amortize. Modularization means breaking content into ‘chunks’ that can be more easily approved, stored and assembled based on a viewer and her context. Modularization is a core concept underlying most content management systems, whether text, images, video, audio or something else.
Personalization considers an HCP customer’s specialty, geography, demographics, behaviors and preferences when dynamically assembling content chunks and serving relevant, timely and actionable content. Amortization in this case is a fancy word for reuse. For example, as pharma companies continue to move beyond product content, they will find more opportunities to reuse unbranded content across customer segments and channels.
Finally, a few words about helping customers find your valuable content: “Brands should ensure that content is discoverable in the right channels and is easily accessible for busy, fast-moving physicians who don’t have time to spare fumbling around a poorly-organized website,” says Manhattan Research. The fundamentals still apply in optimizing your content for search across channels: Well written titles, subheads, meta descriptions, and names and tags for images and other media types. The trick of course is to create content worth finding.
In sum, here are 3 characteristics of successful content:
Content must be personalized. Choice of subject matter, length and depth, and personal preferences like time of day and location awareness matter to a mobile-first audience.
Content distribution and consumption must be omnichannel. Not only must content adapt to the constraints of each device, channel and platform, it also needs to be available in text, graphics, video and emerging formats like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
3. JUST IN TIME
Content achieves its greatest value when it appears just in time for the audience to make good use of it in the moment. In the case of our clients and their customers, we believe that content can support HCPs in ‘empowering confident care.’ And in healthcare, that’s everything.