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Rules of engagement

Critical points to consider when developing the right content marketing strategy


When a recent global analysis by Havas took a look at content marketing efforts around the globe, covering 1,500 brands in 33 different industries, it uncovered a harsh reality for digital marketing - 60% of content being created is underperforming. This indictment is bad news for consumers and businesses alike - consumers are missing out on content that drives personal well-being and meaningfulness and organisations are missing out on a vital opportunity to improve our quality of life through content that is relevant, inspirational, educational and impactful. With 84% of people expecting brands to provide content, there is a raft of opportunity for brands to better engage with audiences through social experiences, storytelling, entertainment, events or other content-led activations. Meaningful brands have figured out the boon  of online marketing - that quality, value-driven, meaningful content builds engagement, community, connection and ultimately loyalty.

Deconstructing meaningful

Maria Garrido, Havas Group’s Global Chief Insights and Analytics Officer sheds some light on why only a handful of brands are genuinely meaningful to consumers. “If 74% of brands disappeared, consumers wouldn’t care. The Meaningful Brand survey has been running for almost nine years now and the study captures what drives meaning for consumers, which isn’t the same by country, by category or by age group. We deconstructed the word ‘meaningful’ to try and understand how it’s defined across different consumers and in different sectors and countries and we looked at total of 52 different attributes. A combination of each of these attributes across three pillars - personal, collective and functional benefits - makes up the definition of meaningful for every industry and at every country level.”

Garrido says that one thing that is fairly common across all industries including healthcare is that most brands do a pretty decent job of delivering functional and collective benefits. Where the opportunity lies is that most don’t do a good job in terms of the personal attributes. “Healthcare is a very functional category - 29% of the word ‘meaningful’ comes from personal benefits - does it make my life easier, better, healthier and make me feel happy. We take those brands and we look at the communication and we see where there are gaps. One of the things that we found over the years is that content has a profound impact on meaningfulness. There is a 71% correlation between how effective the content is and how meaningful the audience perceives the brand
to be.”

For Ceri James, COO of online publisher (part of AZoNetwork), the insight generation process is critical to unearthing knowledge gaps that
can then be filled by content. “Meaningful brands are driven by true insight, something rich, interesting and revealing about the audience that will inform content strategy. For example, patients often feel a complete loss of dignity and the brand needs to speak to that on an emotional as well as a functional and rational level. Gain an understanding of your audience and the resources they will find valuable. Successfully determining your audience’s wants and needs means that you connect emotionally and really communicate. There’s a disparity between what we think patients want to hear and what they actually want to hear. In order to create content that improves the patient experience, we must have conversations with patients that
the patients themselves want to have, about things that matter to them and it’s an ongoing process, not episodic.”

Rules of engagement

With most patients and physicians actively looking online for health information, pharma companies should embrace content marketing in the same way as other industries have. Such intense interest in health content is a rich opportunity to engage, inform, support and motivate key customer constituencies. Healthcare lags some two years behind other industries in content marketing, claims the Content Marketing Institute, because it over-relies on print and under-utilises digital. The question remains - how do health and pharma companies go about producing the right content, delivered to the right person, at the right time, via the right medium? According to Victor Kara, digital and omnichannel consultant and former Associate VP, Global Digital and Multichannel at Sanofi, there are five critical rules of engagement to consider when developing the right content marketing strategy for pharma.

1. Know your channels:

Pharma needs to look to more independent channels if it wants its content to

be credible with an HCP audience. We’re in a new era where pharma needs to move away from pushing out promotional content to pulling in the customer with valuable, engaging content. Start by looking at where your key constituencies are congregating. Doctissimo is a third-party HCP-facing site and is viewed as a credible and trusted source of content and pharma needs to invest more in HCP-facing websites where physicians spend more of their time. Steer away from promotional content and focus on developing educational sources rooted in science. Physicians need resources for patient education, scientific information on drugs to help them make better treatment decisions and continuing medical education. Physicians are overloaded with information and need help sifting through the morass. There’s a good opportunity here to increase your visibility in a crowded market with the right partnership strategies.

2. Looked beyond your traditional customer groups:How can you develop a meaningful brand if you’re not taking all the people who are touching your branding into consideration. Pharma content marketing is overly focused on HCPs. If you’re going to be patient-centric, you need to look at all facets that make up that ecosystem and unfortunately many people are ignoring the patient. Also look at other content influencers like nurses and pharmacists.

3. Take a look at your customer segment engagement: How are you engaging now and is that being effective? There are easy ways of doing this online without getting the biased opinions of focus groups. Get the raw feedback from the patient groups, physician groups, etc to see how you are fairing and adjust accordingly based on the feedback.

4. Strategy first and channel second: As the quote goes, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Your strategy should revolve around the customer, not the channel. Strategy is about being clear on which stakeholder you’re targeting, segmenting into meaningful groups, and creating personas and experience journeys for these groups - only then can you make the strategic choices around channels and branding. Certain channels will work better than others and it’s important to have the flexibility to navigate between channels. Monitor what’s going on in the channels using social listening and be fluid enough to adapt your content to the channels you’re using.

5. Watch your language:Pharma needs to ensure it is using the terminology and language that its constituent audiences understand.  A 2015 survey by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 12 countries highlighted people’s unfamiliarity with the language of antibiotic resistance. Fewer than half of the nearly 10,000 respondents had heard of the term ‘antimicrobial resistance’. Only one-fifth were aware of its abbreviated form  ‘AMR’. By contrast, more than two-thirds knew of the terms ‘antibiotic resistance’ or ‘drug resistance’. A similar study of people in the United Kingdom, published in the same year by the UK biomedical charity the Wellcome Trust, revealed comparable trends.  In order to develop a meaningful brand you need to ensure your message is understood and pitched at the right level.

Connecting with the audience

Most of pharma is still figuring out digital publishing, and pharma marketers have a huge opportunity to stand out by delivering meaningful content-driven experiences. When executed elegantly, content marketing is a powerful tool for building brand
trust and maintaining customer relationships. The question pharma marketers have is this: How can
we drive more positive opinion, engagement and sentiment toward our brand overall?

For Ceri James, unbranded content is critical to surmount the credibility issue. “Why would a pharma brand want to spend money on tactics that don’t mention their brand? Well, we’re kidding ourselves if we think patients care that much about medical brands. Traditionally, unbranded communication has been used in advance of product approval to help support condition awareness and market preparation, but is not used as frequently post-launch. That’s a mistake, as we’re putting the brand at the centre and not the audience. To engage patients and HCPs, we must focus on the customer journey, not the brand journey. Marketers must deliver the kind of experience that builds trust to create a relationship. Patients are becoming much more educated and much more demanding in terms of the content they are seeking - the type of content that will be downloaded, shared and commented upon by digital thought leaders across social media and other channels that connect patient and carer communities. Finding routes to add credibility and independence is valuable to pharma and helps break down barriers. Well-written content can appeal to a broad range of audiences which is not what traditional communication has been about. It’s been about specialist language and specialist communication - so that’s an important role of content marketing - making things much more accessible and getting around the jargon associated with various medical conditions and speaking
the language of patients.”

Article by
Deidre Coleman

is a content specialist in the health and pharma industries

2nd May 2018

Article by
Deidre Coleman

is a content specialist in the health and pharma industries

2nd May 2018

From: Marketing



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