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Local knowledge is power

Even the most advanced global strategy is liable to fail without local input and expertise
Knowledge

In the last decade there has been a tremendous shift in pharma's perception of digital communication with most companies in most countries having executed an eMarketing campaign. What was regarded as nice-to-have 10 years ago and was implemented only by the most innovative product and brand managers, has become a familiar part of integrated multi-channel communication strategies in pharma.

Several bigger players have invested heavily in digital marketing and founded specialist global or regional eMarketing teams. Smaller companies or those that cannot justify creating an eMarketing department just yet have rolled out pilot e-based projects for carefully selected brands across specified countries.

There are signs however, that no matter how effective the global eMarketing teams are, the work being carried out at global level is often not implemented effectively or worse still not used at all at local level due to lack of sufficient buy-in or simply because it is not a priority for busy local teams.

Moves by global and regional teams to develop eStrategy, create templates and hire global agencies to produce medical content packs in order to simplify work for local affiliates is the first step on a long journey for the product manager responsible for the brand locally. Implementing global strategy still requires time and energy in order to be successful.

In 12 years of working with clients to produce eMarketing projects, we haven't met a marketer yet who either has so little to do that he has the time to spend weeks on "localising" the wonderful tools that he has received from global, or have been able simply to take the ready-made package, translate it and roll it out locally.

We all know how much work and energy it takes to carry out L&R reviews and approvals when preparing even the smallest campaign for a launch. Translating global thinking into local language is just the tip of the iceberg in the localisation process. The truth is if an e-campaign is supposed to be designed to gain future success, it needs local thinking from the very beginning. The communication mix, key message, promotional appeal, medical content and language should be tailored specifically to meet the needs of the target audience.

Specialities may be the same worldwide, but no two countries in Europe are alike. The right communications tactics, formats and media should vary greatly across countries, in order that eStrategies are implemented well.

Developing the right message delivered through the best channels takes time and input from numerous local stakeholders, even if you are adhering to a global template. Those who are really marketing savvy will use data from surveys and questionnaires, and craft communications that resonate with the audience.

It is not just about the language. The cultural diversity among European countries can have a huge impact on what formats, channels, recruitment tools, content or length should be used to create a campaign. Graphics and design cues matter just as much as language and other cultural nuances.

The need for strong local know-how is crucial and doesn't stop at relationships with HCPs and KOLs but applies to SEO, deploying search engines, use of local portals and participating in local social media and online communities. The internet may be global, but web presence and content are extremely local and the adage "Think global, act local" needs to be executed on a daily basis.


Vendula MachackovaThe Author
Vendula Machackova
is head of global marketing
and director of the Pears Franchise Group
at Pears Health Cyber
vendula.machackova@pearshealthcyber.com

 

 

3rd October 2011

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