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Modularise to personalise

Digital-first engagement is challenging pharma to deliver content on HCPs’ terms and a modular approach is key



Digital engagement is now central to the way pharma connects with HCPs. Its urgent challenge is keeping its messaging relevant in a context in which it is consumed increasingly on social media, out of office hours, on demand and in a sea of competing content.

A big part of the answer to being agile enough to compete in this demanding new environment therefore lies in putting in place chunks of pre-approved content that can be adapted to the complexities of the many different learning journeys HCPs will take.

This requires a complete rethink of established content approaches that assumed linear narratives that were passively consumed by a homogenous HCP audience.

The need to serve content to HCPs based on their beliefs, attitudes and where they are in their educational journey as well as their channel and learning preferences is now vital, says Matt D’Auria, Global CEO, Healthcare Consultancy Group.

“People absorb information in different ways, so structuring content in different channels that preserves that element is really important. Some of the best forms of content are delivered in a peer-to-peer fashion, for example.”

Breaking down longer form content and packaging it for specific segments of HCPs matters too now, says Andreas Dach, Digital & Multi-Channel Lead, ASG, Eli Lilly. “Let’s say you have a webinar. Taking the recording and just providing it on demand does not work. You need to build out different modules and put it in the right basket for each customer segment.”

Speedy creation of content after big events, such as medical congresses, is another new imperative, adds Dach, “If you have an international conference, you can’t provide the content for it two weeks later. Everybody has to be quick nowadays.”

In short, without a modular content approach that can fit all such use cases, there is no omnichannel strategy, says D’Auria.

Less is more
The move to delivering relevant, timely content to individuals at different stages seemed overwhelming at first for many marketeers in pharma as the industry pivoted to remote and digital-first approaches, says D’Auria. “When we first considered that, it felt like we needed to develop an infinite number of content concepts.”

But the solution is in fact not to create more content but instead working out how to chunk content into pieces that tell the whole story and then working out which are the most appropriate to deliver to specific HCPs.

“More is not better,” says D’Auria. “In fact it can be dangerous. We learned that from the sales arms race that led to HCPs restricting rep access. We have an obligation to be efficient and effective, not just creating more noise.”
 
The good news is that this approach, by necessity centralised and based in content libraries, should be more systematic and can thus potentially cut out much duplication and redundancy in the traditional content development process.

Key to the modular approach is the creation of decision trees that mirror HCPs’ learning journeys to enable the content system to serve up appropriate chunks of content, says Chris Nugent, a digital transformation expert in the Pharma industry.

Dynamic tracking
The process also needs to be dynamic, tracking previous engagement and picking up the thread, for example, the sequel video in a series an HCP has been engaging with. “Each set of journeys will be unique,” says Nugent.

Tracking how these chunks of content has landed over time enables marketeers to constantly iterate and improve, adds Nugent. “You want to be able to track those assets to see how many times a white paper was downloaded, or to see if people are downloading a trial guide, how much of a video they watch and when they visit the unbranded site. Having that inside the digital asset library helps me serve up better content to them next time they come to us.”

A degree of automation is essential in managing this process and is also essential for helping reps play their part in serving up relevant content modules in their engagement activity. Lilly’s modular content system enables brand managers and reps easily combine several content elements without having to engage with any external agencies or additional programming. It is a highly automated process with a range of click down menus for ease of creation, says Dach.

To help reps manage emails Lilly has created a search function enabling them to search by email, segment or product. CRM systems can then be optimised to suggest the next-best engagement based on the content previously consumed

It’s also possible to examine outcomes of certain emails to see which content elements are landing well and adjust or conduct additional training where it’s not. Such learnings can then be replicated in other countries as well.

Lunch and learn
A fundamental stumbling block to the more rapid creation of content in the past has been the medical legal review (MLR) process built for a far more static, push-driven content model that is now wholly out of step with the omnichannel era.

Adapting the MLR process is a work in progress across pharma but much can be achieved quickly with the right approach.

Working with compliance colleagues to develop a common approach that works with their risk tolerances is important. “See if you can get them on board. Reach out early - lunch and learn, understand their appetite, see if you can change mind sets and help them see that a different approach is essential.”

One approach Kiniksa is finding success with is creating a menu of options and then working through it to agree with MLR colleagues what is acceptable, says Nugent. “For example, we present 15-20 options of how a certain video will look from a short form perspective. 

“We are doing a lot of the legwork up front with the assumption they will approve all of it but if they reject half of it, I have ten options and a minimum viable product I can go to market with. That way you give yourself more chances to succeed.”

Such a flexible approach is vital to having content ready to fit the new realities of engagement, says Nugent. “Pharma is too worried about being perfect and being 100 percent buttoned up. We need to think more agile and react more to the speed of business.”

The power of ‘yes’
How fast it’s possible to progress does depend on the organisational culture and how conservative it is, Nugent concedes. “Some pharma companies are very buttoned up. Can they relax their own rules and put trust in marketeers to do their job and not be hamstrung by certain regulatory preconceived notions? 

“The fact is that a lot of pharma companies would rather take the long road by saying ‘no’ and being more risk averse than open themselves up, but COVID showed us we need to be the opposite. Instead if being 100 per cent risk averse be 60-70 per cent risk averse and accept that marketeers are the experts in delivering the content the HCP wants.”

The approach and available bandwidth of creative agency partners also matters here, he adds. “You need an agency that is responsive enough, that can work quickly and pivot as needed and create the creative assets you can’t do internally - whether that’s graphics or video story boards.”

Executing these campaigns needs to be done on an automated CMS to ensure the required agility. “That way they can act faster. They do the horse trading with the PRC team and don’t need to get agency involved in that process but instead just feedback to them.”

Smaller agencies are often better at creating content for the new engagement context, says Nugent. “They won’t baulk at bittier, grittier content. We have gotten away from larger agencies to smaller ones to produce more ground level content that can be easily consumed that is also still compliant.”

And don’t be afraid to take risks, Nugent advises. “Be like a small startup. You need to put your brand out there and try new ways to get in front of HCPs. We are experimenting with the idea of TikTok, for example. You’d be surprised at the relevance of short-form, easily consumable content. 

“Try things out and know some things are going to fail. There needs to be an understanding that going to market with something that is a 70% minimal viable product makes a lot more sense than 100%. Emphasise the small and nimble, not the big and over produced.”


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FREE WEBINAR: Reduce, reuse, recycle: Enable approved assets to exist beyond channels with modular content

May 5, 2022 - May 5, 2022,

Deliver pre-approved reusable assets to enable faster, personalized content generation