Marketing pharmaceuticals has surpassed the practice of merely supplying facts about a particular product and its function. Now, it’s all about identifying with your audience and giving them more than just a sales pitch. It’s about being a part of their every day life. The patient’s “journey” — i.e. the lifecycle of understanding a condition, to treatment options, to recovery and a healthy lifestyle — is the concept that should be top of mind when developing a campaign strategy, and there’s no better way to present this idea than through content marketing. Here’s a look at five tips to leverage content marketing to promote your pharma brand and engage customers.
Understand Your Audience
It probably goes without saying, but you can’t develop content that your customers will identify with if you don’t understand what they want. A great way to gather this information is through analytics. Use tools to compile data on online behavior, search terms and social media activity. Collecting this information will give you a picture of what your audience needs and help your brand develop a solution to that need.
Provide Something Valuable
Once you know what your audience is looking for, determine what your brand can supply that is valuable to the consumer. For example, Lilly Diabetes recently launched online versions of its custom books for children and families with type 1 diabetes that were previously only available at doctors offices. Content marketing is not about selling your product, but about finding a way your brand can help its customers in their every day lives.
Enlist the Help of Experts
In this case, there are two sides of the expert coin: Physicians and patients. Tapping into both as a resource can boost your campaign's credibility. You should get to know the brand's patient community — participate in forums, ask questions, take surveys, listen. And, consider reaching out to community experts to contribute. They can share their story, their advice, their ups and downs. Look to physicians to provide answers as well as content ideas.
Create Quality Content
The old adage is true: Content is king. The foundation for your entire campaign rests on the quality of your content. In order for it to resonate with your customers, your content should:
- Address a need
- Tell a story
- Be engaging
- Personalize and humanize the brand
- Have a clear purpose
- Give a call to action
- Exude trustworthiness
Invest in your content. Work with experienced editors and writers who will be able to help establish the tone, style, voice and consistency of your messaging. Create content with not only the patient in mind, but also health care providers, caregivers and pharmacists. Think about the presentation medium: videos, articles, blog posts, e-books, etc. and build materials for each. Consider devices as well, such as smartphones and tablets. In addition, plan for the audience needs to change, which means the content will need to be written in a way that can be adjusted for different stages of the patient’s journey.
Don’t Be Afraid of Social Media
Establishing a presence on social media channels is hands down the most direct path to two-way engagement with your customer and building a relationship. And, more importantly, trust.
According to a recent Medical Marketing & Media survey, “Overwhelmingly, the patient influencers surveyed said that interacting with social media resources would motivate them and members of their community to discuss conditions and products with others, especially a health care professional; 72 percent felt that social media resources would motivate these discussions.”
The biggest hurdle is navigating communication through social media platforms without breeching industry regulations. To start, plan on spending plenty of quality time with your legal department to create a solid policy for users. Then, choose and train a small group of individuals to manage, moderate and interact on social media pages following the established plan of action and adhering to guidelines.
Want to learn more about how a strong content marketing strategy can impact your overall pharmaceutical sales? Join us at iPharma 2014 - CBI's Marketing Innovation Summit, May 8-9, 2014 in New York City.