What’s the point of marketing content that doesn’t get used? That’s a question that many HQ-based marketing executives are asking themselves. So much time and effort is spent on creating amazing digital content, yet the responses from affiliates?
“It won’t work in my market.”
“Just give us the data slides.”
“We don’t need all of that.”
“We are very different to other countries.”
With ever more centralization of marketing in the life science industry and more HQ-directed work, this is a problem that needs to get solved. What to do?
Meet multiple needs
When it comes to digital content, the first step is to admit that from HQ it’s hard to find one answer that works for everyone. There will be many different content demands: local markets have individual needs, as do all the healthcare professionals that they are in contact with.
The problem is often not the content itself – the messages, graphics or MoA animations – but rather how it is delivered to healthcare professionals. To be valuable, content has to always reach the right person, at the right time, in the right way.
Trying to respond to all these different needs from HQ is just as hard as finding one answer that works for everyone. How can we know what content is required in each case?
The answer is to switch from ‘command and control’ to empowering people locally to act. Because it’s hard to know precisely what is right in every case, it’s better (and far easier) to empower people to make decisions about what works for their particular situation.
If this sounds complicated or impractical, it really isn’t. Anthill helps clients provide this kind of flexible content every day. Really it’s just a question of enabling choices and giving people options. It can be very simple.
There are two very straightforward avenues to consider: empowering the rep or the healthcare professional.
Empower the rep
Enabling reps to use core materials more effectively can be easily achieved by transforming your content flow into more of a menu. At Anthill, we call this the ‘dynamic agenda’, which is a way for reps to quickly select content and have it assembled into a presentation.
Because reps should know most about their customers, the dynamic agenda enables them to tailor the information for each meeting as part of their call planning. It works (and get used) because it makes the content flexible and involves reps by powering choices.
There’s no loss of central control because reps are working with core content; they are just using their advantage of being close to the customer to deliver it more effectively.
You can take this further by empowering healthcare professionals to make decisions about the content that they want to see. Such ‘smart content’ responds to customer choices and automatically builds a relevant presentation ahead of them – allowing healthcare professionals to follow any route that they want through the material.
This enables healthcare professionals to address their immediate needs. For example, a doctor who has just experienced a patient complaining about treatment side effects will be much more interested in learning about this than about the health economic benefits. By discovering the HCP’s problems first and then using effective storytelling techniques to respond, you make every conversation relevant.
Smart content puts healthcare professionals in the driving seat, empowering them to make your content fit their particular needs. And, because it works so effectively, local markets embrace this kind of core sales material.
Understand local needs
Working in this way helps you continually increase your market understanding. Enabling choices generates quality data.
Because digital materials can be tracked, you can see the choices being made – not only what local reps think interests their customers but also how customers are actually responding.
The better you understand what is happening locally the more relevant your core content can become. And by communicating the learnings to affiliates, you can connect your whole international marketing organization together.
Keep it simple
Designing to on-the-ground realities always increases the local acceptance of materials. As a rule of thumb, making the content as simple as possible is usually best.
With their reps only having a few minutes with a doctor, local markets question materials that may contain 100 slides or more.
An always-popular tool is a ‘short call’ presentation – a really well-designed one can have as few as 5 slides and still provide a content-rich experience for healthcare professionals while allowing reps to work quickly.
The truth is that people will only use what they find useful. In digital communications useful means: providing tangible value for reps, meeting different needs simultaneously, working reliably in real life situations and being truly effective at engaging healthcare professionals.
This is all now possible. It just requires that we empower people locally and enable them to choose what works best in their unique situation. Everything then falls into place: people use the tools, we get vital understanding through better data and – most important of all – the communication becomes effective.
The technology is there, as are the content strategies and techniques that deliver on it. Switching to flexible content makes your digital communications not just useful but essential to the success of your colleagues’ work around the world.
Learn more: Affiliate friendly content example
To see the kind of content that works internationally take a look at an Anthill presentation that shows how enabling choices makes content relevant in all markets.
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