Words by Michaila Byrne
The one-size-fits-all approach to content is proving to be a tired and outdated model. In order to deliver true value to healthcare professionals, modern marketers need to tailor their output based on their customers’ geographical locations, personas, preferences, and needs.
Before a fisherman threads bait onto their hook or even casts a rod, there are numerous calculations to be made to optimise the chances of reeling in that coveted catch of the day. Everything from the depth or temperature of the water to utilising tools that detect ultrasound waves is a contributing factor, but above all, approaches are dependent on the type fish they are aiming for.
When it comes to creating content for healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical marketers need to understand the respective demands of their target audience across countries and apply that knowledge to personalise content based on individual personas and needs.
In a post-COVID-19 era, traditional push marketing simply will not fly, ultimately it will leave marketers walking home empty-handed. “We’ve learnt that a pushing branding strategy is not very effective. Our HCPs have their own online ecosystem. Fishing where the fish are works much better than the other way around,” explains Stefan Scheepers, Business Director, Digital Health, Mobiquity, at Reuters Events’ Pharma Customer Engagement Europe. Speaking at the same event, Florent Edouard, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Commercial Excellence, Grünenthal agrees with the sentiment that push marketing of the past is dead: “Now physicians are reconciling between being physicians and consumers... we need to stop pushing stuff to people that they don’t want to see; that never added any value anywhere.”
Disparities between the experiences and expectations of different countries and healthcare systems has been more apparent following the COVID-19 outbreak. For marketers, communication with teams in the earlier affected countries became crucial. “By understanding what was going on in the early markets – how they were adapting, what was working – we were able to share those experiences elsewhere get better prepared,” explains Chris Round, Executive Vice President, Head of International Operations and Global Core Franchises, Merck KGaA at the Reuters event. The ability to share what is taking place in different markets is fundamentally what differentiates global companies from more local ones. “We’ve had the opportunity to build off of the experience of others, not just for the first wave but also for the second, and on an ongoing basis.”
While complex, at its core, the mission is about tailoring and tuning content to individual countries, and to take it one step further, to individual human needs. Chiming in on the same panel, Chetak Buaria, Global Head of Customer Engagement and Channel Evolution, Merck, explains: “Let’s face it, you don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach that will work in every market. From northern Europe to southern Europe, there are differences that are driven by culture. When you say ‘customer-centricity’ you are dealing with a human being on the other side.”
Also speaking at the Reuters event, Sandra Silvestri, Global Head of Medical, General Medicines, Sanofi stresses that in order to become truly customer-centric, the HCP experience must become pharma’s sole focus: “Tailoring and industrialisation can really go together. We can create a content factory that can be assembled then localised according to the different needs country-by-country and persona-by-persona.” This is possible through the use of artificial intelligence, omnichannel approaches, and marketers taking full accountability for customer engagement, brand strategy, and the patient journey.
Tailoring and industrialisation can really go together. We can create a content factory that can assembled then localised
There are of course undeniable and unifying similarities between the experiences of HCPs, but marketers need to spend less time engrossed in outdated marketing models and instead school themselves on the nuances and demands of their prized target. HCPs are being inundated with content right now, but with a conscious shift in mindset and an awareness of the HCP as a human, marketers can personalise their experiences and begin casting the right bait into the right waters, basing strategy on facts rather than assumptions.