To automate or not to automate – that is not a question anymore for an experienced pharma marketer. In a world, where efficiency is top priority, with faster, higher, stronger benchmarks with each marketing cycle, it’s hard not to get caught in the hype of automating everything – even (ironically) the automation process itself. However, blindly following the automation hype can not be counted as bringing in true innovation. Where are the best points of automating workflows and processes for pharma marketing? We’ll figure it out in our case for pharma marketing automation.
A contradictory truth is, although everyone seems to want to know more about it, a quarter of marketers are not even sure about what marketing automation really is, and only 14% admit to considering themselves as experts in it.
It’s understandable that the definition can be customizable to every field. However, the essence of marketing automation can be drilled down to reducing the amount of repetitive tasks and, unsurprisingly, saving time. So what would reduce time for pharma marketers? Well, the content is the king here, and its monarchy still reins strong. Automating workflows around it would save tons of time and bring about unexpected benefits to both marketers and their customers. So let’s sort this out by zooming in onto automating 3 pillars of pharma marketing processes, namely: content creation, distribution and analysis.
Cracking the nut of automated content creation
You create content for your customers, and what are they saying? Well, they seem to be saying more than pharma marketing can handle; the phenomenon even got its own name – “amazon-ification” of CX. Yes, it’s understandably hard to keep up with customer expectations, when your CX are being repeatedly compared to the Amazon experience. How can pharmaceutical companies keep up with Amazon-high content personalization standards and keep the budget at bay?
Now, on the other side of this story, 80% of CMOs believe that the content they produce must convey everything they want people to know about their business; brand consistency becomes paramount. For them the picture looks quite different – on a market, saturated with branding, if your brand does not get remembered, it’s same as if it’s never existed at all. No room for wishy-washy personalization there, it just messes up with the strictness of marketing strategies and branding guidelines.
So, it seems like what the audience expects from content creators is: variety, individual approach, personalization, and what marketers can offer to them is: conformity, brand consistency, universality. There’s no way to make these two needs come together, is there? There is one – an automated approach to create content. It includes the following practices:
- Modular content. By breaking down its content into puzzle-pieces – modules, components – means significant boost in time-to-market and content variety. All of these pieces would be pre-approved – this cuts down the main enemy to time-to-market – rounds of approval. Another benefit is one-off content creation, which is later mixed in customizable variations and reused an endless amount of times.
- Templatizing. If you’ve thought of templatizing as anti-personalizing – think again. Ideally, the core of pharma content should stay the same (global), while the remaining ingredients would change to the customers’ wishing (local). This is exactly what templates are set to complete – helping out both marketers with being consistent and customers being customers with their unique needs and expectations all covered.
- Centralized data infrastructure. This includes handling both its search and approval as well as a branchy system of content vendors, who create it. Think about it: if all of those processes were managed in one common system with various degrees of access, with consolidated workflows and actions – you’d be surprised how automation turns out to be not about tech that enables it, but about processes among people who use it.
In such a way, after implementing a content creation automation practice, marketers won’t have to reinvent the wheel with each marketing campaign: they got the content that is reusable, approved but still flexible, and sustainable creation workflows. Are we ready to share and distribute?
Setting things straight, email marketing and automation
So, let’s step back from content creation for a second. About half of businesses use some form of email automation. And it is not uncommon for them to put an equal sign between email automation tools and overall marketing automation. You see, most marketers consider their approach automated already, if they happen to use Mailchimp (which is a great one, but, surprise – not an automation tool at all).
So, in reality, the relation between marketing automation and email automation is more akin to an “approximately equal” ≈ sign. It’s more feasible to consider email automation as a lead up (or even a gateway) to marketing automation – as 75% marketers are more likely to purchase a marketing automation tool after having been used an email automation tool. Apparently, the reasoning behind this is – once you got the email channel automated right, you can proceed with all the other channels.
This careful decision to ”automate partly” lies at the foundation of the multichannel mindset in pharma marketing, which is the answer to the rising customer demands to digital content. If we’ve done our creation step right, the marketers, now able to create a lot of various content and not waste all their budget, would rush to elevate the pressure of CX and have as many touchpoints with the customer as possible: via email, ads, f2f and remote communication. Which is exactly what happened, and which did not work out. The point is rather to have as many meaningful touchpoints with the customer: via same email, ads, f2f and remote communication channels. All while providing personalized experiences and keeping brand consistency as a priority. This is the mysterious idea behind multichannel (and omnichannel) marketing, and essentially, customer-centric foundation to automating your content distribution practices, whatever automation tool you might choose to distribute.
Our last question will naturally be: how does one decide on when, how, to whom, which content and by which channel to distribute by? Let’s explore the third out of the three: analytics.
Content analysis and acting upon data
In this scheme of automated content creation and distribution, a lack of coordination between received content data and acting upon it in a more fluid, comprehensive way takes a toll on the entire company’s ability to deliver omnichannel customer experiences. In other words – what’s the use of content and its distribution, if you can’t measure and improve it?
Best marketers out there know that data is an enabler and reality-based support to creativity and decision-making, as is demonstrated on tools like Veeva MyInsights Dashboards and Generated Reports for marketers in Hubspot. Best thing you can do to generated data is to use it in a customer-centered and swift way to further drive value-driven content creation.
With solutions like KPI monitoring to key part of the content, analytical reports and dashboards, your pharma marketing team can significantly level up their marketing game. These would be your newly gained superpowers, enabled by analytics automation:
Flexibility and quick insight-to-action: with a helicopter view on which campaigns are doing best, you got yourself a basis for quicker and improved budget allocation.
Shifting focus on the engagement: redirect your content efforts to the channels with the highest level of customer engagement.
Greater understanding of customer needs to enable strategic decisions across the company.
Deliver value-driven customer experiences at the speed the market demands, resulting in higher levels of customer satisfaction and conversion levels.
In ideal world, these processes would be integrated across the whole pharma marketing workflow—from brand strategy and CX, to product, content and creative development—so numbers wouldn’t be mere numbers, but actionable insights.
CONCLUSION: So, what would be our automation achievements? Well, to name a few:
- Enhancing the existing workflows and improving campaign management;
- Streamlining content approval with preapproved content or parts of content;
- Keeping the budget figures at bay;
- Unifying campaigns under global brand standards and guidelines;
- Leaving room for creativity, personalization and local customizations (language, imagery) across countries and markets.