Remember the times when digital content in your marketing strategy was an optional novelty? A curious thingy that helped distinguish a company simply because it, well… existed? If you don’t, then welcome to the majority. Digital content is now everywhere and it often seems it’s always been this way.

The reason is simple: digital content is not something completely out of the blue; it’s basically anything in a digital form. Suppose you’re a pharma company launching a new product. Let it be tangerine-flavored cough lozenges. What do you do? Write a product description on your website? Use ad banners? Have someone write about it on social media? Make a useless but fun game app where you hurl tangerines into coughing monsters? It’s ALL digital content. Yet, this type of marketing is far from mature, and still a source of confusion.

Misconception #1. “It works by itself”

Oh really? It would be nice: you create/publish something interesting and relevant, and out of sheer gratitude your target audience buys the product. Only that, in reality, the modern consumer thinks “Wow that was a useful/fun piece of info” and proceeds with the day. Smart marketers are never so naïve as to think it’s a failure, though. By building awareness and a kind of positive informational halo around your brand, you gain footholds.

It’s a trap: those footholds are not always used. And that’s where it gets basic: your content should have clear goals, and if selling is among them, let your content have this mythical deal-closing drive.

Misconception #2. “It only works in the First World”

The statistics on digital technology use are plentiful, and seem convoluted. However, if you look closer, there are actually two separate tendencies. The preferences for digital in particular industries may seem unconvincing in many countries. At the same time, the numbers of people owning and purchasing tech are rising dramatically. According to recent data, both China and India outperform USA in smartphone sales. This is potential. Add up the emerging markets (for example, Indonesia and Brazil for pharma), and who knows what you get in five years?

Misconception #3. “Social media and all, it makes you look less serious”

The standard objection of the old-school marketing advocates, it is also the most “discussable” one. On the one hand, the belief that social media are “youngsters’ stuff” is clearly outdated. It was two years ago, for example, that “digital natives” became an official majority among physicians. Being an HCP is about as “mature” as you can get, isn’t it?

On the other hand, social media can be noisy and unpredictable, that is true. However, who said it is a reason to abandon this channel completely? Just make sure to have a Plan B, like they do in those grand corporations.

Misconception #4. “Content localization is for the poor & uneducated”

Parlez-vous français? – Oui, bien sûr, you would likely reply. You might speak a foreign language, especially during an official dinner. But when you’re at home searching for information, or having a short break, OR using your health/fitness app, then you’d get annoyed. By the way, if you were annoyed at the beginning of this paragraph (why French? We’re talking about misconceptions here!), then you see this principle in action. Providing localization is not condescending; with only 6% of people on the planet speaking English as their first language, it’s common courtesy. And besides, localization is not only about language, is it?

Misconception #5. “Metrics are complicated here, better use the standard ones only”

OK, this one is technically true. Technically partially true. To a certain extent, that is. In reality, it is still a superstition that emerged because not everyone is sure which metrics are relevant. There are instances when a company’s website has quite an impressive number of visitors, BUT – the bounce rate is enormous. And yes, they failed to measure and analyze the conversion rate. And oh yes, that is all about websites alone!

What now? The solution could lie with tech. If tech gives you so much data, why not have the same tech collect them for you? Back to pharma: with the growing use of CRM/CLM systems, their quality is now associated with the KPIs handling capacity. Collect first, then decide what is of use. It totally makes sense in this digital world.

We’ve seen a number of totally wrong beliefs. Some of them were that digital content is easier than it seems, some of them vice versa. What cannot be denied, however, is that going digital is now a must. Importantly, don’t regard digital content strategy as a monstrous challenge; you can easily find ways to make creating, distributing and analyzing content simple and efficient. After all, we’re at the pioneering stage; the first attempts in a field are rewarded by established reputations later in the story.