Initially, the promise of the multichannel went like that: a lot of somehow connected content through different channels will make CX engagement rates go high, loyalty levels rise up, everyone’s happy. The concept itself is great, it makes perfect sense for the digitally saturated environment of pharma marketing, but something doesn’t match up quite yet. Something has been different with multichannel this year, but no one seems to be able to pinpoint exactly what it is…
Here’s the deal: the multichannel concept has been developed and accepted much earlier than the mindset shift towards and about content has occurred. But don’t blame the player, blame the game, right? There’s an overarching need for the gap occurring between the multichannel and the content around it to be eliminated. So what’s the way to do it? In order to find it, we will first have to look right into the root of the issue. Let’s get started!
Endemic challenges to multichannel 2.0
Here’s what the multichannel status quo looks like: unsustainable, expensive and time-consuming. The shift towards a more sustainable approach is long overdue, and here are 5 reasons why:
Pharma hand-crafts its content. Unsettling, but true – whatever the purpose of pharma content creation is: new campaign, new market, new channel – the content at the end of the production cycle is usually ad hoc and isolated. All this gets done by an extensive, oftentimes unregulated network of agencies; which begs the question: is it really worth the effort to create it all from scratch?
Resulting content is inflexible to edits, i.e. impossible for reuse. Channel-before-content/channel-first thinking makes it really hard to adapt the content created. Instead of making one message that fits all the channels, pharma now is finding itself in a situation of hard-coding every message for every channel separately. Which brings us to the next point:
Marketing is drowning in a self-inflicted content tornado. Usually what one-and-done approach results into is an unregulated bulk of content. And we’re talking here only about the so-called seen tip of the iceberg part. Chances are, what is created within one affiliate’s content environment, stays there, rarely reaching other regions for reuse, repurpose or simple guidance in brand consistency.
Issues merge and intertwine. Even if marketers could find content produced in other affiliates, would they be able to reuse it? Not if it’s inflexible as it is. The impossibility for quick translation, localization, device adaptation, and simple updates takes a toll on time-to-market. Not even mentioning the cost of it all. Oh, and did someone say endless MLR-approval rounds?
But we haven’t reached the end of the bad news part just yet, the issue goes deeper than that. When focusing on the effort of content creation – time, money and effort, it’s easy to lose sight on the last challenge out there: the output content still doesn’t get the message across channels. How come?
Ironically, with channel-centric mindset, marketers have ignored what truly matters: the content. As a result, content from different affiliates looks as if it belonged to different companies. So if this approach continues its course, marketers might lose their leverage of brand perception. What’s at stake of losing that leverage? Well, no more, no less – just CX, brand perception and HCP engagement, the very goals that multichannel strives to accomplish.
As you can see, expectations towards multichannel approach are unrealistic without careful reconsidering to the nitty-gritty practices of content creation. And it’s not a question of any particular cases anymore, the issue is systematic, and it’s a mindset issue. So, instead of sidelining the content creation as collateral processes, we need to embrace a new approach replacing channel-centric thinking.
What if we told you there’s a way to make the content that’s just a search bar away? That there’s a new mindset that outperforms channel-first by landslide and raises the bar for content creators out there? Let’s call it multichannel 2.0 and see what it looks like.
What needs to stay:
What needs to go:
So, there’s no channel in multichannel 2.0? Bear with us. Here’s a step-by-step guide to building connected, channelless content:
0. Start thinking content, not channels. Put channel priority on the backburner, somewhere around the choice of screen dimensions and localization. Refocus on the content and the message you want to convey. Just imagine messages as lego-blocks you build various objects out of: buildings, machines, animals. And just like with the bricks, you can use the same size block for various objects.
1. Introduce multichannel fragments. Once you’ve done them, make your content dynamic: break it down into pieces (fragments) that could repeatedly populate various channels. A fragment can show itself as just a logo, a legal claim you see on every slide, a footer, a header or something more complicated – a chart, video or a QR-code.
2. Introduce templates. Think of a sustainable framework for your fragments. Essentially, the templates you create will serve as channel equivalents, e.g. a promo-email (consists of 5 fragments), an invitation to webinar (4 fragments), microsites (10 fragments) etc.
3. Mix&match fragments within templates (by putting them into an interconnected environment). 1-change or 1-time approval of fragment that spreads across the whole system – that is the logic behind the connected content that allows putting fragments together in endless varieties and combinations as well as reuse them.
Dynamic doesn’t mean chaotic: all that mix&match happens with accordance to established business rules, strictly customized to your system. An example of such rule is: all key messages must be backed up by references, use key message1, not key message2 for this campaign etc, thereby following the internal logic that’s intrinsic to your organization.
As a result, instead of predetermined and siloed campaigns, what you get is the flexibility of the fragments and the system that supports and empowers them. At the end of the day, you create content once, but make it omnipresent, existing beyond channels, campaigns, geographies within a common universe of approved assets; and all of this potential is just a search bar away. Now that is the new promise of multichannel.
While everyone’s only theorizing on tools for content reuse, here at Viseven, we are already making this concept a reality via our comprehensive base of templates, fragments, as well as technology integrations. Our ambassadors of connected content have recently presented this revolutionary approach at Digital Pharma Advances in London. Download our latest eBook about Connected Content for free and get ready to level up your multichannel marketing easily!