One of the central driving forces of the industrial revolution taking place during the 19th century was invention of the assembly line. The very fact that every single item did not anymore have to be repeatedly handcrafted by a single person sped up production and increased efficiency in hundreds of times, making the fundamental change happen. Putting things together with every tool intended for only its precise task, and following a template is a part of another revolution – an ongoing digital one. For many industries, including pharmaceutical, the way digital content is produced has changed over only a decade and new workflow practices have arisen. Let’s dive into the exploration of why an emphasis on templating approach in agencies—pharma relationship will come about in 2018.

Way to go for brand consistency

First things first – agencies are not even near to be out of their jobs in terms of digital content creation for their pharma customers. This task is among the first on the list to be outsourced to the agencies (47% of cases) – so no smaller work volumes on 2018 horizon for the agencies’ creatives. Now that we know there will be some heavy lifting, let us turn to the clients’ priorities this year – pharma companies’ all time classic need remains digital assets being created according to the global brand strategy. In fact, an agency simply can not overshoot, if it can deliver brand consistency at the substance of their service. So what is the easiest way to deliver that sought-after unity?

Just like on an assembly line, where every tool is doing its various tasks, the master template represents that graciously unified solution to have a base for working harmoniously – various channels, single template. Indeed, the widely known 2017 Accenture study on digital content across industries proved that templates take a second place after leveraging existing content (72% following 74% of survey’s inputs) in content creation practices. This confirms the rule-of-thumb for generating content among pharma marketers and their agency mates – creating content with and for pharma, be it eDetailing for face-to-face or remote meetings, content for digital libraries or web portals, or just branded email templates – requires a globally approved template. More details on master templates 101 you may discover in our earlier publications.

Templates walk closely with repurpose and reuse

What’s the worst thing that can happen to a digital asset after all the work on it has been completed (generation, publication, approval to the 20ieth power)? Accidentally deleted? Found some mistakes? Lost among other digital assets in taxonomy-deprived CMS? No. Used only once, for one channel. Every pharmamarketer’s nightmare.

It is fully understandable, because why would one want to waste a time-, effort- and cost-consuming item for a single occasion? The aforementioned 2017 Accenture study on digital content states that leveraging existing content (74% of survey’s inputs) in content creation is the best and most sustainable practice that can happen to a digital asset.

In essence, for a good start of 2018 for both pharma and agencies, as Ann Rockley from Rockley Group insinuates in her works, pharma content has to be structured, modular and reusable. With ‘structured’ it’s more or less clear – if you have trouble finding the content, mainly because it is not a part of content system – it is not structured, and clear taxonomy is an urgent organizational necessity.

Concerning reusable and module-based content – these characteristics are interconnected, and that is where the principles of assembly line come handy again. Why is the assembly line so efficient? Because when an item is in designing process (of agency’s workflow), its individual fragments are seen a part of a unified whole, not as some separated standalone pieces, right? So why exactly those pieces can not be reused many times? Each content component can not be telling a single, separate story from all the other content within pharma company’s strategy; it should be seen as a part of a unified content system, and preferably, be a part of more than one content product.

Moreover, the content created by agency and pharma can be considered handcrafted, if it’s used only once. It requires huge amounts of labor, time and budget, can’t be reused, repurposed for other channels or localized and will end up being overlooked after its initial purpose has been fulfilled. What if you don’t need to create new components in order to build new content? The building blocks are already there, you can get started anytime.  Eliminate wasteful work, reduce redoing, miscommunication and bottlenecks, and collaborate smarter, not harder.

To sum up, here’s another Ann Rockley’s statement so accurate for pharma—agency relationship: “Think about it; each time you create a new product, you don’t toss out everything you’ve learned from previous products and invent brand-new manufacturing processes… Don’t handcraft content. Manufacture it”.

A system to manage content has to be in place

We realize that digital asset goes a long way to evolve from an idea into, let’s say, an eDetailing, and usually ends up in a Indesign and PDF format. Some tools – like the ones within eWizard content management system – actually enable you to convert those files into HTML5 format. Imagine if the static content could turn into module-based one, to further be easily fragmented like a jigsaw puzzle and become a part of different digital asset?

And there’s so much more a Content Management System can do for pharma–agency relationship. After all, it’s been a going on complaint that technology is underutilized there or lacking altogether. Only 18% of marketers feel their organization has the right technology in place to manage their content marketing efforts. Another 45% say they do have technology tools in place, but they aren’t used in their full potential.

Looking back at factors contributing to increased marketing success over 2017 and 78% of marketers agreeing that primary demand in content creation would be higher quality, more efficiency – with all the templating opportunities, converting tools and module-based content creation, working with and for pharma will bring success for both agencies and their clients. So drop our marketing experts a line and be ready to achieve those pharma—agency relationship goals next year.