Digital content transformation: main bottlenecks and how to get through

Now that big pharma has come to realization that the future for its business endeavors will be driven by becoming more considerate about content lifecycle, the vital issue looks as follows: how to combine both being resourceful ꟷ by managing well the existing assets and far-seeing ꟷ by setting better pace and framework for future content production?

To achieve that level of content management efficiency, pharma would have to face the main bottlenecks of its content production process. What are those constraints and what are the solutions to them? Short answer: strategy, teams’ alignment and automation. For a longer answer, let us dig deeper into the entangled conundrums of content creation, both managerial and technological sides of this process.

Close the content lifecycle loop

Pervasive things first ꟷ content lifecycle flow is the driving force of content strategy. At the same time, even the most thought-out content strategy cannot be implemented without good understanding of everyday content lifecycle jams. Here are four stages of the content lifecycle, the humdrum familiar for every pharma marketer: planning, creating, managing and optimizing, where bottlenecks can be found.

Creating is usually a workflow with clear roles for producing, editing, and approving content for publication. Next stop is managing the content publication in storage and revising published content. Last, but not least ꟷ optimizing already measured performance of published content and improving by determining which channels, devices, content types and subjects drive most engagement.

But above all this, there’s a planning stage. Since it’s crucial to define a content strategy, which would outline the type of content to be created, teams responsible for this (in-house, outsource or both), need for localization and translation, channels of introduction and customer touchpoints and what goals should be achieved.

Developing a cohesive strategy is important for the following reasons:

  • To achieve company-wide alignment on the goals and purposes of content;
  • To improve quality and efficiency of content produced;
  • To produce right content for the right target audiences;
  • To enhance brand awareness and loyalty;
  • To generate interest to brand’s products and services.

Now that we know why developing a strategy is so vital, let’s take a look at how strategizing is going for pharma. Only 11% of healthcare marketers report having a clearly documented content strategy that meets their current  and future needs. And only 27% strongly agree that their organization has a fully functioning governance model according to which all content activities and resources are managed. It is understandable, because, lifecycle management is a not a rigid plan, it’s more of a constant process — insights gained from the optimization phase of the content lifecycle should always be incorporated into the planning phase to create a continuous process that adapts to changing audience preferences. But on the other hand, the absence of a solid strategy base  considerably hinders content’s time-to-market, lowers its quality by blurring the goals (see bullet points above) and damages overall performance of all teams involved in content production. Speaking of teams…

Align your teams!

Less than a third of all marketers strongly agree that their content strategy is inclusive of both marketing and non-marketing content (i.e., sales, customer service, learning, communication, collaboration). This statistics exemplifies a common complaint from participants of digital content creation ꟷ there’s no cross-team collaboration and teams feel out of the workflow loop. And this is taking into consideration that we are talking about a rather exceptional theoretical case right now, when there’s no outsourcing or external agencies involved, only in-house production.

For the purposes of improving workflow, a single management platform has to be in place, accessible to all stakeholders. That single, shared view eliminates the need for emails to check on content status, creating transparency and improving accountability. Speaking of emails, some of those platforms have an email system, which  automatically notifies next teams when previous teams’ part of work is done. All the little particulars like that help automating the process of content creation and management and making teams more interdisciplinary and agile.

The importance of agility and speed strongly correlates with implementing digital solutions, especially in companies that involve multiple organizational units. In a recent McKinsey report, the agile teams proved excellence, because the unit’s processes are enabled by common shared digital platforms and tools and processes are standardized, including the use of common tools (both cited by 90% of agile respondents). What this tells us is that a unified content management solution would enhance pharma’s abilities to respond to new market challenges quickly and extensively – across the teams and responsibilities.

Automate wherever you can

So here we turn from people creating content to the technology serving them to complete this task. Imagine you could automate at any (additional) stage of content creation: sharing, access, distribution, review, approval, localization, analysis. Now imagine that the bottleneck could be at any point in any of these stages and in a number of different cases and variations. That’s exactly what the standard list of daily work (if not to say, daily nightmare, if the content is made from scratch) of a pharma marketer looks like, but within the simplifying condition that it’s in-house production only, aka no agencies involved. So it’s no wonder that when seeking new forms of content creation, every other marketer names content automation as a solution.

All these obstacles, small and big, result into a slow-paced time-to-market for content, which is perceived by healthcare marketers as the most crucial challenge and unsurprisingly, also as a fundamental opportunity for improvement, with close ratio of 78% to 67% MM&M’s 2017 Trend Report.

On the other hand, it is believed that automation is the ultimate solution to get through those bottlenecks and, thus, speed up time-to-market. In the long run, improves workflow across the teams, provides insights into customer touchpoints (read: base for a solid marketing strategy), and overall, brings agility and responsiveness back into the game. The expected benefits of automating content creation are versatile, and, according to senior marketers’ survey in the US and Europe (2016), cover a lengthy list:

  1. Content is easy to maintain and update (78%). Something along the lines of a global repository of approved digital assets reflects this expectation.
  2. There’s a possibility to create modular content (56%). Email templates composed of modular components is a bright sample of this ingenious yet simple solution to send recognizable branded emails to physicians.
  3. Customizable content that allows to achieve better customer engagement (43%). Tailoring and repurposing same content to suit different audiences is an old trend. This happens both during content creation (consider Global Template approach) and content presentation: consider cases when rep just shuffles and content different segments of presentation around to meet different info interests of different doctors). Universality is very much in fashion.

So if you are wondering whether a solution unifying all those aspects exists, it does. Seriously, there is a robust way to address all of those challenges: to both update the ways of creating content itself and streamline collaboration of people managing it. The features and capacities we described here are based on the model that is currently in use by some major life sciences companies; you can see the detailed description of its structure on this website. At the core of this solution, the Digital Content Factory, is the eWizard platform, allowing content reuse, which is also compatible with systems like IQVIA, where it has also very well served as a Global Store for content. To discover the wide range of collaboration possibilities this platform offers, do not hesitate to contact our team of experts.


2018-02-26T07:35:13+00:00 Friday, 23 February 2018|