Content marketing to pharma: doctors are people too!

02nd August 2021

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Doctor. Doctor Who?

Doctor Busy, Stressed & Needing Reliable Pharmaceutical Marketing Resources

Okay, it’s probably not going to set fire to the comedy circuit, but that’s not the point. Also,  as a dad of two, this level of dad joke comes naturally. Despite the bad pun there’s no escaping the point that doctors and other healthcare professionals (HCPs) are real actual people. No matter how qualified, they are not machines put on earth to sort out disease; they are humans that face the same pressures and respond to the same motivations as the rest of us. And from a video content marketing perspective, this is an important – and often overlooked – distinction.

When it comes to pharmaceutical video content marketing, there are two distinct channels: consumers and HCPs. In this blog, I am only going to be talking about marketing to HCPs. You’ll be able to apply plenty of this advice to video marketing content for consumers, too, but we’re going to focus on how to use video for selling pharmaceuticals to doctors and other healthcare professionals.


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Video content marketing for doctors

I often talk about video content marketing needing to tell stories and make emotional connections. That may sound like a cuddly marketing strategy aimed squarely at consumers, but it’s just as relevant to a doctor, or any other professional. Behind the qualifications and certifications there is a person who needs to be engaged and entertained in order for your video content marketing plan to optimise its potential.

My Desert Island Videos: why storytelling matters in video content marketing

That’s not to say you should make your pharmaceutical marketing video about skateboarding cats. It needs to be contextualised within a professional reality. So when it comes to creating video content for a pharmaceutical company marketing to doctors, it’s important to understand what a doctor’s life looks like.

Engineering content marketing videos for healthcare professionals

Doctors and other HCPs are overworked and generally short of time. You have a small window in their day to engage them, and what’s more, this is an increasingly competitive slither of time. This Healthcare Weekly article makes the point that the narrowing of differentiation between rival pharmaceutical products has heightened the importance of marketing. Johnson & Johnson has spent $8 billion on R&D “in recent years”, the article says; over the same period it has spent more than double that on marketing.

But one key thing to remember.  You are in competition for HCPs time when they are not immediately engaged in work.  Yes, they might look for information during their working day, but marketing messages will be coming at them at all hours.  And you will also be competing with Netflix, sporting events and any other interests the HCP may have.  So why would they spend their precious time with you?

The key is to engage them at an emotional level, by showing how they can improve their professional lives, make patient results better or more.  Is the pharmaceutical product you are marketing easier to use than most? Great, that will save time on training and usage niggles. Does it work quickly? Perfect, the doctor might think she can buy back a bit of time, perhaps to see more patients or catch up on other work, or just go home and see her family. She might even think she can watch another one of your content marketing videos. We’ll come to that in a minute.

Pharma video: testing, testing, testing

As always the key to discovering what pushes the emotional buttons of your intended audience – in this case doctors/HCPs – is testing. You can test different storytelling devices, video lengths, calls to action etc. Until you do, you won’t really know what the medical community responds to. Always test, always improve.

Having created at least two versions of your video marketing content, you need to think about how it will be found and what happens after someone watches it. Do you stick it on YouTube and pop a link on social media? Email it (here’s how)? Or do you set up a content hub?

Setting up a pharmaceutical content hub

For me, pharmaceutical video content marketing is crying out for a gated content hub. If you don’t know what a good content hub looks like, have a look at All Things Hair (Unilever) or Lowe’s Home Improvement for examples. Those aren’t gated because they’re consumer facing, but you’ll get the picture. You can create one on a social channel like YouTube, or go for an owned approach. For the pros and cons, I recommend you watch my Figaro Digital tutorial on content hubs.

You should be aiming to make your content hub a destination for busy doctors and other HCPs who will come to recognise it as a reliable pharmaceutical marketing resource (see bad joke at the top). And in return you can collect targeting data by asking for qualifications, specialisms and professional email addresses as a condition of entry (useful for direct marketing and testing for your next email video marketing campaign). And you’re saving a busy professional time seeking out advice among the general sprawl, time that can now be spent watching another video or reading a piece of marketing content, the one you’ve served up in your content hub, for example.

Other content hub benefits include providing a satisfying and engaging journey, turbocharging your SEO and – perhaps most importantly – the ability to convert into lead generation and sales.

Pharmaceutical video content marketing: TLDR

The TLDR here is this. Doctors, healthcare professionals – any professionals, for that matter – are people. They need storytelling and emotional impulses to drive their decisions just like anyone else. Understanding their professional circumstances and testing what works for them will lead to better pharmaceutical video content marketing. And a gated content hub would be my first choice of delivery.


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