Pharma needs content marketing

14th November 2015

Content marketing and pharma work well together despite the sector’s conservative attitude to this strategy. The pharmaceutical industry’s target audience is looking for information about particular medical conditions or medical devices, and marketers can be there to help – rather than directly sell to them.  In fact, Pew Research reported that over a year, “72% of internet users looked online for information about health.” Consumers will also share that information with their friends and family when it’s useful to them. According to the PwC Health Research Institute, 90% of adults would trust medical recommendations shared by their peers via social networks.

Rather than thinking in the rather outmoded advertiser model, we argue that pharma brands should get in the mindset of publishers. Taking this targeted content approach helps to build the trust that is vital for pharmaceutical brands, and video can be an effective way to translate often complex information to both patients and healthcare professionals.

In this blog, we look at a number of content marketing campaigns for pharma firms with key takeaways for your own campaigns and video marketing strategy, whether they are in the pharmaceutical sector or another vertical.

A targeted publishing approach

Thinking like a publisher means identifying the kind of content that would interest your audience. It’s vital that you match your content with your target audience; for instance separate YouTube channels for patients and healthcare professionals.

Pfizer has managed to produce relevant content with its “Get old” campaign with films such as Commencement Day showing that it’s never too late to start something new:

Here is another film which opens up a conversation about the fear of getting older.

The campaign’s social channels (Twitter) are fun and informative but we would suggest that they could use more native social video

The key take-away is to find a topic which fits with your brand and then share interesting content on that theme. In this case Pfizer is sharing health related content which is not directly promotional but which does advance its brand position and builds trust. They’re positioning themselves as a helpful friend rather than a salesperson.

Content marketing is still possible even with a more specialist B2B audience. GE Life Sciences targets scientists and lab workers, and they discovered that nearly 60% of customers were choosing to do their own research before having commercial conversations. Thus it was vital that they used a content-led approach earlier in the sales cycle, and they used social listening to find out what their potential customers were talking about. The videos are highly targeted to the specific audience offering ‘how tos’ as well as more product-focused films and brand videos depending on the stage of the buying cycle.

The key takeaway here to listen to your audience and create targeted content to meet their needs throughout the buying cycle. Often these can be highly specialised films that are not going to be the latest viral hit, but which engage your specialised audience.

Inspire your audience

Pharma brand, Sanofi, has taken a content marketing approach with three films to promote awareness about type 1 diabetes. Through its T1D Challenge, this company aims to show, that with well managed treatment, anything is possible.

In 2013 and 2014, we filmed teams hiking to Kilimanjaro and Machu Picchu. This year, Sanofi Diabetes, SWEET and World Diabetes Tour joined together to stress the “importance of self-empowerment and emotional support in the management of diabetes during adolescence and early adulthood.” The 11 trekkers (aged 15 to 20) living with type 1 diabetes came from all round the world to take on the challenge of the Samaria Gorges in the White Mountains of Crete – an ascent of approximately 2,000m above sea level.

The challenge narrative works to inspires those with Type 1 Diabetes that they can do it too with a well-managed treatment programme. From a filmmaker’s point of view it was important for our team to be able to meet the gruelling requirements of heat and altitude and bring out the best in the participants on camera. It is also worth thinking about using real patients in your films which offers authenticity.

Quality content counts in pharma

In order to build trust, it’s important that your content is of a high quality. That does not necessarily mean a costly brand film, but every piece of content needs to tell your brand story and be worth the time and effort to create it. Ensure that you know what you want to achieve from your pharma content marketing campaign, allowing you to prove ROI and importantly, continuously improve.

Find out more about how video can help you cut through the noise and further your business objectives. Get your copy of our content marketing white paper.

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