by James Anderson, Jay Borowiecki & Bruce Carlson

For years, the highly personalized, omnichannel customer journey has been somewhat of a pipedream for life sciences marketing teams—until now. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the evolution of healthcare providers’ (HCP) expectations for personalized engagement, an industry-wide transformation is finally underway.

Today, life sciences organizations must reach physicians in personalized ways in order to stay competitive. Yet, they are burdened by the content creation process—including medical, legal, and regulatory review (MLR)—to get their messages to market.

Beyond that, companies must consider the challenges of messaging limitations as well as content tracking and execution. If they’re not able to do this effectively, they’ll experience decreased effectiveness with omnichannel marketing.

To address these constraints and meet omnichannel expectations, it’s critical to take a proactive approach by implementing an effective content process. This gives you the ability to track when content is used and how it’s responded to—crucial information for selecting the right content to personalize each customer journey and honing your overall brand strategy.

Read on to discover the common roadblocks to content readiness and three actionable ways your life sciences organization can overcome them to achieve omnichannel success.

Common Content Readiness Struggles

The top hindrances to omnichannel content readiness are related to limitations: in time, in messaging, and in processes.

Time-consuming Content Creation Process

Between the unique needs of each channel and a dynamic marketplace, life sciences organizations can’t seem to make content fast enough—especially when taking into account the need for MLR.

To address the arduous review process, it can help if life sciences organizations bundle similar information together for reviews, so all similar pieces for a channel or HCP type are reviewed in sequence or at the same time (if the MLR team is comfortable with that approach).

Lack of Clarity in Tagging

Even if your organization has a lot of great content, its use is limited without proper tagging and categorization. To address the usability of content, life sciences organizations need to have a consistent tagging system in place.

This step is especially critical for any organization looking to leverage an intelligence solution for content recommendations or Next Best Action. It is especially beneficial for maximizing resources when one piece of content could potentially sit in multiple categories.

Tagging might feel overwhelming and tedious, but once it’s complete, you’ll have a system in place for understanding what is working for each physician, organizing future content and enabling marketing and sales teams to be more effective cross-functionally.

Inconsistent Execution

Similar to tagging, content is much less useful if it’s not executed across channels. It’s one thing for your organization to add a blog post about a new indication that was recently approved for your therapy. That’s great if—and that’s a big if—HCPs are digging around on your site long enough to find it. (Chances are, they are not.)

It is much more effective to take the information in that blog post and create an email campaign targeted to relevant HCPs, add in a direct mail component for others, and post content on popular HCP sites like WebMD, Doximity or others for HCPs that spend time on those platforms. This omnichannel approach requires you to build a content structure (through tagging) and have the resources and processes in place to execute content quickly.

Overcoming Content Readiness Obstacles

There are a number of processes life sciences organizations can put into place to address these content readiness obstacles. It all starts with investing the time and resources in proper content organization and getting omnichannel alignment within your organization itself.

Doing so will create synergy among cross-functional teams and prevent content from becoming stale. It will also speed up responding to HCPs, creating campaigns and equipping sales teams with the right information for each engagement.

Invest in a Content Management System

A content management system (CMS) houses all content in one place, allowing stakeholders to see what content is available and how to easily access it. To maximize the capabilities of a CMS, keeping content organized through tagging is key.

Additionally, although it’s not essential, the more integrated your CMS is with your other systems, the better. It should have the capability of feeding information to your data warehouse, analytics teams, intelligence engine and more.

A fully functioning CMS, with tagging in place, will better position your organization to achieve omnichannel success through easily identifiable content based on audience or campaign.

Expedite Tagging with Artificial Intelligence

Once you’ve created a place to store the information, you’ll need to go through the process of tagging it. There are a number of algorithmic or AI-assisted ways to help expedite the content tagging process, but Natural Language Processing (NLP) is probably the most well-known. Using NLP, you can set up an organization-specific ontology, or shared vocabulary, then process content to extract any information that could potentially affect HCP engagement—from traditional pharma-specific concepts (like efficacy or safety) to sentiment analysis and even tone.

In addition to speed, taking an AI-led approach to content tagging also has the added benefit of agility. Once tagging models are built and validated, they are easier to update moving forward, ensuring that your omnichannel strategy reflects your latest intelligence about HCP engagement and that your process is designed to scale.

Transition to a Modular Content Approach

The agility of your content directly affects your success at omnichannel marketing. Most marketing and sales teams create content on an as-needed basis, going through the same process of concept, creation, review and execution every time.

But there is another, more efficient way to help your life sciences organization increase the agility of its content: a modular content approach. This approach flips the script of the cumbersome traditional content creation process—which is reactive—into a process that is both proactive and scalable.

A modular content approach anticipates content needs across channels and puts pre-approved core materials and elements in place so they are ready to go during the fast pace of campaigns, prospecting and HCP outreach. These modules of content can be assembled in any way required for sales or marketing.

The core materials might include important or common messaging in the form of headlines, body copy and calls to action as well as images, legal copy and logos. Together, these build a framework for messages and allow work to be completed in a more templated (i.e. quicker) way.

All of these content pieces undergo MLR in bulk at the front-end of content development, so MLR isn’t needed every time content needs to be published, delivered or sent. This is, perhaps, the biggest time-saver.

It’s worth noting that success with modular content is partly determined by understanding the different promotional channels and what content works best on those. But it’s also determined by execution—sending target lists, knowing how to respond, and being able to tailor content based on those responses—and the speed at which this can be done.

A modular content approach addresses all of this, positioning organizations for omnichannel success without setbacks from regulatory review and asset creation.

Align Your Organizational Goals

Customers expect your content delivery to be personal and seamless, and this starts with a fine-tuned organizational focus. The right resources and the right people must work in tandem to deliver the right message at the right time. However, this doesn’t mean you must completely restructure your organization. What it does mean is that a customer-centric viewpoint should drive the way your company operates.

This involves aligning leadership, resources and cross-functional teams while applying a multifaceted, customer-first approach to goals, plans and decisions. Additionally, it takes a clear understanding of each customer and how to best reach them through a personalized, omnichannel approach. When this is done successfully, you’re more likely to achieve omnichannel excellence.

More often than not, companies work in silos: marketing, sales and other teams are focused on their own initiatives. When it comes to omnichannel marketing, narrowing these silos will help ensure that marketing teams create content that supports sales needs, and that sales teams use the content that is available to them to do effective, timely and personalized outreach. These are better accomplished by a collaborative approach rooted in organizational alignment.

Content Readiness in Action

Executing an omnichannel strategy is multifaceted, but it’s not an insurmountable task. Before deploying omnichannel efforts, start by knowing your goals and audience, cataloging existing content, and aggregating key messaging in one place. Also look for content gaps, considering what content your organization is missing that hinders the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and sales pitches. From there, you can make a list of the content and assets needed and build a timeline for execution.

With a framework for goals, key messages, cataloged content and a content “wish list” informed by any content gaps, your life sciences organization will position itself for personalized engagement with HCPs that lead to richer, more valuable relationships as a result.

Looking for more resources to navigate the industry shift to intelligent and personalized omnichannel engagement? Download our new Frequently Asked Questions about Omnichannel guide.