Evans says the nature of the content, high quality digital storytelling, has allowed Langland to greatly expand the reach
of the campaign. "We've been able to make use of a lot of digital media channels not usually employed in this sector, including
targeted LinkedIn advertising, Google Adwords, YouTube, and sponsored Twitter activity."
He acknowledges that pharma companies have always had access to a wealth of quality content and expertise. "But I guess there
is often still an old 'brand guardian' mentality of keeping this great content either in a branded website or locked away
completely. This is quite naturally driven by the feeling of control that is given by an 'owned' website, but I think there
are more opportunities for pushing great content out to relevant publications and blogs to get greater value out of our marketing
Value may be the final stumbling block to pharma businesses accepting the content marketing challenge—it's not always easy
to measure ROI.
"This is something that we as agencies need to be helping our clients with, namely that it can be difficult to quantify the
impact and ROI of producing branded content not directly linked to a product," says Evans. "Without this information, pharma
marketing executives are rightly nervous in going up against medical to plead their case for taking on some of the potential
Nelson puts another slant on the ROI issue. "The challenge for most pharma marketers is setting and measuring appropriate
goals for performance of their current marketing campaigns. Without the ability to see the low impact current marketing efforts
are having, they're much less likely to try something different or take action to effect change."
Nelson's advice to any pharma marketer looking to take on content marketing is first and foremost to admit there is an opportunity
to improve and be willing to change.
Long term, the fragmentation of traditional channels and the disruption of old-style display advertising models may force
brand managers' hands. "It's getting harder and harder to interrupt customers," says Pulizzi. "That means we have to focus
on what they care about, not by sending out more information about our products and features. Whether the goals are demand
generation, customer loyalty, or creating brand evangelists, healthcare companies can win by selling less and publishing more."
Pharma's content-marketing opportunity is to make sure that when a doctor or a patient goes searching for information—which
we know they are doing more and more—the right content is there waiting for them, telling them what they want to know without
any hard sell. Heading back to that Saturday afternoon shopping trip, it's the difference between sales and service and when
the customer has a choice, service is everything.
Peter Houston is former Content Director for the Advanstar Pharma Sciences Group and edits his own digital media blog, FlippingPages. He
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