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Modular Content: a Q&A with Mubasher Hassan, Global Head of Content Management, Grünenthal


Mubasher Hassan is the global head of content management at Grünenthal, a Germany-based, privately-held pharma company focused on delivering pain management solutions globally. He recently sat down with Pharm Exec to talk about his experience leading the company toward content excellence with a new operating model to address changing healthcare professional (HCP) needs. As he explains, optimizing the digital content supply chain to meet HCP preferences is a key focus for the biopharma sector, which is relying on technology that can deliver compliant, personalized content at scale.

Pharm Exec: Why are biopharma companies moving toward a new operating model for content?

Mubasher Hassan: If offering a best-in-class customer experience is your focus, that means delivering the content HCPs want, when and where they want it. Our customers have higher expectations today than ever before. They want content that is tailor-made to their specialty area and local market, accessed quickly and easily throughmultiple channels.

Mubasher Hassan

Mubasher Hassan

Digital channels have been facilitating customer engagement for a while now. We see that from the increasing number of HCPs who prefer to interact with us online, a trend accelerated by the pandemic. But being truly customer-centric means moving from a traditional, in-person approach toward a multichannel strategy, which can be challenging.

This forced us to re-evaluate the standard model for creating content and conclude that it was not sufficiently agile or scalable to cope with the new reality. We couldn’t deliver customized materials that were both highly insightful and consistent across multiple channels — or, at least, not without using our entire brand budget.

How does modular content help to optimize content production?

While companies tend to produce a lot of material, making that digital content available for reuse is a huge challenge. The key is better processes, better governance, and better digital asset management. This is all possible with a modular content strategy.

As an example, consider a traditional eDetailer, which can sometimes be 40-50 slides long. Finding and reusing approved content in an asset of this length would be time-consuming, to say the least. But with modular content, we can divide the eDetailer into smaller blocks of channel-agnostic content, or ‘modules’, each of which is standalone and conveys a key message.

Instead of centralizing content creation, we use a co-creation approach with markets that allows for global strategy as well as local market specifications. That way, we can create content much closer to the customer by supporting local markets with their live campaigns. We use Veeva Vault PromoMats to make it easier for local teams to assemble modules into new assets that are tailored to regional HCP considerations.

Assembling modules also removes the heavy lifting for agencies, as content can simply be dragged and dropped into a template to create the final asset. This ensures consistency across channels and maintains cost control.

Modular content enables us to do many things to optimize our operating model so that we can efficiently create content across more channels, finetune our medical, legal, and regulatory (MLR) reviews, and improve our agility.

What are the operational considerations for companies adopting modular content?

Any new operating model requires a big shift in thinking within the organization and you need to set up your processes right to succeed. Have a plan for the internal roll-out of modular content and treat it as an iterative process.

Big transformations need senior management involved from the beginning, as their buy-in is critical. But keeping leaders updated on progress also requires frequent and clear communication. Think of it as learning a new and shared language across the organization: many terms need to be clearly defined, repeatedly explained, and communicated to stakeholders, so that everyone is eventually fluent.

Another critical step is engaging actual users within the content production process. It’s a good idea to do a few trial runs of your modular approach with these users and channel their feedback into the process.

Make sure you have the right people and the right technology. The right people will both challenge your assumptions and embrace change. The right technology needs to be more than a fit to your systems, so it’s helpful to partner with those thatalready have experience supporting similar transformation initiatives.

How can companies get started with modular content?

I’d recommend starting by modularizing some of your existing content. You already know the content well, it’s approved, and just needs to be broken down into smaller blocks. So, it’s easier to showcase how these blocks can be assembled and it builds team confidence before moving on to the next step of creating modular content.

No process is complete without determining the right key performance indicators (KPIs). Depending on the business objectives, these could focus on whether tailor-made content is improving customer engagement, how much more content is being reused, time saved on MLR, or cost savings from centralizing asset production.

At Grünenthal, it’s all about improving the customer experience. That means increasing the reuse of content, reducing time to market, and creating more personalized materials across channels. And with the right team, technology, and operating model, we feel we’re well on our way to achieving these goals.

Mubasher Hassan is the global head of content management at Grünenthal.

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