The healthcare landscape has changed dramatically over the past several years in large part due to the shift in focus. There’s now more emphasis placed on improving patient outcomes, reducing costs, and utilizing the abundance of available data to continually improve and innovate.
While I can sit here and discuss the many nuances of the current life sciences industry (and potentially bore you doing so—the topics are everywhere), I’d rather chat about another paradigm shift in life sciences: content marketing.
A content strategy isn’t the marketing theme du jour for life sciences, especially with the industry’s focus on value and patient engagement. There’s no escaping its powerful grasp on the success of an organization: Content now plays a crucial role in sales interactions and meeting revenue goals.
In a perfect world, creating winning content would be a simple task. But enabling your content marketing efforts to support your sales team can come with many challenges.
Challenge #1: Creating the right content while staying true to the regulatory environment and your buyer’s needs
Marketers from all industries struggle with understanding how their sales cycle relates to their buyer’s journey. Hey, I’ve been there—but we’re all a work in progress, right?
The thing is, creating valuable content that answers your customers’ questions at each stage of their journey is critical for positive Sales interactions and company performance. Add to that evolving regulatory requirements and the new buying model that’s erupted—your head will surely spin.
You may ask yourself:
- How can I speak to my customers’ specific needs?
- What content is the right content?
- What distribution channels should I be using?
- How do I mitigate risk during this process?
That’s why before you can even consider creating content for each of the buyers within the purchasing journey, you must first determine what your company’s buyer’s journey (or journeys) looks like.
Challenge #2: Using consistent, compliant, and on-brand messaging
Brand compliance is something that keeps many Marketing leaders up at night. More so, life sciences organizations are grappling to find a scalable solution to ensure all collateral stays up-to-date and compliant as regulations, data, and other information sources are constantly changing.
While you may want to allow your Sales team the autonomy they need to surface and customize the right content to elevate the degree of engagement with your customers, this leaves many doors open for possible compliance violations.
To better understand your potential compliance risks, ask yourself the following questions:
- How many channels are you utilizing to distribute your content?
- How many locations does your sales team have to navigate in hopes of finding a piece of content relevant to a specific selling situation?
- How many repositories and technology systems does your marketing team utilize?
- Are you anxious to see what outdated content your sales team may be using or may have stored elsewhere (i.e. desktops) without your knowledge?
- Do you have a current process in place that helps you diminish risk for your content?
- How is your marketing team’s relationship with your compliance department?
If some of the answers to these questions caused a few red flags to pop up, you might want to think about consolidating the repositories where you house your content to one single source. The inevitable outcome of this will be hyper-relevant, on-brand, and compliant content on a consistent basis.
Challenge #3: Understanding how content is truly being used
The relationship between marketing and sales can best be summed up by one of my favorite SNL skits: “The Joys of Marriage”. On the outside, the marketing and sales relationship is great. Everyone is doing their job, you’re still getting customers, and everything seems to be smooth sailing. It isn’t until you take a [realistic] look on the inside and you’ll see that it can be challenging, infuriating, and downright messy at times.
Marketing creates multiple pieces of valuable content meant for the sales team to utilize during their interactions. Sales smiles and nods at marketing, claim they’re using it all, and that it’s “working well”.
But, how can you be so sure? How do you know that your sales team is actually using your content, or better yet, how your customers are engaging with it? And furthermore, without this knowledge, how are you measuring the success of your content and strategizing for future content initiatives?
It’s imperative to know what content works and where/when it works to best drive improvements to your ongoing content marketing strategy, while also seeing the performance of each piece of content, both internally and externally. Sharpening your team’s approach to content creation will be largely derived from these insights, thus improving the holistic content marketing effort within your organization.