Content marketing in pharma isn’t straightforward.
Producing something innovative in this space is difficult. Regulations might stand in the way of new content or messages being published. The result is your organisation and your competitors conducting similar marketing campaigns with similar messages.
As we operate in the business of illnesses, therapies and technologies, new content might need to go through lengthy approval processes. We are also in a sector where organisations are profiting from what is usually people who are sick or injured. Caution is, therefore, the utmost priority.
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Which is probably why the pharma and healthcare industries haven’t caught up with other industries in terms of creative content.
The B2C pharma industry
B2B pharma content, for a number of other reasons, is a little different to B2C pharma and healthcare. We are marketing to other organisations like us who have a product or service to offer so detail is important. But what is sometimes forgotten is that the end user is still a person with emotions and has a problem to solve.
Marketers who have business objectives to realise and challenges to overcome look for answers and solutions just like those people who are looking for relief from injury.
Content marketing has the ability to bridge the divide between businesses and other businesses just as it can connect consumers with healthcare products (as we will see shortly). But at present, we are rarely seeing B2B organisations doing this in a differentiated way. Differentiation, however, is a prerequisite for competitive advantage if content marketing is the vehicle to market.
B2C and healthcare content examples
Content marketing is a broad term. In a B2B context, when we say content, we usually mean press releases, case studies and whitepapers. But there is a world of content opportunities waiting for B2B pharma organisations based on the inbound methodology.
Here are five examples for content inspiration (along with a bonus sixth example that differs slightly) from consumer-facing organisations in pharma, that are different from many of its competitors' content.
German life sciences organisation, Bayer, has invested heavily in its content marketing. It has a range of content and editorial initiatives that span print and digital and boasts a large following. The organisation publishes two notable magazines as a carrier of its content: The Bayer Scientific Magazine and the Bayer Magazine.
The latter, the Bayer Magazine, comprises a range of friendly and engaging B2C and B2B topics and use a number of content types such as text, video, images, illustrations and even 360-degree drone footage to explain key information. Bayer's own publications are great examples of an organisation investing in high-quality content readers are attracted to.
Based in Japan, Takeda Pharmaceutical is the largest pharmaceutical company in Asia. In 2016, they launched IBD Unmasked which is a campaign to support and raise awareness of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, the content is unlike anything else you’ll see within the pharma industry.
The campaign aims to help others who suffer from IBD to find their inner super-strength and become superheroes like the characters featured in the graphic novels within the campaign. Nicknamed The Unbeatables, the five protagonists take on their enemies in this fun and powerful comic. The website also allows sufferers to create their own superhero, take part in quizzes and download tips to help them talk openly about IBD.
Scroll through pharmaceutical, life sciences or healthcare websites and social channels and you’ll find plenty of video content. However, few brands really stand out. Johnson & Johnson have taken a slightly different approach to its counterparts with its Distinctly Dad film that captures attention in a highly emotional way.
The film is formed around three dads and their influence on their children’s development and day-to-day lives. Very much a brand reinforcement message, the organisation infuses a philosophy of care throughout its organisation, and subsequently, its products. Bringing people closer to its brand in the process.
Lilly Pad is pharmaceutical organisation Eli Lilly and Company’s official blog. The blog consists of articles about the company, research, health and public policy and corporate responsibility. This content is perhaps less glamorous than others on this list but is a great example of a personable blog with a variety of content that is well-supported by its global employees.
The organisation also makes it easy to search for specific content by region (as per the location of their headquarters) that is available in the specified language. Employees from all areas of the organisation contribute and have helped form a range of supporting social media platforms, all of which are highly engaging and visually stimulating.
Speak Your Migraine
Speak Your Migraine, developed by Novartis, is an initiative created to support people living with migraine. The website is an example of a website that features great visuals, easy to digest content, videos of others dealing with migraine and a clear message. The website houses an impact assessment tool designed to show visitors how migraine affects people’s lives so those visitors are able to openly share their experiences with doctors and family.
Perhaps more importantly, the site also has a range of online community-based content, such as the Doctor Discussion Guide, Migraine Buddy app and Facebook page where sufferers can connect with others.
Food and nutrition ingredients specialist, and Orientation Marketing client Roquette, is the exception on this B2C healthcare list, who present content different to those above, but still, remain on the creative side. They have collaborated with EIT Food, University of Hohenheim and ETH Zurich to offer a four-week course to explore methods for the drying and encapsulation of food.
This is a great example of an organisation expanding on the webinar format of presenting content to registrants and offering highly valuable content via a comprehensive course. Taking the visitor into a trusted learning environment, offering highly structured and detailed content as well as providing opportunities for further conversation.
Why are they good examples of content?
Scour the internet and you’ll find more examples of good pharma/healthcare content marketing. (If you do find a standout piece of content worthy of inclusion on this list, please get in touch!)
All of these content examples share a number of common characteristics that make them good content examples. These characteristics are listed below, and also represent what you should be doing when it comes to your B2B content marketing.
They focus on real life
The examples above address a real-life scenario experienced by millions of people across the world. The products that organisations produce will contribute, directly or indirectly, to the treatment solutions for those real-life scenarios. This real-life impact should feature heavily in any B2B marketing campaign and the content should always lead with the problem.
They have a clear understanding of the user
The above examples also demonstrate a clear understanding of the end user. The end user doesn’t just consume a prescription. He or she might need to constantly learn about a condition, make lifestyle changes or introduce new regimes alongside the prescription. This might be the same for your B2B products and services, where educational content on how to use the product may be relevant alongside content that promotes the product.
They are to the point
Consumers of healthcare products want everything in black and white. This is exactly the same for the scientists that will use your products, as well as the procurement professionals that will be purchasing your products for them. Exclude marketing jargon and anything that may be deemed as dishonest and/or salesy and lead with a human voice.
They have a visual element
The importance of visual should never be understated. It breaks down much of the barriers associated with the content, making it digestible and immediately easy to understand. At times, what we are promoting can be complex and maybe even dull, so always look to be creative and turn the content into something that’s interesting, educational and appealing.
They start a conversation
Creating a community may not be the appropriate method to get people talking to you about your product. But starting a conversation is an important consideration of any content regardless of its intended audience and of its objectives. Always ask questions and prompt a discussion with all bits of content - prompt getting in touch with you and make it easy.
They are measurable
The examples above all sit on websites, campaign sites or other platforms that give their owners analytics and measurement capabilities. These campaigns can be measured on a basic level in terms of pageviews, but with deeper funnels, lead generation and automation software, a large array of metrics can be measured that can indicate how successful the current campaign is, as well as how likely future campaigns will perform.
Use the examples for your Next Content campaign...
As we started, pharma content isn’t easy; achieving differentiation is difficult.
We believe that advertising, through native and sponsored content in reputable publications, is needed for any B2B pharmaceutical organisation. Publications as such have long been the driving force in the science sectors for getting noticed and for brand positioning. But organisations can do more.
A well-executed content marketing strategy and/or tactics can get your audience coming to you, to find you as a relevant, differentiated source, to then build trust and finally prompt those audiences to engage with you. You can also improve the performance of your current social media and blog efforts.
Just like B2C pharma tells the story of its patients, B2B could tell the stories of its end users and the methodology behind the product benefits. And like the content examples above, being a little different in this respect can reap big rewards.
Do tread with caution; we are operating amongst an intelligent group of people.