Content matters: GSK, Novo show how pharma can spark up content marketing

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The importance of content and pharma adoption of new marketing strategies around it was echoed across the Publicis HealthFront event last week. (PHM)

Good content matters even in pharma marketing—or make that especially in pharma marketing.

It’s the difference between the familiar "ask your doctor" tagline at the end of a TV ad and building out helpful websites, social media posts and other information that's packaged, promoted and available for patients to consume when and how they want.

At the Publicis HealthFront (PHM) event last week, a GlaxoSmithKline content expert outlined the ways GSK is working to do just that. Director of content and strategy Kate Greengrove said the company has revamped its thinking to emphasize content. And to boost innovation, it's embracing experimentation—and even failure, she said.

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“We’re beginning to talk about things like our content strategy north star—what is that, how do you use it and how do you think about different content types? We tend to serve up our content in big blocks of type, but that’s not how people consume content,” she said.

“Now think about how you take those messages and how you can package them in a different way," she added, "and serve them up so the patients and the HCPs can consume them when they want them and how they want them. It’s a different mindset.”

The importance of content and pharma adoption of new marketing strategies around it was echoed across the PHM event. Several speakers on a TV panel, for example, noted the importance of content experimentation in broadcast work.

Danielle Calnon, a vice president in entertainment sales for Disney Advertising, which includes ABC, pointed to the success of the Novo Nordisk Type 2 diabetes storyline integration into actor Anthony Anderson’s ABC comedy hit “Black-ish.” Anderson, who has Type 2 diabetes in real life, wrote a Type 2 diagnosis storyline into the show as part of the partnership with Novo for the “Get Real About Diabetes” disease awareness campaign.

“There is such a proliferation of media now, what’s gotten more important is the relevance and the authenticity of talking to a shared consumer,” said Christina Glorioso, NBC's senior VP of integrated marketing and network partnerships.

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And at GSK, the revamped content approach works, Greengrove said, citing one example focused on GSK's lupus med Benlysta. When she started on the brand, the marketing push for patient-initiated conversations hadn't lifted prescription numbers.

So GSK changed the way it talked to patients and changed the call to action. Instead of simply telling patients to ask their doctors, GSK offered more educational and directed content. That way, patients would be armed with the information they needed to have a better talk with their doctors. The result was about a 40% lift, Greengrove said, “because they had good content.”

“If you’re not getting the behavior change you want, try experimenting with something else. (As an industry), we tend to take the same path all the time,” she said.