Clarity First. Clarity Always – Managing Marketing Content in the Life Sciences

Marketing from the Life Sciences industry is constantly under the spotlight. US state and federal governments have handed out some eye-watering fines to pharmaceutical companies for false claims. Yet, consumers, physicians and Life Sciences companies all want the same clarity and transparency in the information delivered. Life Sciences marketing management systems need to change before the industry loses its most important asset: stakeholder trust.

Operating within any heavily regulated industry is challenging and the penalties for non-compliance are rightly severe. When people’s lives are at stake, it’s clear that the marketing information has to be reliable and trustworthy. A 2016 Public Citizen showing that pharmaceutical companies had paid over $35 billion in fines over the last 25 years demonstrates that these standards have not always been achieved.

However, research suggests that the public retain high levels of trust in the marketing information they receive. Kantar Media suggests that 86% of adults have had some form of medical test and 66% have had an annual physical as a result of being exposed to TV advertising. In addition, Harvard University found that over three quarters of people felt that pharmaceutical companies did adequately explain the side affects and risks of their drugs. So, most people think that Life Sciences companies are doing the right thing. They just want to be sure they can rely on what they’re being told.

The limitation of modern marketing systems

This is where the marketing environments within many Life Sciences companies – especially large global organizations – are currently acting as an impediment. They are constraining the agility companies need in order to fully grasp the opportunities in innovation and market conditions. They are inhibiting the ability to deliver excellent and consistent customer experience in an increasingly omni-channel world. life sciences marketing

More importantly, the lack of end-to-end control and visibility across all marketing activity and assets leaves huge potential for the type of error or over-sight that can lead directly to huge fines.

The situation is totally understandable. The last decade has seen an explosion of sales, marketing and creative solutions. The result is siloed marketing ecosystems where many solutions that are incompatible with each other.

Sales enablement, marketing automation, social media management, creative production systems and more all handle vital, sensitive information – almost always without any centralized control. Project management systems are often localized and provide little or no integration into the other marketing and creative systems. Add to this the need to collaborate and share information with partners and external agencies – frequently on a country-by-country basis – and the full scale of the challenge becomes apparent.

The holistic approach to Life Sciences marketing

What is required is a change in thinking. Life Sciences companies have to move away from a project-based tactical approach to marketing – focused primarily on campaign delivery – to a more strategic approach around the effective management and optimization of all the company’s digital assets. OpenText calls this Marketing Content Management.

Marketing Content Management enables a Life Sciences company to take complete centralized control of all its digital assets and marketing activities across the entire global organization and its extended marketing supply chains. It brings together all the disparate systems that currently form the marketing ecosystem and allows the organization to take a holistic quality approach to the marketing information lifecycle for the first time. Embedded analytics help companies assess the efficiency of their processes as well the effectiveness

What is most important about this approach is the level of control that the company now has. It can now ensure that information is up-to-date and correct as it passes through the marketing process. Policies and procedures can be put in place to manage all digital assets from initiation to disposal. In addition, information can be securely shared with partners and agencies.

The organization can ensure that everyone works to its standards and adheres to its policies. This delivers a new level of brand protection as the marketing department will have full visibility of how its marketing materials are amended and deployed by trading partners such as resellers and distributors.

Marketing Content Management eases the burden of regulatory compliance on the Life Sciences marketing organization. It delivers the transparency and auditability that means the company can ensure the information within this marketing activities is correct and reliable – and it is easy to provide the information should a regulatory agency require. It is the foundation upon which customer trust can be built and maintained.

Jaleel Shujath

Jaleel is an Industry Strategist in Life Sciences for OpenText, based near Washington DC.

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