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Thought leadership

Going beyond branded content: dynamic CRM that provides value

JJ Chestney, VP, StrategyBy JJ Chestney, VP, Strategy

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When it comes to patient CRM communications, most brands tend to simply repurpose content from their website to elevate key messages that are aimed at either deepening consideration among prospects or helping patients start and stay on treatment. Someone signing up to receive CRM communications from a brand, however, is likely looking for more than what they’ve already found on that brand’s website or within other materials like product brochures. While it is important for brands to emphasize important branded content and key messages, brands need to think beyond the basics to provide consumers with content that adds tangible, additional value to their disease and treatment experience—some of which may not come from the brand at all.

While branded websites can serve as a great centralized source of information, the reality is that it does not always—nor should it—capture all content needs that can help patients in their daily lives. A pharmaceutical brand doesn’t need to create everything themselves if excellent resources already exist. In many disease states, there can be a wealth of educational resources, but the quality can vary greatly and they can be spread out or hard to find. Thus, brands can act as curaters of content by providing a “best-of-the-Web” for patients and caregivers.

The good news is that brands don’t need to look far for helpful, dynamic content that can provide real value by enhancing people’s daily lifestyle and management of their conditions. For example, advocacy groups already engage patient communities with forums, content, and a host of resources that can help consumers better understand and manage their disease. However, advocacy groups aren’t the only place marketers can turn to for helpful content. There are many other sources of valuable patient content, such as YouTube videos, blogs, patient online communities/forums, and much more.

When creating CRM communications, consider reserving space within emails and direct mail pieces for additional helpful, value-added content not found on the consumer brand website:

Disease Education
While many brands put some level of disease education content on their brand sites, it’s often not as in depth as what you would likely find on other websites focused more solely on the condition. Driving patients to disease education resources allows people at varying stages of their journey to digest information at their own pace and according to their own needs. For example, patients who are newly diagnosed may need a different level of support than those who are relapsing or managing a chronic condition.

Events: Live and Virtual Webinars
While many brands offer events for patients that typically focus on branded information, informing patients about events that are hosted by other organizations is a great way to allow for patients to get even more involved, meet new people, learn about a particular topic area, or become active in their community. Whether live or virtual, providing awareness of events outside of branded events can help patients in a variety of ways.

Connecting Patients to Healthcare Providers and Other Support Services
While your brand website may have a doctor finder tool, other sites may allow consumers to not only search for healthcare providers, but also other types of professional support such as emotional support, legal resources, financial assistance, and more. While patient support programs may only be able to include certain support offerings, advocacy groups may be able to complement the support with additional services the brand may not be able to offer.

Relevant, Time-Sensitive Content
Brands may have a difficult time providing time-sensitive information due to the constraints of the pharma marketing approval process or it may not make sense for brands to invest in such content development given that it can be easily leveraged elsewhere, (eg, information related to the COVID-19 pandemic). Instead, brands should look to other sources that can provide patients with this content.

Lifestyle Content
Brands sometimes have a difficult time providing patients with lifestyle tips and tricks as Medical, Legal and Regulatory teams often do not like to mix lifestyle content with branded claims. However, patients can be directed to lifestyle content specific to their condition provided by other sources. This lifestyle content can typically contain information related to diet and recipes, exercise tips, mindfulness techniques, relationship advice, and more.

Free Subscriptions to Ongoing Communications (Magazines or Podcasts)
Some advocacy sites may publish monthly or quarterly magazines or have a podcast series. Additionally, there may be influencers within the space who also may publish ongoing content or have podcasts of their own. Alerting patients of these can help them stay in the know with newsworthy topics in the management of their condition.

Patient Online Communities, Discussion Forums, and Blogs
Letting patients know how they can virtually connect with other patients like them via online communities, discussion forums, and blogs allows them the freedom to ask their burning questions or post about key topics in order to generate responses from their peers. This level of human connection can even foster lasting relationships among people who have the same condition.

Additional Support and Financial Resources
Patient support programs may only provide select offerings. Additionally, given pharma regulations, brands may be limited in providing certain things of monetary value to patients. However, other organizations can help to supplement those offerings with things such as access to live support, additional financial assistance through grants, access to complimentary products that may help people with their condition, and more.

Next time you’re rethinking your CRM approach, think outside the box and don’t be afraid to drive consumers to other sources of helpful content beyond what’s on the brand website—especially since the goal is to provide patients with access to a variety of content and resources that are out there for them.

The Evoke CRM Center of Excellence helps pharmaceutical and healthcare marketers enhance the value of their CRM programs. Our cross-disciplinary experience includes staying abreast of best practices, exploring new and unique channels to engage with both customers and consumers and alerting our clients of newsworthy alerts as they happen. To request case studies or more information, contact