Content marketing is the buzz of the marketing world today.
But what is it, really? Put simply, content marketing is all about establishing a brand as a trusted source of information by dependably offering a steady stream of valuable content that will ultimately drive sales.
And this kind of approach, rather than being something new for pharma, is actually part of our heritage. Let me give you an example.
Twenty years ago, one of my best friends worked as a sales rep for a major pharmaceutical company. A New Yorker of Greek descent, he proudly explained to me that in his territory of Astoria, Queens, there were “more Greeks than in Athens.” The offices he visited were mostly staffed by Greek doctors, many of whom became his best customers.
My friend formed friendships with the doctors, and entertained them and their wives at their favorite Greek restaurants, where the bouzouki music kept everyone dancing all night. As an outsider, I had a ringside seat to this HCP/rep relationship. They had things to bond over: Their culture, those dinners, shared experiences. These were the social objects at the core of the relationship.
And was there business conducted? Absolutely. But more than the pure transmission of information, there existed that bond—that trust—built over time, that didn’t just facilitate the connection but, in fact, made that connection possible.
So that was then. You had a company representative forging a trusting relationship based on shared interests, values and experiences, with the ultimate goal of generating sales.
Today, for a variety of reasons, such dinners are few and far between. Meanwhile, new products continue to launch and doctors have less time than they did in the past to learn about them, and so doctors experience a constant barrage of staccato one-way messaging. That’s no way to build a relationship. No way to build trust.
HCPs, like the rest of us, use tools to filter the deluge of articles, videos, infographics, polls, eBooks and webinars. We use readers and self-curation services, but even those are fraught with choices about what streams to follow; what channels to subscribe to; and what links to follow. How do HCPs make these decisions? How do we make these decisions?
More often than not, it is all a matter of trust. We remember trusted sources. And ultimately, we buy from trusted sources.
Sound familiar? Think of content marketing as a company representative forging and nurturing a trusting relationship based on shared interests, values and experiences, with the ultimate goal of generating sales.
So, for old time’s sake, let’s strike up the band and raise a glass—content marketing is just the trust marketing opportunity we’ve been waiting for.