The increasing volume of digital content over the past three years has been staggering. Last year, more than three million Facebook posts, 440,000 tweets, 1,400 blogs, and 500 hours of video content were published every minute, according to Smart Insights (http://bit.ly/1TBPR6S).

The use of these channels isn’t just for consumers anymore. Industries such as life sciences are experiencing tremendous growth in digital content as well. According to Accenture (https://accntu.re/2cPMo9X), almost every biopharmaceutical (78%) and medical technology (95%) company it surveyed is creating a higher volume of digital content and assets today than they were two years ago.

This trend is driving a greater need for commercial organizations to more efficiently reuse and recycle content across channels, regions, and programs. However, only 2% of life sciences companies effectively reuse content today, according to Veeva Systems’ research (http://bit.ly/2uFct4x).

Josh Hopkins, Marketing Manager of Analytics and Digital at Roche Diagnostics, saw the digital revolution in life sciences coming when he started his career nearly 15 years ago at a traditional marketing agency. In 2009, Roche Diagnostics hired Hopkins to kick-start its digital transformation.

“We began our digital journey relatively early and have continued to accelerate our efforts each year,” says Hopkins. “Digital is key to remaining competitive. The proliferation of content continues to grow as we try to maximize the impact of new communications channels and connect with hard-to-reach doctors, particularly in the labs and teaching hospitals that we target.”

Hopkins understood that he would need to clearly define Roche Diagnostics’ content strategy, implement new organizational processes, and modernize technology to foster an environment for content reuse, while maintaining compliance with regulatory bodies. In 2015, he rolled out an aggressive, three-year plan to get Roche Diagnostics, as he said, “on the other side of transformation.”

His plan included five key areas:

  1. Build a foundation: Define new processes and procedures and select and implement a technology platform for marketing automation and content management.
  2. Define governance: Create rules and automated workflows to ensure compliance globally.
  3. Ensure a seamless experience: Give customers a consistent experience with similar branding and cohesive messaging across channels.
  4. Enable multichannel: Integrate mobile and CRM so the company can gain insights and a more holistic view of customers from digital through in-person touchpoints.
  5. Measure success: Find automated ways to capture and analyze customer data across channels, with the goal of doing predictive marketing and increased strategic business planning.

Roche produces 400 brand-new promotional materials each month. At this rate, technology was especially critical to effectively manage versions; track content; conduct medical, legal, regulatory reviews; and retire expired or obsolete content. “We needed a new platform to support the complexity of our business as well as the proliferation of digital content and channels,” explains Hopkins.

After researching his options, Hopkins selected a cloud-based content management solution to increase efficiency across Roche Diagnostics’ commercial organization. So far, the company has experienced significant improvements in reducing compliance risk, speeding reviews and approvals, and enabling content reuse globally.

Ensuring Compliance

Hopkins and his team were overwhelmed with ensuring compliance with so much content in multiple places. Now they can automate the process of removing expired content to better ensure compliance and are about to automate several content distribution processes. “When a promotional piece is approved, it will flow right to the sales team without any human intervention. Likewise, we can easily remove it across channels at expiration,” says Hopkins. “This has been pivotal to enabling our digital transformation. We can achieve faster time to market through direct distribution to the channel, and do it compliantly.”

Reviewing Content Faster

Content reviews can hinder the production of personalized digital content. Roche Diagnostics has significantly streamlined this process and improved collaboration with external agencies by enabling simultaneous reviews with a clear audit trail. Previously, in-person content reviews took days for a single promotional piece. Now reviews are completed digitally, and only require a few hours. “Speed is crucial,” adds Hopkins. “We are also able to more quickly produce higher-quality content because we can more easily collaborate with our valuable partners.”

Reusing More Content

Content reuse has the potential to save millions of dollars a year in production. According to Veeva research, large companies that reuse content for 10 brands across 80 countries can save more than $40 million on average. Hopkins and his team are experiencing similar benefits, which have been foundational to the company’s digital transformation. “We can now create content that can be adapted and reused on a regional or affiliate level, and then link these versions to the original source,” says Hopkins. “This has greatly accelerated content creation, reduced agency costs, and ensured consistent messaging. Every life sciences company is seeking a shortcut in content development—and this is it.”

Until a few years ago, companies wouldn’t consider re-engineering their commercial content processes because of the complexity and compliance risks involved. Roche Diagnostics, similar to many other life sciences organizations, understood that a new approach was needed in the digital age to keep pace with the dizzying amount of new assets and channels, as well as evolving regulatory requirements.

“The proliferation of content that most companies go through today is hard and can be a roadblock to digital transformation,” adds Hopkins. “How are you going to manage that content if you need to pull something down? What is the procedure? Who is responsible? Who is going to verify that it was done? All of these considerations must be defined at the beginning and then automated as workflows within a modern technology solution. This has been foundational for Roche Diagnostics.”

  • John Chinnici

    John Chinnici is Vice President of Global Commercial Content at Veeva Systems. John is responsible for leading Veeva’s Commercial Vault PromoMats business. He ensures that Vault PromoMats is enabling the digital supply chain of all 200+ customers while positioning the solution to enable future customers as well. 

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