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Crafting a Coherent Marketing Story

A great approach to developing your marketing message is to tell a purposeful and coherent story. In other words, think of content marketing through the lens of storytelling. In order to craft a compelling marketing story, you first need to understand your audience.

In the pharma sector, it is important to engage stakeholders and healthcare providers (HCPs) to sustain mutually beneficial relationships, but the ability to be relatable is an additional requirement in storytelling. To do this you need to thoughtfully frame your story in a way that resonates with your audience.

At the most basic level, the storytelling process should include an unmet need or frustration, a resolution, and results. These pieces should be considered on a level that relates to and engages with your audience, as well as on a level that promotes your company’s expertise and relevance. Using a multichannel approach in your communications strategy is the most meaningful way to broadcast your story. Just be sure to support your story with reliable data to position your company as a valuable and trusted resource for HCPs and stakeholders.

Tell a relatable story that engages your audience
Today, HCPs and industry professionals are extremely busy, and because of the movement toward digital marketing, they often get inundated with marketing materials and information that is not necessarily targeted at their interests, or even engaging. While pharma marketing practices in general benefit from HCP segmentation—determining the needs, hopes, desires, and preferences of different physicians and grouping them accordingly—this tactic can also be used to help you create a narrative that engages your audience both rationally and emotionally.

A marketing story that engages busy HCPs and stakeholders should be framed in a way that is relevant to their experience but also positions your company as an exceptional resource. Challenge your audience to think critically by using the storytelling mechanism to first present a challenge, provide a resolution, and offer results that reinforce your primary message. For example, discuss a gap in current healthcare services that your company has the facility and resources to diminish, thus providing HCPs the ability to improve current standards of care. Another example is to highlight a relevant case study (along with the insights gained) that chronicles a similar situation to which your audience can relate.

Your story should establish expertise and relevance
A compelling narrative should not only engage and challenge your audience, but it should also establish your company’s expertise and relevance. Let’s revisit the basic storytelling formula through this perspective. In presenting the challenge, describe it with thorough evidence and be sure to include how it ultimately affected the people involved. This shows that you understand a rudimentary problem or obstacle that HCPs frequently face, and allows your audience to identify with the story, attesting to your ability to be relevant.

Next, discuss the resolution: what was the strategy that guided your ability to resolve the problem? And what were the specific insights you gathered through the problem-solving process to arrive at the resolution? Including these points in your story arc is a meaningful way to demonstrate your expertise: express knowledge of various industry shortfalls and how your company has been able to overcome specific challenges. The results should reinforce this by revealing the effectiveness of your solution, and should be supported by both qualitative and quantitative evidence.

Use a multichannel approach to sharing your story
The best way to distribute your marketing message in pharma communications is to adopt a multichannel approach to telling your story. The most important consideration when employing a multichannel strategy is to make sure the story you tell is clear, consistent, and creates a seamless experience across different platforms. That said, HCPs use a variety of communication channels to discover content, so remember when telling your story that not every channel has to include the same content. A multichannel approach to storytelling can drive your audience to discover different facets or perspectives of the story that lead to a similar resolution supporting the main message.

While consistency is key in telling your story, diversifying the communication modes helps keep your message fresh and exciting. In pharma, communication channels should include Web sites, social media, mobile apps, email, webinars, conferences, and other live events. To effectively engage HCPs, pharma marketers must ultimately meet their needs and wants. A common HCP need is to access valuable data quickly and easily, so make sure the marketing story integrates relevant supporting data, or points to the appropriate avenues of communication.

Multichannel strategies further allow marketers to track user analytics, which in turn allows you to better understand your audience, and informs the best approach for telling your story. When you craft a marketing story that is informative, clear, compelling, and is consistently presented across multiple channels, your HCPs and stakeholders will look to your company to provide relevant information and exciting communications.

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