Content-Community-Commerce: The Next Big Thing in Pharma Marketing

Houzz, an online community about interior design and decoration, architecture and landscape from India, is valued at USD 2.3 billion in just five years since its inception. Another startup, Polyvore, a California-based community-powered social commerce website, is valued at USD 22 million. What’s common between the two and also some of the big corporate giants like Nike and Kiehl’s and Ducati is the Content-Community-Commerce (CCC) model. They worked on building loyalty through tapping-in the collective intelligence of communities with sharp content at the right time and now reap the fruits of robust commerce.

Cue for Pharma?

To identify the trend while the opportunity is still ripe. With differentiation between products becoming miniscule, competition rising with generics and biosimilars in the fray, inroads made by digital technology in information consumption patterns and rising government scrutiny on marketing practices, Content-Community-Commerce is the only sustainable way for you to get the desired marketing outcomes. The need for doctors to have a scientific dialogue in a comfortable space multiplies the significance of the CCC model manifold.

Communication of the Right Kind – Personalized and Informative – is Paramount.

It is time to embrace content and the latest strategies of its creation, targeting and analysis. With advancements in digital media and extremely busy schedules, most doctors prefer online resources for staying updated, limiting face-time meetings with your field force. Content marketing fits well into this scenario, acting as a pull mechanism, bringing your customer to your products. It helps you gain trust and build credibility with those who matter the most – the prescribers.

It is crucial to not just fixate on the molecule but aim for overall partnership and support. Know the pain points, offer on-point solutions. If doctors are struggling with practice management, help! Almost every physician wants to cover CME requirements. If you can meet this demand, you must. Talk about things that tell you have a conscience. Good Marketing has always been sentimental, notwithstanding how logical your audience. So, if you have a brand philosophy or guidelines, share! What about CSR and philanthropic work? Do you do it? Tell us why. Almost every one of us is looking for emotions behind your science.

To boost engagement with your content you just have to know your audience, understand its needs better than it does itself and to personalize. Create unbiased, educative content and keep communication two way. Be it about new treatment protocols, drug efficacy, clinical studies, initiate a dialogue.

Click here to know the latest rules of boosting engagement with physicians

And, Keep Your Messaging Uniform!

This is a real thing in marketing. From what your MR says to what your educative material and ads convey, it should all be the same. If a physician reaches out to your website after viewing your content, he should see either exactly what he saw in the ad or something along those lines, never something fundamentally different.

Plus, of Course, Building Trusted Relationships is Important

You know sales pitches are ok. But give something more to your audience to hold onto. Humanize your brand. Science is important but as said earlier, what about your legacy? Do you care for the people behind your science – are your employees your family? What do you do for them? Is there are ethos you swear by? Do you go the extra mile for environment? Well, that means so much for Dr. Jane and Dr. Joe because they are humans and at the end of the day, they want to know if you are human because it is easy to trust humans. It means so much to know brand ABC is not just a profit-hungry company that would do anything for the extra digits. Give them confidence to pick up that pen and prescribe!

But that’s not all. Because just having your content ready is not enough.

Where is Your Community?


There is an innate sense in humans to belong to a group of like-minded people facing similar challenges and concerns. Why, you may ask? Wouldn’t we rather believe in solutions, ideas and discussions coming from someone from our own community than elsewhere? We need an assurance that what is being said is not out of pure lust for profits. That is the reason that gone are the days when lonely planet was sufficient for travel information. We’d now also check out Trivago for a fellow traveler’s account to acquire realistic information. A Brandwatch study revealed that 96% people that discuss brands online do not follow those brands’ owned profiles. If the right people are not listening, you are wasting precious time and even more precious, money. It is wiser to turn to communities for such discourse.

Most physicians find proprietary pharma resources for information biased, similar to the perception of pharma professionals. Doctors have therefore moved towards third-party doctors-only platforms. Most of these have strict rules of moderation but the rules are worth the last buck. Docplexus, for instance, discourages advertorial tonality, also fact-checks content to be published, down to the T. Thanks to content neutrality and the possibility of interdisciplinary knowledge-sharing, not just are we a 300,000+ strong doctor community, but also a trusted source of ethical marketing for our pharma clients.

So, you see it is all pretty basic. As for Commerce, it is a direct and natural outcome once content and community are checked in the list. It is almost always inbound and sustainable. At Docplexus, doctors reach out to pharma companies on their own, when interested in a specific article. They engage with the content too, providing feedback and insights that prove valuable for strategizing the brand’s commercial success.

To sum up, the Content-Community-Commerce model is pivotal to attain marketing excellence in Pharma. As Dan Reich puts it in his Forbes article, “Content for inspiration and information; Community for social validation and recommendations; and Commerce for making the purchase.” The question is, Is Pharma ready to take the plunge?

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