Navigating the digital landscape

I hope you have had a wonderful holiday and are back full of energy.

Today’s topics:

  • Content strategy: navigating the digital landscape
  • How to make it easy for your customers to access digital content
  • Google trends and beyond – why context is key
  • Leadership: coaching considerations

Content strategy: navigating the digital landscape

In today’s digital era, providing content digitally is a necessity. The challenge lies in providing content in a way that ensures it stands out, and is accessible.

To add complexity, customer expectations and needs, and market-specific governance vary by location and culture; different customer types—patients, pharmacists, general practitioners, etc.—have different content needs.

At the recent DIA Medical Information and Communications Meeting in Brussels Dana Weber, International Digital Marketer and Katie Lewis, Vice President, both at Transperfect, shared recommendations for digital content provision. Dana suggested asking yourself: “What are HCPs looking for and do I have that information on my website?”

  1. Search approach: unveiling customer insights
    Search and social listening tools identify the type of content customers access online, and frequently used platforms. Data collected on company and competitor products provides insights into preferences and behaviours which vary from country to country. Dana suggests: Checking whether your company FAQs align with the terms that clinicians are using in their online searches.
  2. Surveying customers: Bridging the online-offline gap
    The types of questions asked online often differ from those made in direct calls to Medical Information teams. Understanding the drivers behind these behaviours can help companies tailor their online/offline content strategy. Surveys with healthcare professionals (HCPs), and patients can be conducted to gain insights into their content access preferences.
  3. Strategic placement of content: making information accessible
    Once you have identified the type of content your customers require you must ensure that it is easily accessible in the right format and in the right location.

Susan Mohamed and a team representing the Medical Information Leaders Europe (MILE) published an article providing guidelines for Digital Information provision for Healthcare professionals in March 2023 (Link).

Beyond the above approach Dana Weber added that market insights and competitor analysis help refine content strategy.

Key take-aways: In the world of online content, understanding your clients’ needs, monitoring content use and performance, and tailoring your content strategy accordingly, is critical to be relevant.

How to simplify access to digital content for your customers

It’s universally acknowledged that product-related content should be tailored to different customer types and accessible through their preferred channels. In addition, diverse customer types may favour distinct channels, and various inquiry types may lead to different contact methods, as outlined in the previous post.

However, even when you have taken all this into account, and identified key topics, formats, channels, and strategic content placement, the battle is far from won. The performance indicator for the success of the digital content provision is whether your customers access your content. It helps if you make it easy for them.

Here are some considerations from my consulting practice:

  • Transparency: Clearly communicate to customers on the website what information they can expect to find online and for which information they should contact the Medical Information department directly.
  • Consistency: Having a consistent approach across the entire company and products and teams regarding the type of information that is shared, which channel it is shared by and a harmonised format. Remember, customers engage with your company as a whole, they don’t think in individuals, in products or in individual teams, consequently, an approach that is not harmonised does not look professional.
  • Professional and fast platform: having a good platform that enables fast, easy, and efficient navigation to search for content
  • Fast access to support: If customers cannot access content online, provide them with the option to submit the query directly, without retyping the entire content of their request, or to transfer to a live chat, a video call, or to leave a phone number for call back. Don’t make them have to change channels, i.e. pick up their phones to call customer service themselves.

There is nothing more frustrating than performing online searches only to discover that certain information is not available online or not available to certain customer types at all.

Key take-away: Make customer access to your content easy, you would be surprised how often it is not.

Google trends and beyond – why context is key

Discussing how Google Trends can provide insights into healthcare professional’s medical information search behaviour online, a presenter said “people put information online all the time, it is important to take inventory of this information, to understand the needs of different demographics, avoid the temptation to ‘boil the ocean’ by conducting initial assessments to verify hypotheses.”

She went on to share a surprising revelation based on her research regarding content searches for a certain product. According to Google Trends, most questions submitted in Germany were in English. Asked about this she smiled saying: “Google doesn’t lie”. Upon reflection she mused: “Does it?”. This experience highlights something important: data analytics are valuable, looking at trends is critical, but interpretation must always be context dependent.

Depending on the type of healthcare professional you are interested in, their area of expertise, geographical location, and international exposure, they may search for medical information and product-specific details in either English or their mother tongue. If you want to ensure you understand your target audience, understanding whether what you observe is the complete reality, a subset of available information, or something else entirely, is crucial.

Key takeaway: If you are analysing global trends for your products, cross-check your data with local teams, who know the local market, and who can potentially question your insights.

Leadership: coaching considerations

Most employees have had many assessments and have benefited from coaching. Typically, at the beginning there are the tests: Myers Briggs, Insights, Belbin, DISC etc. as well as 360° feedback from colleagues and superiors. The information gain from these activities is significant, but although each approach brings valuable information to the fore, most of these tests identify what is, what is seen, what the coachee knows and what others observe and experience.

While there is undeniable value in having the information these assessments provide I believe it is also important to explore what is underneath.

I find that taking verbal communication out of coaching enables coachees to access their emotions, their experience, and their situation differently.

We are raised in a culture of language. We think, we write, we communicate using words. When coachees work with drawings, constellations, and other non-verbal approaches to review the “what is” it is easier to strip away superimposed narratives and enables relatively access to what is at the core of a situation. Frequently, new insights and connections rapidly emerge, often to the surprise of the coachee.

Key take-away: Often a non-verbal approach to coaching can bring surprising insights.

I hope my blog provides you with useful insights if you have a project you need support with or are interested in coaching, please contact me to discuss whether I can support you. To find out what clients and coachees say about working with me, please follow this link.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Isabelle C. Widmer MD

Photo Credit: Errol Ahmed @unsplash