#MeetTeamBacke: Nichole Moyer

HCP Marketing: Using variable content to add flexibility and nuance

In healthcare marketing, every communication, variation, and use must be vetted by a medical-legal-regulatory (MLR) team, which can take weeks or months. This is where variable content comes into play. With one basic design, different pieces of content can be swapped out to communicate different messages to different audiences, and put them all through the MLR approval process in advance.

Backe Account Supervisor Nichole Moyer has managed many variable-content marketing efforts in the pharmaceutical and healthcare space. I asked her for some insights on how it all works and what she has learned along the way.

Moss: How long has Backe been involved with executing variable-content strategies in healthcare marketing?

Nichole: We’ve always done it a little – by email subject line testing, for example. Over the past two years we’ve taken it a lot further. Now we’re testing different messages, images, and creative in our promotions. The technology has made it easier – and certainly, our customers are asking for us to do it more. They’ve put a lot of thought into “How can we be more market ready, more competitive in our messaging – and do that quickly and efficiently? What can we get approved now, so it’s ready to put into the market in the future?”

Moss: Can you describe a typical variable-content marketing project, from start to finish?

Nichole: It usually starts with understanding why the client needs variable content. Do they want to reach different audiences with the same piece? Is there a market need to swap out a certain message or image? Is there a certain feature of a website that’s not available now, but will be in the future, so you want to have that messaging ready for when the time comes?

Once we understand the client’s strategic or business needs, we then go through the same process as we would for any other project: copywriting, concepts, layouts, and build, if appropriate. We’ll create multiple manuscripts or layouts to account for the variable content – always keeping in mind which parts will be variable and which are going to be consistent. We then work with our client to get everything approved by MLR so we have all options available to launch when needed.

Moss: Under what circumstances have you done variable-content projects involving websites?

Nichole: Our clients may want to do A/B testing to see which of two concepts works best. So, we’ll prepare two separate versions of the homepage, and our clients will use an A/B testing tool to serve up either option randomly for whoever visits the site.

Brands may want their customers to see different messages depending on whether they’re coming from a particular ad, or organic search, or they’re a returning user. Or they may have different campaigns running to different audiences, such as active prescribers vs. non-prescribers. If an active prescriber clicks through to the site from an email, they can be presented with a message tailored to an HCP who already believes in the product.

They might also prepare two different versions of a site depending on whether an upcoming drug will, or will not, be required by the FDA to have a boxed warning – and get them both approved in advance.

Moss: Are some types of variable-content projects easier to do more effectively than others?

Nichole: Yes. Emails are probably one of the easiest assets to tailor to specific audiences because you know the characteristics of who may open up your email. Using variable content allows you to speak to each audience in a way that they’re going to respond to. With banners, on the other hand, it’s a little harder to say, “I want this particular type of doctor in this region to see this specific message.” You don’t have that much control over who will see the banner.

Moss: Do you have any advice for brand teams who are doing variable-content promotions?

Nichole: Be as forward-thinking as you can and make sure every piece of variable content adds value to your campaign and your audience. And if there are a lot of variable elements, make sure your piece will still make sense no matter which combination comes into play. You don’t want to end up with a message that’s no longer cohesive.

Stay tuned to Backe social, where we’ll continue to unravel the mysteries behind an ad team’s everyday work – from design to strategy to social media and more – in our #MeetTeamBacke series.

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