As a marketer for a medtech company, you spend most of your time overseeing internal and external communications—mediating between corporate leaders and the sales team. The external communications are vital to your marketing strategy success. To stay competitive in the highly regulated medtech marketplace, you must empower your company’s sales representatives to sell efficiently. These reps rely on content, and not just any content—compliant, relevant content that targets specific end users.
These days, digital is the name of the game. From websites to social media platforms, information has never been more accessible and abundant. However, the risks of digital information are becoming more complex—particularly from a regulatory and legal perspective.
To overcome compliance challenges, it’s important to have an overview of your digital content. Content audits are the cornerstone of any effective medtech content strategy. They take a qualitative, comprehensive look at your team’s sales and marketing material.
Content audits help determine if your content is relevant, but also provide a critical starting point to ensure your content is compliant. Consider these three regulatory risks you run by not performing an effective content marketing audit.
1) Not Incorporating FDA Guidance Properly
Though regulations are continually changing, there are numerous standards that medtech companies must comply with, including those established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). From 2008 to 2012, the FDA issued more than 500 violations to companies that cited everything from “omission and minimization of risk information” to “overstatement of efficacy.” Thirty-four percent of these violations were from online channels.
In 2011, the organization provided direction on how companies should address unsolicited internet requests for off-label information. Among the suggestions, the FDA advised against using Facebook Share, claiming that the thumbnail generated by a social share omits risk information, which can lead to a misunderstanding and neglect of drug claims.
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Ultimately, the information provided by the FDA was limited, to say the least—and the agency has yet to issue comprehensive, updated industry guidelines. If anything, however, this illustrates that life sciences companies should proceed with caution online. Incorporating FDA and other global requirements into your audit process can help your team identify and avoid risk.
2) Inconsistent, Non-Compliant Content
Over the last decade or so, the accessibility, variety, and sheer volume of information has multiplied and evolved. While digital tools enable easy content creation, many of these documents are changed more than once by multiple people, across multiple departments. Not to mention, many employees manage several versions of one file or another, sometimes on their desktops or other inaccessible locations.
Keeping track of the latest versions of content is essential in the highly regulated medtech industry. From emails and social media, to web content and sales collateral, it’s vital to stay consistent and compliant. However, tracking revisions, maintaining multiple versions, and restoring files becomes difficult to perform manually.
That’s where version control comes in.
Version control is the process of managing changes to content across various systems and workflows. This process is scalable over time and provides insight and control over your organization’s most valuable asset: its data. In the context of a content audit, this means tracking changes, assisting with collaborative workflows, and storing older versions of articles and files. Ultimately, version control helps organizations ensure that you aren’t pushing off-label content into the market.
3) Damage to Brand Image and Trust
Websites, community forums, and social networking sites enable companies to provide information to consumers and develop a positive brand image. A strong online presence helps manage conversations, defuse crises, and create a holistic image.
On the other hand, a weak online presence can do more harm than good. Consumers may use social media to share an adverse product effect or complaint resulting from their experiences with a drug. This creates an adverse brand image and, in extreme cases, can erode customer trust. In this regard, it’s essential to manage all content that exists online, whether it’s generated by your team or your users.
While companies cannot control consumer comments, they can certainly monitor such events. Auditing and monitoring all content—including digital content on websites and social media platforms—helps your team ensure that content is relevant, useful, and compliant.
Content audits analyze current content and ensure that your end users are receiving relevant, compliant materials. It is important to perform content audits regularly to ensure content is compliant, up to date, and still relevant for your sales team. As a result, the sales teams will sell more efficiently, proving your marketing strategy a success.