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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

A Fine Line

Pharmaceutical and logistics businesses want to stand apart from the competition, and are searching for new and innovative ways to do so. In their desire for exposure, many have turned to content marketing and social media. The presence of brands on social media has led consumers to expect companies to be straightforward and explicit in all external communications. However, for some firms, this is simply not possible.

While digital tactics have allowed many to establish both trust and visibility, they come with serious risk: over-sharing has the potential to compromise both company and customer privacy. As a result, the pharma and logistics industries must be savvy in all internal and external communication strategies, in order to preserve both confidentiality and security.

Safe, Dynamic Content

All brands require some level of exposure or visibility in order to grow and compete. To raise awareness and to accelerate expansion, businesses across the globe are now turning to content marketing, social media and technology.

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “creating and distributing relevant and valuable content in order to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action”. This is an essential approach for businesses that strive to compete on a national level.

Pharma and logistics companies can cement their brands in the minds of others by creating and maintaining their presence through multiple content marketing strategies. Supportive content, such as white papers and case studies, are valuable to potential customers because they relay informative and exampledriven stories.

The catch? Many in these industries simply do not know how to walk the line between celebrating the work they do for their customers, and maintaining the confidentiality that clients deserve.

Security Problem

As online use increases, so too does the concern about the type of information that is shared in social media forums. In September 2013, a PewResearchCenter study found that 86% of online users are worried about their privacy and have taken steps to protect their information (1). This apprehension is prompted by the unprecedented scope and reach of the internet, which makes it almost impossible to conceal private information once it has been shared in an online forum.

Privacy fears are always present for businesses in the pharma industry in particular – they face the necessity of staunchly preserving their customers’ confidentiality in a society that demands transparency.

Breaches in company privacy are very real, and can result in physical or intellectual theft that compromises both customers’ livelihoods and reputations. One such breach occurred in 2010 in Connecticut, US, when thieves cut through the roof of an Eli Lilly warehouse and made off with millions of dollars’ worth of medications.

This theft represents a great concern in the logistics and pharma sectors regarding the risks of compromised information and industry practices.

Privacy Solution

Companies must find a balance between sharing their work and maintaining the confidentiality that clients need. So, what is the solution to preserving privacy while staying competitive in a world that demands a compelling real-life story?

A polished content marketing strategy is a strong starting point. Content initiatives – such as white papers, case studies and blog posts – allow pharma and logistics businesses to provide example-driven narratives that showcase their successes.

But while content marketing is one part of the solution, social media should not be ignored. PewResearchCenter reports that nearly 75% of all internet users are members of a social network (2). This means that communicating thoughtfully through social media can help companies enhance visibility and improve their reputations, without disclosing important and critical information.

Businesses can alleviate risk and protect customer privacy while sharing their stories via the following strategies:

Modernising Content
Update all outdated digital content in your archive, and replace it with new collateral that is explicit and on-brand. Ensure that old materials and case studies remain relevant and correlate with company values, as well as everchanging privacy policies. Content may be king, but customer privacy is your trump.

Anonymous Examples

Companies in the pharma and logistics industries may opt not to identify customers in case studies or white papers. Instead, a well-crafted piece should focus on challenges overcome or successes garnered by working cohesively with clients. By not disclosing any names, businesses can divulge details of the story while protecting the customer’s privacy and safety.

Utilising New Technology

Alhough users and companies must tread carefully, the presence of social media has spurred innovation. For example, advanced monitoring systems allow subscribed businesses to stay on top of current security breaches and plan for adjustments.

Partnering With Public Relations Experts

Outward-facing employees should be trained on the impact of publicity, the complexities of digital media and steps that should be taken to address external privacy concerns. However, including the marketing or communication departments in any information request adds an extra layer of assurance, as these employees will become comfortable in helping the company to balance publicity and privacy.

Rewriting Outdated Policies
As technology changes, so should policies. Regularly revise all procedures to make sure they are current, align with company values and leave no room for employee interpretation. By updating these processes regularly, businesses can better adapt to social media changes, while addressing up-and-coming trends such as tablets and wearable technology.

Middle Ground


Digital media and content marketing is a double-edged sword that should be approached with care. While there is no solution that fits every situation, both pharma and logistics companies can distinguish their work – while maintaining everyone’s privacy – by coupling constant vigilance with continued deference to their customers’ needs.

References

1. PewResearchCenter, Anonymity, privacy and security online, September 2013. Visit: www. pewinternet.org/2013/09/05/anonymityprivacy-and-security-online
2. PewResearchCenter, Social networking fact sheet. Visit: www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/socialnetworking-fact-sheet


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With nearly 30 years of industry experience, Mark Sell has established himself and his company as leaders in the thirdparty logistics industry. He and his business partner, David Kiebach, founded MD Logistics and MD Express in 1996, followed by the establishment of a strategic partnership with SEKO Worldwide in 2002. Mark received a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Indiana University’s School of Business, US.
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