Pharma Marketer’s Guide to Successful Product Launch
As per McKinsey & Company, only one-third of Pharma drug launches around the world are successful. A surprising statistic indeed, considering it is a crucial determinant of product’s success in the next two years. It is like the movies. A poor start at the box office leads to overall poor performance. That means marketers & launch teams have only one go to have it right.
What are the challenges to a great drug launch?
Companies begin launch preparation usually during Phase III trials which is roughly 15-20 months prior to the D-day. For some, this window is wider. When market research is not dynamic, it may lead to collected data’s getting redundant. This often interferes with pre-launch sales estimates.
Another thing is connecting with doctors via field-force. It is important to realise that the latter can only record interactions up to a certain extent. They cannot have a log of how a doctor is changing his/her practice and what his additional capabilities are. Such things require companies to have a “heat map” and collect data about areas of interest, how doctors are connected to each other, how active they are on social media, so on and so forth. It is important to predict physicians changing behavior. It cannot be a one-time activity. When prelaunch marketing data fails to do so, underperformance in drug launch is inevitable.
Moreover, it is high time, companies realise that not all launches are same. Products differ in multiple aspects. Major parameters are:
- Perceived burden of disease targeted
- Qualitative differentiation
It is not to say that in-house Medical Affairs Teams and Consultants do not help with it but that with changing treatment parameters like costs and availability of drugs are rarely felt by them first hand. Differentiation remains inadequate.
A launch therefore has to be targeted right, which needs a good understanding of your audience and their needs/queries. An on-point launch would involve the right kind of messaging going out at the right time and preferably its news should be on multiple channels, esp. the ones that ensure relevant reach.
How to make drug launch successful?
- Use today’s insights for tomorrow’s performance: Physician behaviour is continually changing but gaining insights into it has become easier. Digital networking platforms for professionals great to monitor it all. Pharma marketers are advised to track this change throughout the launch.
- Shape brand’s landing space: Pharma must be on its toes while understanding doctors’ concerns and queries. And, these issues should be addressed before the launch itself with innovative marketing campaigns so that perception is shaped even before product reaches the market.
- Understand pricing goals: It isn’t rocket science to figure that India is a socioeconomically diverse country and blanket pricing may lead to failure in certain areas. Patients’ buying behavior is not something to be taken lightly So, efforts should be made towards understanding from doctors the acceptable range for their patients to ensure competitive pricing.
- Prepare Launch to Be Agile: In today’s world, launch teams are reuired to be agile to perform rapid course correction in the launch. Even a small error can make or break your brand.
- Perform Short Market Shaping Activities: Connect with doctors from your target specialty, the one to which your product belongs. Educate physicians on how your drug helps. This is a good time to conduct online CMEs and webinars, focussing on the criticality of treatment and how doctors could be aided. These turn out to be effective pilots, giving valuable insights as well as an opportunity to prep your market for the launch.
- Publish Your Launch on Pharma Buzz: Pharma Buzz is that added unignorable advantage for any Pharma marketer looking for a wide, relevant reach. The platform allows you to choose your preferred audience from a large pool of physicians, optimize your messaging, and release your news precisely when you want it. It also lets you measure the impact, both geographically and therapeutically.