In an era of fierce competition, it is essential that pharma companies know how to nail the perfect product launch. For example, in 2021 more than 50 drugs were approved in the US by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). So, how does one stand out from the crowd?
The pandemic has had a great impact on the pharmaceutical industry’s paradigm of communication. Thus, forcing the elaboration of new models for a successful product launch. Knowing when and where to target your audience is now more important than ever.
And so, we have compiled for you a guide with some of the key tips and practices that will aid your company in nailing the perfect product launch.
What does the market look like now?
COVID has brought a catalytic effect on the industry’s digital shift. A field was once reliant on face-to-face interactions to consolidate brand awareness and loyalty. Yet, with busier schedules and restricted by social distancing, HCP’s connection with sales reps has suffered a dramatic shift.
From a survey carried out by Accenture in 2020 to physicians across the globe, including in the US, it was concluded that during the pandemic 65% of meetings with sales reps were held virtually. This reinforced obstacles found by pharma companies when planning an effective product launch.
The question lies in how one can engage with the target audience at the right place and time.
The “one size fits all approach” is an obsolete reality. HCP and patients alike want to feel that their specific needs are attended to. And for that to happen, personalization needs to be taken into account as a key element in companies’ marketing strategy.
The pandemic has brought yet another life to the digital. Contributing to the deepening of the shift in information and content consumption from HCP and patients.
In 2019 42% of US households used the Internet to search for health-related information (NTIA). On the other end of the spectrum, HCPs have spent more of their time virtually, attending conferences, accessing information, and even communicating with their patients.
“Yet, as the digital accelerated during the pandemic, physicians began expecting actionable information at their fingertips.” – Corinne Yaouanq-Lyngberg, director of omnichannel strategic enablement at Novo Nordisk (Pharmaceutical Commerce)
So, one might say digital is now the way to go forward. It allows the establishment of a solid marketing strategy, while effectively launching products. With the assurance that the audience is targeted at the right place and time.
It is the tools we can find online that should constitute part of your successful product launch. And we will just show you how.
Product launch: Key practices
Digital options for product launches excel in reach and engagement. But they are also valuable for their cost-effectiveness. Furthermore, consumers find value in these efforts. So, when moving toward planning the launch of your product, you must think of the digital as a complement to your in-person communication tactics.
To do it effectively, you first need to:
1 – Define your target market segment
An effective product launch is considerate of its primary target audience. These are the consumers that will benefit from your offer and are looking forward to it. They should be the center of your marketing strategy’s attention.
However, you must not fall under the mistake of targeting a wide, generalized group of people. Otherwise, you risk getting your message lost and the product surpassed by the competitor’s offers. Then, for this not to happen, you must define your target market segment.
A target market segment is a group of potential customers and buyers of your product that fit within its features. For instance, if you are selling an anticoagulant pill your target market will be physicians within the area of cardiology and patients with cardiovascular conditions.
So, for you to narrow down your audience effectively, you must think of and define:
- The target customer – Who would buy this product? Detect consumers’ geographical location, preferences, and their profession and/ or role (i.e. patient, activist, or physician);
- The industry sector – If directly related to your field of practice, then think of the industry sector your target customer works in. Is it relevant to your product?
- The reason to buy – Consider why your potential customer would buy your product. What is it in it that compels the consumer? That should constitute your unique selling point (USP).
- The competition – Assess your competitors and their products. Think of the gap between customer demand and offer, to effectively position yourself in the market.
After you answer these questions and collect the necessary data, you can move on to defining your definite target market segment. And start thinking of the next steps in your product launch preparation.
2- Customer-centric approach
The Internet has given rise to new content consumption practices that have forced a shift in the industry’s overall marketing paradigm. Thus, moving it further away from traditional B2B into a B2C perspective known as the “customer-centric approach.” This is now a buzzword among marketers.
The customer-centric approach is one that focuses on providing customers with a seamless buying experience that will generate positive feedback. Consequently, it strengthens your brand’s positioning in the market.
The consumer is usually the end-user of your product. So you have to think of the ways you can turn its relationship with your brand into one of trust and loyalty. And for that, you need to leverage your data with the content you provide. But it is equally crucial to treat HCPs as other consumers who will want to make the most of their interactions with your brand.
Perse, content personalization is key to your product launch. You want to make sure your message is as relevant and resonant with your audience’s needs as possible. This will only guarantee your success and long-term growth. However, make certain that you have the desired impact close to the consumer.
Companies that leverage data on consumer behavior with content have proven to outperform their competitors in the market by an increase of 85% in sales and 25% in gross margin (Veeva).
3 – Be innovative with omnichannel marketing
Once you define your target market segment and leverage your data, you can move on to finding innovative ways of approaching your prospective consumers through the right channels.
And so, omnichannel marketing is the way to go. This is a communication strategy focused on integrating cross-channel interactions with the consumer that are both customer-centric and innovative, where the digital plays a crucial role.
Present-day American consumers are either young people (mainly Gen Zers) who grew up in the digital era (digital natives) or adults that have grown interested in the possibilities of the Internet as a commodity. As of January 2022, 307.2 million Americans were internet users (DataReportal).
US consumers value, then, their online experiences on the different available channels. And, most of all, they appreciate interactive initiatives that provide memorable experiences. Per se, it is valuable to offer both an emotional and functional connection.
To move on to an effective product launch where you know your offer will reach the right audience at the right place, you have to consider the different channels for action. And these can be:
- Virtual meetings;
- Virtual conferences;
There are different channels that you can consider. The most important thing is that they comply with the consumers’ interests and preferences.
With COVID, HCPs across the globe have expressed their preference for being approached by sales reps via alternative channels. Email and virtual meetings were some of those that stood out the most for their efficacy. In truth, approved emails were mainly adopted by sales reps in 2020–2021 (49%). And virtual meetings made up 65% of interactions between HCPs and sales reps (Accenture).
Nonetheless, in-person interactions are still valuable. And so is the communication on the other different channels. So, it is important that, in your product launch, you follow an omnichannel marketing strategy that is both adaptive and inclusive.
4 – Educate, do not just promote
Once the channels are chosen, you must consider the content you want to provide your audience with. After all, you have a product to promote. Nonetheless, it should not be too evident. The focus should be on education over promotion.
From those under 35 to over 50 professionals, education surpasses the value of promotion for those who are targeted by sales reps (Veeva). The same is true for patients. With greater access to digital health monitoring tools, people have the opportunity to be more informed about their wellness and diseases, as well as treatment options.
So, in your product launch promotion, you must think of ways to promote this educational value to your target audience. And you can do this through:
- Blog posts;
- Animated graphs;
- Interactive presentations…
Video is one of the most powerful digital tools of modern-day marketing. And it has proven to be highly resourceful in the pharmaceutical industry. Because it offers an interactive experience to a consumer whose attention span is shorter than ever before. It further:
- Boost engagement;
- Foster the generation of new leads;
- Strengthens brand loyalty, while promoting education and greater awareness;
- Provides insightful data into your audience’s interests, needs and preferences.
Did you know that 86% of businesses in 2022 are expected to use video as part of their marketing strategy (Wyzowl)? You can be one of them and start today. Book your free expert session and start integrating PubVisual into your marketing strategy!