Is your pharma product launch bound for failure?

Posted on Feb 06, 2018

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Two-thirds of pharma product launches perform below forecast.1 How will yours be different?

It’s never been tougher to launch a new pharmaceutical product. Intense competition and uncertainty means effective communication of your brand narrative is vital.

Let’s say you have a highly beneficial, cost-effective product that has the potential to transform the therapeutic landscape AND smash your company’s revenue targets. None of that matters if the people that count don’t ‘get it’.

What can you do to make sure your brand stands head and shoulders above the rest of the therapeutic landscape?

According to Harvard Business Review, there are five key mistakes you must avoid if you want your product to hit the ground running:2,3

  1. Lack of market demand
  2. A confusing product
  3. Lack of distinct benefits
  4. A product that fails to meet expectations
  5. Inability to keep up with increasing demands

It makes sense: if your product is confusing, and your target market can’t easily identify its distinct benefits, they won’t believe they need it, hence there will be no market demand. Similarly, if the benefits of your product are miscommunicated and the market’s expectations are way off the mark, the focus will inevitably fall on what your product isn’t, instead of what it is.

Now, imagine you get all of this right, and your product is an instant hit, you’re going to need to scale up your teams, and fast. But scattered teams and inconsistent dissemination of your brand values can dilute your message and damage your reputation, so it’s essential that you don’t sacrifice consistency for speed when it comes to keeping up with demands. 

Clearly, a successful and sustainable launch relies on effective and consistent communication of your brand narrative, and great communication starts with inspiring education.

Who do you need to educate for a successful launch?

It goes without saying that effective education of your sales force is a must for a successful launch, and you want your teams to be up to speed on more than just facts and figures; your representatives need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to have meaningful, patient-centric conversations that can ultimately lead to improved outcomes for prescribers and their patients.

To make sure the market is ready, your customers need to understand how your product will meet their needs, so effective communication of your brand’s distinct benefits is essential. Beyond the product itself, ongoing support is invaluable to many practicing physicians and their patients, so it remains important to keep bolstering your brand with communications that make it as easy as possible for users to reap the benefits that your product promises to provide.

Thanks to the internet, patients are the new experts, and many come to their doctor’s office armed with the knowledge they need to be an active participant in any decisions affecting their treatment. Keeping patients at the heart of your brand narrative is crucial to optimising outcomes, and the provision of ongoing educational and support tools can make all the difference to user experience and, ultimately, quality of life.

Getting ready for launch? Talk to our launch specialists about your requirements or visit our website to book a presentation and to read industry insights by our pharmaceutical expert, Dr Claire Smart.

References:
  • EvaluatePharma: McKinsey & Company Analysis.
  • “Why most product launches fail”, Harvard Business Review.
  • Eden McCallum, 2016.

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