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    Evidence-Based Marketing

    What We’re About

    As a pharmaceutical marketing company, we’ve developed a unique
    Evidence-Based Marketing approach that allows us to formulate the optimal pharmaceutical marketing strategy for your brand. We use this philosophy every day to help our clients make more informed strategic and investment decisions that drive improved return.

    Our mission is to provide objective, independent analysis and insights that challenge conventional pharmaceutical marketing wisdom and behavior. If you want things to be different for your brand… you need to take a different approach.

    What’s On Your Mind?

    We believe that pharmaceutical and biotechnology marketers have fundamental, strategic questions that require answers. Review our list of common client questions below and select the ones most relevant to your brand.

    • Marketing Opportunity

      • Could my brand benefit from a strong patient marketing strategy?
      • Do mid-level healthcare professionals (e.g. RN, NP, PA) represent an untapped opportunity within my market?
      • What additional marketing opportunities best leverage my new clinical data?

      Learn more about how we can help you validate a potential marketing opportunity

      Marketing Opportunity

      Hypothesis-Based Level of Evidence (LOE) Appraisal

      Objective evaluation of the primary and secondary data, research and published literature that supports or challenges a specific marketing opportunity for your brand

      Read below to find out more about how we think about assessing new marketing opportunities.

      Four Pitfalls to Sub-Optimal Launch in Specialty and/or Orphan Disease States

      by Dan Reinhardt

      We recently had the opportunity to perform a disciplined evaluation of specialty care products that never reached their intended market potential (as assessed by publicly available manufacturer sales expectations). Think Provenge by Dendreon or Benlysta by HGS/GSK as examples—although neither of these products were included in our analysis.


      During our analysis, four key pitfalls were identified:

      1. Marketing the drug, not the disease – abandoning the market conditioning strategy after approval and ignoring educational prescripts that are essential for internalizing your brand positioning
      2. Underestimating the role of the patient – confusing low incidence with low influence and therefore, assuming the underlying MD-patient relationship is doctor-dictated
      3. Over-Reliance on KOL Input – Presuming ‘ivory tower’ KOL opinions are representative of community-based treaters and building your communication platform and tactical investment framework around KOL input alone
      4. Minimizing treatment support system needs – immature reimbursement advocacy services that, at best, put the burden on the physician and, at worse, put the burden on the patient and their extended care network

      Part of running an evidence-based marketing company is applying third-party, retrospective evidence to assist new Clients with prospective needs. Let us help you apply some of these hard-learned lessons so you don’t have to become part of our next case study.

      Contact us to learn more about any of our services.

    • Marketing Effectiveness

      • Which of my marketing investments are providing the greatest return?
      • How do my marketing efforts compare to industry best practices?
      • How can I optimize my channel mix to increase return?

      Learn more about how we can help you optimize your marketing and channel investments

      Marketing Effectiveness

      Investment-Based Level of Evidence (LOE) Appraisal

      Independent appraisal of core tactical and/or channel investments against existing primary and secondary performance data, customer preferences, and industry best practices to optimize investment mix and overall return

      Read below to find out more about how we think about assessing the effectiveness of your marketing investments.

      Ride the Hype Cycle

      by Abby Manning

      You may have just recently sensitized your organization to the need to understand and analyze what patients are saying online about your brand prior to, during, and after launch. At Return on Focus, we’ve been helping to answer this question for brands by conducting social media monitoring or what we call Sentiment Analyses for almost six years now.

      During this time, we have observed a distinctive pattern to consumer sentiment toward new product launches in biopharma, and it turns out that these patterns are similar, whether the product is the latest cutting-edge biotechnology product or the next evolution in primary care. This established pattern of new product sentiment can be easily explained and illustrated through the hype cycle.

      Hype CycleThe hype cycle is an established phenomenon that shows how consumer sentiment for a new product reaches its heights during the development and peri-launch phases prior to widespread consumer experience with the product. This is know as the ‘peak of inflated expectations.’ As consumers gain or hear of real world experiences with the new product, they invariably fail to live up to their initially unrealistic hopes and expectations. This causes consumer sentiment to drop significantly as consumers confront product realities (e.g. side effects, lack of efficacy, etc.). This second phase is aptly named the ‘trough of disillusionment.’

      Eventually, sentiment rebounds and normalizes through the slope of enlightenment, as consumers accept that although your product may not match their initial hopes or hype, it is recognized as an improvement on what was previously available. This is known as the ‘real world product reality’ stage.

      After analyzing over sixty products a year in all stages of product launch, we have been able to apply the hype cycle consistently. It turns out that the hype cycle is such a natural part of human behavior that it affects new products in all industries from fitness to pharma. Understanding and making marketing decisions based on new product sentiment truly depends on where you brand is within the hype cycle. So, now that you know what to expect with regard to sentiment for your new product, what do you do about it? Give us a call, and let us help you ride the hype cycle for your brand.

      Contact us to learn more about any of our services.

    • Positioning & Messaging

      • What can be done to educate and condition the market to rapidly internalize my brand story at launch?
      • How do I craft a compelling and differentiated story for my brand?
      • Does the focus of my current positioning have the ability to maximize my brand success throughout its lifecycle?

      Learn more about how we can help you find the optimal communication focus for your launch or on-market brand

      Positioning & Messaging

      Communication Platform Development

      Disciplined process designed to assist brands in gaining focus, clarity, and differentiation in their brand story by validating the optimal positioning and messaging hierarchy

      Read below to find out more about how we think about creating the optimal communication platform for your brand.

      Are Your Customers Telling You They Want ‘A Faster Horse’?

      by Dan Reinhardt

      The amazing thing about our industry is that every year we deliver new exciting products that have different mechanisms of action, biomarkers, tests, and endpoints that demonstrate the value our R&D provides. Unfortunately, most of the market research methodologies supporting the launch of these new products haven’t kept up with the spirit of innovation that our products are delivering.

      Faster Horse?Henry Ford is attributed with saying, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses.’”

      This encapsulates a lot of the market research I see being done recently, especially with truly innovative products. Phrases like ‘game changing’ and ‘paradigm shifting’ get thrown around, yet most market research methodologies continue to rely on doctors and/or patients telling the pharmaceutical or biotechnology company how to sell the product or craft the story. A host of messages (sometimes dozens) are put in front of the respondent and they are asked to construct a story for the brand.

      The result is ‘a faster horse’ platform and pharmaceutical companies wonder why these messages aren’t ‘game changing’ or ‘paradigm shifting’ once executed in the marketplace. If your new brand is truly innovative, it’s counterintuitive to rely on your target audience to take you to a place that they themselves have never been.

      You’re the marketer! Don’t punt the responsibility for crafting the optimal story for your brand to your market researcher and certainly not to your target audience.

      Contact us to learn more about any of our services.

    • Adherence

      • How can I determine the “real world” adherence for my brand or class of medication?
      • What specific factors are contributing to non-adherence with my brand?
      • Which adherence-enhancing interventions have demonstrated proven impact in overcoming my brand’s specific challenges?

      Learn more about how we can help you identify and overcome common adherence challenges for your brand


      Adherence Analysis & Framework

      Systematic exploration of the validated barriers to adherence for a specific brand or medication category in order to uncover the proven adherence enhancing interventions necessary to achieve optimal duration of therapy

      Read below to find out more about how we think about optimizing your brand adherence.

      Adherence Curve Never Gets Better Than the Pivotal(s)

      by Dan Reinhardt

      Of all the predictive questions one faces in launching a new biologic or pharmaceutical product, the ceiling of your product’s adherence curve may be one of the easiest to tackle with a high degree of accuracy. The answer to this question is buried within your clinical study report(s).

      UntitledThe fact is that the ceiling for your adherence curve is revealed by carefully examining the ITT (intent to treat) analysis by time increment, preferably monthly for most brands. Once you’ve plotted this curve, you can safely assure your Senior Management that it won’t get any better after launch.

      But wait, why can’t your adherence curve get any better?

      1. HCP (i.e., $) and patient (i.e., free quality medical care) financial incentives for trial adherence are not repeatable in the real world
      2. Interventions (e.g., personalized patient follow up by the practice) employed are generally not scalable for use with the general disease population
      3. Patient population careful culled to maximize trial completion does not reflect your real world patient pool

      While it may not be possible to recreate the adherence curve from the Pivotal trial(s) in the real world, an in-depth understanding of the adherence data, challenges and adherence-enhancing interventions from the Pivotal trial(s) is your first step in building a validated adherence framework for your brand.

      What next? Pick up the phone and introduce yourself to the clinical study coordinator for the site that had the best percent completion for your Pivotal. I’m confident you might learn a few things!

      Contact us to learn more about any of our services.

    What We Think

    Majority of DTC Advertising Still Only Stimulates an ‘Inquiry’ NOT a Request – ROF Normative Update

    Back in 2010, I authored a blog post using the patient data that my then 4-year old company had amassed challenging the conventional wisdom that direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) is effective at activating a brand request by patients exposed to the advertising. The research that we conducted at Return on Focus at the time uncovered a nuanced, but important distinction in describing the actions taken by patients as a result of being exposed to a DTC advertisement. Our patient research showed that almost 80% of patients characterize their actions as an inquiry, not a request. I thought it would be a good idea to re-test this hypothesis six years later to see if we, as an industry, had made any headway in changing this behavior.

    DTC Advertising ActionsLooking at our updated data set, it appears that the more things change the more they stay the same in biopharma. The empowered, branded requests that we all want to believe our campaigns are evoking still aren’t occurring despite our best efforts. How can I be so sure? In an examination of seven different disease states, the answer most often selected in our research remains “Ask MD about Product X, but listen if he/she did not think it was right for me.” (more…)

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