Data from IMS shows that by Week 13 the launch trajectory is basically set for the lifecycle for most brands. In the past, I have written about this as a rally cry for Brand Teams to be focused in everything they do in order to maximize the slope at this critical point. However, this rally cry can be used to equal effect to blunt a competitive launch. The resulting goal for the Week 13 rally cry when applied against a competitive threat is to weigh down the launch trajectory for the competitor, so that by Week 13 of their launch you’ve now set them on a course to suboptimal results. Developing a tight and focused Competitive Action Plan (CAP) in light of a new competitor is often overlooked given the usual acute emphasis on maximizing your own brand.
- Positioning – Proactively build a story about why your brand should be sequenced, explore a range of approaches, and executional tones to understand what’s credible and feasible to communicate to your target customers
- Experiencing – HCPs and patients place a high value on their own real world experience and you have it . . . the other guy doesn’t. Examine how you may be able to leverage this real world experience to drive desired behaviors within your key customer groups
- Accessing – Everything now a days seems to be specialty distributed and upping your game with new services and high service levels, not only decreases your hassle factor, but may force the competitor to focus on debugging their system in real time instead of delivering their desired launch communications
- Contracting – Setting up win/win relationships with Managed Care partners and exploring the ever changing cost-containment dynamics, including emerging evidence-based clinical pathways, plays to the incumbent and all things being equal you should have an advantage
- Drafting – Prelaunch noise from a competitor especially around the usual MOA and disease education provides you an opportunity to re-engage physicians and patients in a discussion about your brand and its differentiated value proposition
- Blocking – Creating awareness is all about gathering share of voice, but an effective media road blocking strategy robs the competitor of easy, cost effective ways to reach their targets and yours
One of the reasons that Competitive Action Plans are not always formulated and instituted correctly is because the bias the team brings to the analysis. Bringing in a third-party in to examine the evidence and jump start the development of an objective, evidence-based CAP may have you looking at the Week 13 rally cry in a whole new light.