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2013 – The Year of Getting ‘Back to Basics’

It’s that time of year when I have the opportunity to reflect on our collective work from 2012 and to look at what 2013 holds for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. In 2011, I believed the focus would be on accountability and scalability would be our goal in 2012. Given the well documented challenges our industry is facing and reflecting on the feedback our Clients have bestowed upon us, I believe 2013 will be a retrenchment year . . . a year where we’ll stop falling in love with the latest bright shiny object and get back to the basics with a renewed focus on marketing fundamentals.

Blocking & TacklingJust like NFL teams focusing on the basics of blocking and tackling to secure their playoff spots for the post-season. We need to avoid the latest gimmicky play, the unproven sensation coming out of college, or the idea that the ‘Hail Mary’ is actually a strategy!

Why do I believe 2013 is the year of getting back to basics? Because our Clients are telling us, not by words but through their actions across three fundamental areas: communication platform, targeting, and support services. Not everyone has the luxury (or insanity) of working on a launch brand so I’ve split the ‘back to basics’ thinking along two vectors – launch and on market. Feel free to jump to your specific situation.

Get Back to Basics on a Launch Brand

  • Communication Platform – Clearly understand that positioning can’t be a bundle of benefits if the brand is to be successful; a strong willingness to create healthy friction within the team and with senior management to ensure singularity of focus
  • Targeting – Demonstrate a keen interest in establishing a beach head at launch versus trying to implement a watered down approach to the lowest common denominator, thereby weakening the overall value proposition of the Brand; clearly communicating the difference between establishing a beach head and niching with both senior management and the field force
  • Support Services – Avoid just looking at what the competition is doing and offering as similar offering; but instead, examining what will credibly drive value and eliminate barriers for your diverse set of stakeholders; able to recognize the wealth of literature available to craft an evidence-based support service offering

Get Back to Basics with an On-Market Brand

  • Communication Platform – Conduct evidence-based diagnostics on the existing communication platform before jettisoning the platform and/or the ad agency; strive to understand the internal and external factors impacting the ability to secure a focused positioning and a crisp message hierarchy
  • Targeting – Understand the criticality of determining the differences between users, dabblers, and non-users of the Brand from both qualitative and quantitative perspectives; utilize evidence to reframe expectations for Brand growth based on the realities of the cumulative promotional efforts that came before them
  • Support Services – Ensure support service performance is measured effectively and objectively based not on traditional pharma metrics, but on satisfaction indices; recognize that the availability of services does not equal awareness of patient support services in the minds of healthcare professionals and patients

At ROF, we often say that if you want things to be different for your Brand, you need a different approach. It just might be that the right approach in 2013 is to start back at the beginning and focus on your “blocking and tackling” to ensure success in the New Year.

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