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The New Normal – Express Launch and What to Do About It

For a variety of reasons, it seems that the new normal for biotechnology and pharmaceutical product launches is an expressed timeline. By ‘expressed,’ I mean less than 12 months from full marketing funding to product approval. Having been involved in at least 3 expressed launches in the past 18 months, one thing is clear –most internal and external stakeholders are comfortable investing in and generating a significant volume of tactics even in the absence of a defined strategy!

The pressure to do something is significant and the need for each stakeholder to demonstrate activity is high. But without a strategy, how do you know you’re selecting the right tactics and programs to maximize your brand uptake? The best practice that I’ve seen recently is the development of a succinct strategic road map, illustrated below:

Strategic Roadmap

In order to overcome this common pitfall with, we assembled both internal and external stakeholders at the initial launch readiness review meeting and worked through a draft of a strategic road map like the one above. This process enabled the entire team to:

  • Clearly elucidate the necessary strategic steps to own the desired launch communication platform (i.e., brand positioning + message hierarchy)
  • Understand the sequencing of actions, along with the associated dependencies and mandatories for success
  • Gain agreement upon the key metrics – leading and lagging indictors – to distribute accountability to all the stakeholders and not just the Brand Team

With the reality of a fast-approaching approval on everyone’s minds, the meeting was tense at times, but the outcome provided everyone an objective touchstone to guide tactical investments and ensure focus.

Are you waiting on Phase III data or an impending acquisition or co-marketing agreement for a Phase III product? Proactive planning for the ‘expressed’ launch could be the key to your success. Call us and pick our brains. The Strategic Roadmap might just become your “new normal.”

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