Well, it’s August and we’re seeing the annual Client scramble to conduct physician and patient research that will answer important questions from Brand Planning. This information is to be used to aid in the development of strategic and tactical recommendations for next year, but there is very little time to complete it and even less time to do it well and with the appropriate rigor. This is the cautionary tale of relying on reactive versus proactive market research during brand planning.
A more proactive approach to market research is warranted. The harried pace of reactive research could easily be alleviated by implementing a system of regular check-in meetings with your brand and insights teams. Start the process of convening your extended team at the end of each quarter and use these meetings to start thinking about the following year. What key issues is your brand facing that will need to be addressed? What are the key unknowns concerning your prescribers and patients? Once you’ve identified the questions, it’s time to create a plan for finding answers.
In many cases, your key business questions can be answered by thoroughly examining the existing body of research evidence already at your disposal. At ROF, a central part of our business lies in conducting Level of Evidence Appraisals for our clients. We formulate a set of core hypotheses related to brand strategic / marketing questions and then review and align the existing evidence against them. This process provides the foundation to then identify the key research needs and proactively formulate an action plan that attains the necessary information.
I realize in the day-to-day craziness of brand marketing, it is often extremely difficult to think about getting out in front of brand planning months in advance. But conducting regular check-ins or performing an LOE early in the year will make it easier for your entire team and will allow for ample time to focus on the most impactful research that will yield new findings to answer your outstanding business questions.
So, now’s the time to get planning.