Decisive Strategy Wins the Market

A clear, consistent approach to the competition can deliver big gains in market share; six decisions lead the way
Oct 01, 2010

Stan Bernard
An effective competitive strategy is the most important factor for winning in a competitive marketplace. Despite its significance, competitive strategy remains a confusing concept to many pharmaceutical professionals. Some professionals believe that competitive strategy is simply a few paragraphs in a brand's annual marketing plan. Others mistakenly equate "competitive intelligence" with competitive strategy. In fact, competitive intelligence represents only one component of a multifaceted competitive analysis necessary to compose an overall competitive strategy.

The Competitive Planning Process

The CASSER Framework
Competitive strategy can be defined as a "framework for making decisions which prioritize actions that create results in a competitive market." It is the third of five competitive planning steps in what I call the "CASSER" approach: 1) Competitive Analysis; 2) Competitive Simulations; 3) Competitive Strategy; 4) Competitive Actions; and 5) Competitive Results (see graph). Competitive Analysis helps to reveal key market influencers, prioritize strategic stakeholders, and anticipate competitors' strategies and approaches (see "3-D Competitive Analysis," Pharm Exec , April 2010). Competitive Simulation—the new, improved version of business war games—enables company professionals to role-play competitors and stakeholders in order to pressure-test these market, stakeholder, and competitive assumptions and insights (see "War Games 2.0," Pharm Exec, January 2010). These first two steps lay the foundation for developing Competitive Strategy.