Case Study: Science-Based Selling - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Case Study: Science-Based Selling
How GSK relaunched a mature brand in a competitive category


Pharmaceutical Executive


The Rollout Although some of the newly developed materials were required for a December 2003 sales meeting, the complete training needed to be an eduring resource for both the existing field force and future hires. The nature of the material, coupled with the relative lack of time and resources indicated that interactive, computer-based training procedures were particularly necessary.

The team delivered its final training series to sales reps in early 2004. The multimedia distance learning program included print, audio (glossary and pronunciation guide), and CD-ROM components that comprised four modules:

  • skin anatomy
  • skin diseases
  • drug mechanism of action
  • competitive market position.

Participants were tested before and after completing a one-hour tutorial that included computer animation of the drug's mechanism of action, clinical disease state photographs, and audio script with supported screen labeling.

Douglas Kress, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, provided case study photographs that proved essential in cementing visualization of disease severity to the sales force.

The Results ScienceMedia worked with the GSK marketing organization to put proficiency testing into a Web site to automate assessment delivery, tracking, and verification during the official launch of the training. Although 100 percent of the representatives were tested within 60 days of the launch, the real proof would be measured by field performance. The ultimate goal of the training was to increase technical knowledge of Oxistat, improving sales reps' confidence and credibility during their interactions with physicians.

In the two months following the training relaunch, total prescriptions began to break from historical trends. And total brand prescriptions were increasing significantly at a point in the year when total category prescriptions were in decline. The product achieved its largest transaction month ever in September 2004, eight months after re-launch, when the total prescriptions year-to-date index (versus the same period in 2003) reached 128.

Key Learnings All in all, the investment made in creating enduring and highly effective electronic-based product training material was an efficient use of marketing dollars. GSK's decision to repurpose the product animation into a product-branded Web site and other e-detailing projects created even more value.

The entire project, from planning and needs identification to launch, took about eight months. When developing timelines, consider the lengthy and inevitable delays for legal, medical, and regulatory reviews and approvals. Develop realistic timelines upfront to ensure accuracy, allow for quality control, reduce frustration, and ultimately, deliver a successful program.

D. Chauncey Smith (
) is senior brand manager for GSK's consumer health division, and Michelle A. Youngers (
) is CEO of ScienceMedia in San Diego.


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