Marketing to Professionals: Detailing - Pharmaceutical Executive


Marketing to Professionals: Detailing
Attention to Details: The detail piece is a powerful sales tool when utilized and tested properly.

Pharmaceutical Executive

Tale of Two Pieces

The following case studies highlight the results of two detail pieces for two different brands prior to rollout and the subsequent performance after rollout. These brands (Product X and Product Y) were not direct competitors, though they were in comparably competitive markets with comparable promotion dynamics. Baseline performance trends and market dynamics were judged to be very comparable between the two products, and they targeted the same specialty mix of physicians. Average annual revenue for Product X and Product Y was approximately $1 billion each in the United States. Prior to the launch of the new detail pieces, both products had relatively similar rates of new prescriptions and similar detail quality scores based on tracking of their current sale-force performance in the field.

The following factors were considered:

  • The results from tracking current detailing activity of each brand in the field
  • The predictive effect of the new detail pieces based on the testing that was done in a controlled test prior to rollout (referred to as testing the piece in the "lab")
  • The quality of the detail pieces in the months after launch based on tracking its performance after rollout. The tracking was designed to capture the impact of each brand's promotional efforts, including the effectiveness of the detail piece
  • The actual change in market share of new prescriptions following the introduction of the new detail pieces for Products X and Y.

In separate tests for Product X and Product Y, physicians were exposed to details of the product using the new sales aid. The results of these tests then were analyzed and benchmarked against the other tested pieces. Finally, the results from each test were compared with results captured from tracking ongoing detailing activity for each brand to compare how the new detail might fare against the one currently being used by each sales force. The final analysis of the new detail pieces predicted that Product X's new detail piece would be more effective than its existing detail piece and that it likely would drive an increase in new-prescription market share. Conversely, analysis of Product Y's detail piece predicted that the new detail piece would be less effective than its existing piece and that share would be flat to slightly declining.

Impact of Predictive Modeling

It's no coincidence that the performance of Product X improved consistently in the months following the introduction of the new piece, while Product Y saw market share go flat and decline during the same period of time. Given the size of these brands, it is estimated that the impact in sales as a result of these changes was +/- $10 to $30 million. Certainly, new prescriptions are driven by many factors, but correlation of pre-launch test results in the "lab" with actual results achieved by sales reps in the field is indicative of the power to predict performance.

The detail piece can be a powerful tool in the improvement of sales performance for pharma, as it represents the tangible intersection of marketing and sales execution. However, inconsistent detail-piece development has led to inconsistent use of the detail piece. But if the development of the detail piece is validated against actual prescribing, sales should be more likely to embrace it. Marketing, therefore, should track the effectiveness of a piece and update it when it is needed rather than on a pre-determined cycle. With predictive models now available, this should help to improve sales force effectiveness.


Reed Business Information launched Pharma Asia Magazine, a bi-monthly publication.

• Doremus, an Omnicom company, launched a communications-focused anthropological think tank called IN:SITE.

DME, a division of Davids Productions, launched a newsletter for pharmacists, Current Concepts in Pharmacy Management. The company also launched a pharmacists Web site,


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