Breitstein: What's the biggest issue facing market researchers today?
Sibley: I majored in French literature, so I read all the French existentialists. But this is not an existential question: How can
we reduce the risk around not just business decisions, but R&D decisions? Or, if the decision has been made, how can we help
to reduce the risk around the implementation of the action, or the reallocation of tools and resources?
Slack: You might argue that the more successful companies are looking at how marketing research can raise the batting average for
their more strategic and impactful decisions—the decisions that make a meaningful difference.
Saatsoglou: Part of that risk remains because market researchers haven't been exposed to all the issues: managed care interests, overseas
interests, over-the-counter interests, therapeutic interests, regulatory interests, or research interests. As we gather around
the table, we have a very unique perspective to touch all of those areas, but that's very rare within a particular pharma
Slack: The point you mention of research expertise is also one of leadership. Having the ability to pull different functional areas
all together on a common page to conduct an integrated analysis. Leadership is vital.
Brodsky: All of this depends on the organizational structure of the market-research organization. If you've got a couple of people
who are responsible for managed care and others who are responsible for the DTC market, they may or may not be talking to
each other. But if one researcher is responsible for supporting the entire business, that individual is in the unique position
to make some of those connections. From an organizational standpoint, they can be a knowledge repository.
Barnes: That's happening with some key players across all the different areas of information, but not consistently across the industry.
Cooke: Data should integrate all the learning—not just look at what a physician's attitude is toward that particular brand, but
linking it with managed care concerns, and the patient's voice. Beyond that, if the market researchers are asking the right
questions and building their research plans around the marketing objectives, it's our responsibility on the vendor/supplier
side to make sure we're not just providing information. We have to push the envelope in interpretation, and provide business
insights, consumer insights, and recommendations that are actionable, not just a data dump.
Brodsky: The question is: Where do you apply resources from an annual operating perspective? Unless you can lay out all of the pieces
of the puzzle ranging from patient needs, doctor perceptions, risks/benefits, pricing points, and access issues, you're not
really in an informed position. That is where we need to break down silos to ensure that these pieces of information construct
a full picture of the patient flow and leverage points. Where are the barriers? Where are the opportunities?
Kalb: In many large companies, integration of the research function is becoming much more involved in early-stage decision making.
It used to be there maybe three years prior to launch, one year after launch. But now with everyone focused on the high cost
and failure rate of clinical trials, compounds in Phase I and Phase II generally have commercial forecasts associated with
them. And that can play a part in the go or no-go decision.
Lurker: Medicare Part D also entrenches the need to integrate the contracting strategy with your brand strategy to execute the whole
regional decision approach. There has been very little of that to date, but it's going to be increasingly needed in this market
and that will set apart the winners from the losers in Medicare Part D.
Breitstein: How can researchers make this information more valuable?
Slack: The commonality that brings all of us together in our day-to-day businesses isn't about the analysis tools at all. Not the
interviewing techniques, forecasting or data, etc. Our internal clients don't care about the tools or the lingo of the techniques.
They want a timely and insightful answer that relates to the business decisions they face.