Direct to Consumer: Right to Win - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Direct to Consumer: Right to Win
Maximize direct-to-consumer marketing strategies by better targeting your patients


Pharmaceutical Executive


Power Patients

OK, let's revisit our scenario: Your challenge as product manager for Brand X is maximizing your DTP strategy. The pressure point from senior management is an impending patent expiration. Your competition outspends you by a wide margin in the fight for new patients. Cutbacks have taken their toll on your resources. And you've started the strategic planning process to implement a lifecycle strategy to launch your reformulation.

The RTW approach is ideally suited for this situation. Why? Because the dynamics require that only the most productive avenues are explored. Time, resources, and the margin for error are razor thin. The opportunity cost of applying resources against less productive marketing efforts likely means losing out on revenue that you have no time to recoup.

The framework in the chart "Right to Win Worksheet" demonstrates some hypothetical RTW dimensions for your brand. Looking at the value of a patient to Brand X, your team decides to calculate potential lifetime value according to projected compliance rates and time on therapy.

Equally important, however, is identifying characteristics that reflect brand affinity. In this case, an analysis of your most adherent patients reveals that most of them share at least two characteristics: They perceive a moderate-to-high symptom severity that makes staying on therapy important for them, and they already have solidly positive attitudes towards your brand.

You've identified your right-to-win patient. Now what?

The first strategy that emerges is maximizing adherence with as many current patients as possible to derive remaining value before your patent expires. That's a strategy that is ideally applied to all patients, not just your RTW group.

But your RTW analysis provides an additional, more potentially productive opportunity: It has identified the patients who are most likely to benefit from your brand and who possess attitudes that make them potentially more receptive to the improved Brand X. These patients represent your best prospects for migration to the next-generation product.

With your RTW target in hand, you can now pursue a marketing campaign with two distinct objectives: You reach out to all of your current patients to promote adherence. But among RTW patients, you focus your team's efforts on nurturing the brand loyalty that will support future migration.

Your analysis has provided you with attitudinal information that illuminates the profile of this patient segment and that will help you steer your messaging in the most meaningful ways.

This brand-building strategy also protects your valuable RTW patients from your big-spending competition. Me-too brands often seek out market share gains at all costs, taking whatever patients they can acquire.

By insulating your RTW patients, you force competitors to gain share outside the RTW segment, among less valuable patients. With a less productive patient mix, your competitors may experience higher churn and be forced to spend excessively to replace lost patients.

Your RTW analysis will also help you optimize your media plan for reaching RTW patients, who may differ from the average patient in important ways that drive the overall channel mix, day part, and even size of the buy. Buying media with RTW patients in mind will produce a greater return for the same or smaller investment.

The Right Results

Using the RTW strategy to make your direct-to-patient programs more productive means that when your line extension is approved, you can be confident you'll have secured the numbers needed to promote a successful launch of your lifecycle strategy, mitigated the impact of losing patent protection, and insulated your most valuable patients from competitors. All this with fewer resources than you initially thought possible.

Your team wasn't lured in by a one-size-fits-all strategy that would have diverted your team's attention and overtaxed the organization at a critical juncture. Instead, you were smart enough to find the patients with whom you had the right to win—and you won. And that is a cause for congratulations.

Brian Kaiser is vice president, healthcare strategy, at Targetbase. He can be reached at

Jimmy Rhodes is vice president, strategic business analysis at Targetbase. He can be reached at

Lisa Carr is director, healthcare strategy at Targetbase. She can be reached at


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