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
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.
The CASSER Framework