3) Are you solving the right problem?
Our agency creative brief requires us to answer the question, "What customer problem are we trying to solve?" We ask, because
we know that if your brand isn't addressing an unmet need or creating an opportunity, you're the one with the problem.
Common sense helps you solve the right problem. After years of R&D, product development, and clinical research, the corporate
pressure to go forward with a brand launch is enormous. But before that critical decision is made, make sure there's pressure
from your marketplace as well. Make sure, after all that work and investment, your brand still offers something your customers
want and cannot get elsewhere.
But what if your customers don't know they have a problem? In an industry that deals with human lives, caution and familiarity
create significant barriers to change. You may be offering a better approach or an improved outcome, but a healthcare professional
may see limited value unless you create a compelling need. Can it be done? Of course—with the right combination of education,
peer influence, and time.
4) How good is your data—really?
We see this one over and over again. Brand and medical teams fall in love with their data and are sure their customers will
feel the same once it gets into a sales aid. But remember, not all endpoints are created equal, and statistical significance is not the same as clinical significance. If you're lucky enough to have input into trial design, make sure endpoints are meaningful and reflect clinical
practice. Talk to all the prescribing clinicians, not just KOLs who may be a bit removed from daily practice. Feedback from
trial investigators (if you can get it) is invaluable in terms of learning exactly how your brand performed in your target
5) Have you made your target uncomfortable enough with their current brands to try yours?
Someone once said, "Change will come when the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change." Now, that may sound
a bit dramatic, but it makes sense: Discomfort is what drives change. And in an industry where patients' lives are at stake,
it can take a lot of discomfort for healthcare professionals to try something new.
So, seeds of doubt about current practice must be planted before your brand hits the market. Make customers feel that whatever
they're using now isn't strong enough, fast enough, or easy enough—so a switch to your brand makes sense.
6) Will your plan be able to pass the authenticity test?
Does your plan have the ring of truth and clarity? Will your hardened sales veterans see that you have understood the realties
they face each day and accounted for them in the plan? Are your positioning and claims credible? Will patients believe your
product will improve their condition?
Yes, if your brand is authentic. Interestingly, as skeptical as they can seem, physicians want to believe you've got a great
product that will help patients. Sales reps want to believe the new addition to their bag will help them hit their goals.
But if you've got data gaps you don't own up to, or product performance problems you're not addressing, or back orders you
keep promising to fill, your brand's (and company's) authenticity goes right out the window. Your sales rep ends up all alone
in front of the customer unable to answer some very tough questions. And you find your brand trashed all over the Internet.
7) Your tactics are driven by strategies, aren't they?
It worked on the last launch ... The sales force likes it this way ... The competition has one ... We did one last year ...
My boss thinks it's cool ... No joke, these are actual rationales we've heard over the years for different tactics.