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Are You Winning or Losing in Pharma 2.0?


Pharmaceutical Executive

Pharmaceutical ExecutivePharmaceutical Executive-10-01-2016
Volume 36
Issue 10

Answer 12 key questions to determine if your brand team is leveraging today’s winning competitive strategies and actions.

Have you noticed that a few biopharmaceutical companies and brand teams consistently launch successful products, beat analysts’ projections and effectively counter competitors? And many other companies and brand teams-despite offering good products-often have failed launches, routinely miss sales projections and are usually outmaneuvered by rivals? The biopharma industry has transitioned from the growth or Commercial Stage (“Pharma 1.0”) to the mature or Competitive Stage of it’s lifecycle. This transition demands a wholly different approach to competing called “Pharma 2.0.”

Winning companies have embraced the highly successful and leading-edge Pharma 2.0 mindset, strategic framework and winning actions, while losing companies cling to outdated, ineffectual Pharma 1.0 marketing toolsets and promotional tactics. Take the following questionnaire to determine if your company is Winning, Competing, Participating or Spectating in Pharma 2.0.

You can answer these brief questions from the perspective of your firm, franchise or brand team. Focus on your major product(s). Check each box that applies, then follow the directions at the end of the quiz. The Pharma 2.0 capabilities are noted in bold at the beginning of each question.


Pharma 2.0 Competitive Questionnaire

 Game Changing: Do each of your key brand teams identify and implement a single, overarching game-changing or market-shaping strategy to win vs. trying to win by differentiating your product?

 Product Launch 2.0: In drug launches, does your company or brand team seek to win the Pre-Launch Years (beginning three or more years before launch) with an election-style strategic communication campaign vs. seeking to win the Launch Year with a tactical and promotional military-style campaign?

 Product Counter-Launch 2.0: Does your company regularly prepare and conduct counter-launches early in the Pre-Launch phase to preempt major competitors’ product launches?

 Election Campaign Platform 2.0: Do your brand teams prepare and communicate a concise, consistent “election campaign platform”-similar to a Presidential campaign approach-for each major brand?

 Product Positioning 2.0: Do the brand teams for your company’s major products position their products with four words or less and avoid the use of lengthy “product positioning statements?”

 Multi-Level Competition: Does your company require that all key brand plans include ways to win not only at the brand level but also at the franchise, portfolio and corporate levels?

 Competitive Conference Management: Do your key brand teams annually seek to win the one or two “Super Conferences” (for example, meetings conducted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Diabetes Association, European Committee for the Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, etc.) in their respective therapeutic areas by preparing and executing plans to win during the Pre-, At-, and  Post-Conference Phases.

 Competitive Trial Management: Do your major brand/franchise teams regularly prepare communication plans for their and their competitors’ key clinical studies?

 War Games 2.0: For your company’s major products, do brand/franchise teams conduct at least twice annually the newer “Competitive Simulations,” including senior corporate management, and identifying only three to five  winning, executable actions vs. conducting traditional war games which exclude top management and identify either numerous competitive insights and/or promotional tactics?

 Braneric Competition: Do your brand plans prior to launch include strategies and actions for competing against generic competitors vs. waiting a few years before patent expiration to address generics?

 Payer Competitors: Does your company or brand team recognize payers as a third-type of competitor (“Budget Competitors” seeking the same budget dollars as biopharma companies) and have specific approaches to deal with payers not only as customers but also as competitors?

 Competitive Training 2.0: Does your company provide basic and advanced Pharma 2.0 competitive training annually for the non-sales professionals that are members of extended brand teams (e.g., marketing, marketing research, medical affairs, account management, marketing research, public affairs/communications, competitive intelligence, payer professionals, public policy, clinical research, business development, legal and regulatory professionals, etc.)?


Directions: Count the number of checked boxes. See your company’s or brand team’s relative competitive rating ahead.

10-12 checked boxes:Winning Pharma 2.0 Company. Congratulations! Your company is leveraging the Pharma 2.0 framework and is excelling at an extremely high level of competitive competence. Focus on developing one new Pharma 2.0 capability.

7-9 checked boxes:Competitive Pharma 2.0 Company. Nice job! Your company outperforms some of its peers on a regular basis. See if you can adopt two or more additional Pharma 2.0 capabilities, such as Competitive Conference Management or Competitive Trial Management, to reach the next competitive level. Make sure your company is conducting Competitive Simulations on a regular basis against leading competitors to learn Pharma 2.0 best practices.

4-6 checked boxes: Participating Pharma 1.0 Company. Unfortunately, your company needs to improve dramatically to start winning. Identify two or more areas where your fimr can readily adopt winning Pharma 2.0 approaches, such as Product Launch 2.0, Product Counter-Launches or Election Campaign Platform 2.0. To enhance your competitiveness, seek Pharma 2.0 Competitive Training for your non-sales professionals.

1-3 checked boxes: Spectating Pharma 1.0 Company. Your company needs to overhaul its corporate approach to competing. Senior management and therapeutic leaders need to take the lead by offering fundamental Pharma 2.0 Competitive Training for all non-sales professionals. Focus on developing Product Launch 2.0 and Counter-Launch capabilities, since these two will have the greatest near-term benefit. Regularly conduct Competitive Simulations to embed and practice Pharma 2.0 approaches. 


Stan Bernard, a member of Pharm Exec’s Editorial Advisory Board, is President of Bernard Associates LLC, a global pharmaceutical industry competition consulting firm. He can be reached at SBernardMD@BernardAssociatesLLC.com 

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