We all know what a successful pharmaceutical launch looks like: up and to the right. Quite simply, ‘success’ is most often measured by the number of scripts written after the launch. Pharmaceutical and biotech companies are all trying to drive adoption early in their launch and sustain that growth consistently over the drug’s life-cycle. Launch is a unique stage in the life of a pharmaceutical brand, and is fraught with complexity and tension. Today, I want to focus on a critical aspect of a successful launch: market research. To understand the importance of market research, I want deconstruct and reverse engineer the drivers of a successful pharmaceutical brand.

Audience Perception Drives Early Adoption

Successful brands are able to establish a deep connection with their users by convincing them that the brand can uniquely meet their needs. It’s critical for pharmaceutical brands to connect with the hearts and minds of patients and HCPs. Quite simply, if no one likes the brand, then no one is going to use it.

Effective Brand Communication Drives Positive Perceptions

In order to drive those positive perceptions among their target audience, successful brands have developed effective communication campaigns. A successful communication campaign demonstrates that the brand understands the frustrations of patients and HCPs, and that the product is uniquely positioned to alleviate those frustrations.

Market Insight Drives Effective Brand Communication

In order to develop effective brand communications, a successful brand depends on insights about their marketplace. These insights enable the brand team to understand the needs of its audience and identify the communications that are most effective in addressing those needs. Quite simply, market research is often at the heart of an effective brand communication campaign.

Market Insight => Effective Communication => Positive Perceptions => Early Adoption

Although big pharma has widely integrated market research into its new product development process, smaller biotech companies have been slower to adopt market research. Clearly, market insights are a critical step in a successful brand launch. However, it’s important for both big pharma and small biotechs to recognize that market insights are not an end in themselves. Effective market research is designed to drive early adoption for the brand.

Dan Callahan is the President of Vivisum Partners and Founder of Research (R)evolutions.

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