Among the biggest expenses for pharma marketers worldwide, there’s one that really stands out – pharma product launches. When done right, a new product launch can ensure that your product is recognized by KOLs, physicians and patients and it achieves wild success from the start. Here are some tried and tested ways of improving your product launch.
Think beyond the sales reps
When launching a new product, most managers go the usual route and leave the promotional work to the sales force. However, this strategy is far from efficient in the modern day and age. As we’ve written before, sales rep access is declining across the board. At the same time, physicians have as little as 3 minutes per a single call (depending per country). Finally, sales reps are by far one of the most expensive promotional methods for new launches.
New pharma product launches need to be aided with a successful multi-channel strategy. By incorporating a mix of email, content marketing, e-detailing apps and other digital channels, HCPs will be able to get much more information in a shorter time frame. When it comes to delivering actionable content that presents scientific publication results, we have foundvideos to be the most effective.
Timing is everything
When preparing a product launch, you need to think months ahead of the big date. As stated by Docplexus, the month before and after the launch can define the fate of the product in the following years.
At the launch date gets closer, initiate discussion on the disease that needs to be targeted. Use all available channels, such as your website, LinkedIn, email newsletters, paid advertising, blog content, HCP portals and all other channels you have at your disposal.
Once the product is launched, provide actionable content using those exact same channels. Provide scientifically accurate information on how your new product aids in combating the targeted disease and improving patient outcomes. The first few weeks after the launch is when physicians will be most interested in guidelines, product information and communication with the sales rep team. Do your homework and present new scientific data that shows specific benefits to the patients.
If you’ve introduced HCPs with the basic information regarding your new products and its effectiveness ahead of time, they will be more likely to meet your sales reps when time comes for it.
Think about the consumers
When launching a new product, most pharma companies focus on exactly that – the product, and nothing else. However, the primary target of your launch campaign should be those who facilitate its use – the physicians.
Problems arise when there’s a discrepancy in what physicians think about a disease or a therapeutic area on the one hand, and what pharma companies think that physicians think. I order to know the exact sentiments of HCPs, you can simply ask them, preferably months before your launch. Use your sales reps visits and other forms of communication to inquire about physicians’ attitudes and thoughts. In this way, you will know exactly what kind of approach to use once the launch time comes.
Engage with KOLs
While it’s necessary to have a plan for HCPs, you can not neglect KOLs as a pivotal force in the launch of a new product. Besides the standard content formats for physicians, it’s useful to create webinars for KOLs. As webinars are more interactive in nature, it will enable you to get a clear view of KOLs’ opinions about different diseases and therapeutic areas, and subsequently, your upcoming product.
Market research prior to launch
One of the most common reasons why new product launches fail is the lack of understanding of the market. While strict pharma regulations and lack of a target audience make it difficult to investigate the market, it is not impossible. Investigate with physicians about the needs that the current market does not meet and you’ll get a glimpse into what the competition is doing right and wrong.
Finally, product launches are not uniform, and there are multiple factors to keep in mind, such as therapeutic area, physicians’ attitudes, level of patient literacy etc. Each product launch strategy should be customized according to these factors. Even launching the same product in two different regions can be completely different.
A Product Manager with expertise in pharma marketing and sales operations