Knowing when and where to target your product is key. Success is the ultimate goal. And the only way to achieve it is if you choose the right marketing strategy to put your brand in the consumer’s mind.
The pandemic has had a great impact on the pharmaceutical industry’s paradigm of communication. Forcing, in that way, the elaboration of new models for a successful product launch.
For this, we have gathered for you the key tips to help you ace your product launch while being adaptable to modern practices.
Tips to Ace Your Product Launch
New conjecture, New practices
COVID has brought a shift to an industry reliant on face-to-face interactions. With busier schedules, and restricted by social distancing regulations, HCP’s connection with sales reps suffered a shift.
In 2020 in-person contact with sales reps in Europe lowered by as much as 70% (McKinsey & Company). This surfaced a major challenge to pharma companies who already faced significant obstacles in launching new products. Now the question is – How can one engage with the target audience effectively?
The “one size fits all approach” is no longer an option. HCP and patients alike want to feel that their specific needs are attended to. And that is only possible if personalization is taken into consideration as a key element in companies’ marketing strategy.
With the pandemic, the digital gained new relevance, that has already started to creep in in the years before. The way HCP and patients educate themselves on products and health has dramatically changed.
In 2020 53% of EU citizens used the Internet to search for health-related information (Eurostat). On the other end of the spectrum, HCP have spent more of their time virtually, attending conferences, accessing information, and even communicating with their patients.
Did you know that… 63% of respondents of an EPG Health Media survey declared that they prefer the Internet to the traditional mediums to access scientific and health information (PharmaPhorum)?
So, digital is now the way to go to both establish a solid marketing strategy and effectively launch your products. With the assurance that you target the right audience at the right place and time.
It is the tools we can find online that should constitute part of your successful product launch. And we will just show you how.
The Product Launch – What to consider
Digital options for content marketing and product launch are great in their reach and engagement. But they are equally valuable in their cost-effectiveness. On the plus side, consumers value these tactics.
So, when moving towards a product launch, you must think of the digital as an integrative marketing tool to complement your in-person efforts. And to do it effectively your first need to:
1 – Define your target market segment
An effective product launch is considerate of its primary target audience. The consumers that will benefit from your offer and are specifically looking for it.
You must not fall under the mistake of targeting a wide, generalized audience. Otherwise, you risk getting your message lost and the product surpassed by the competitors’ offers. Thus, for this not to happen, you must define your target market segment.
A target market segment is a group of potential customers and buyers of your product that fit within its features. For instance, if you are selling an anticoagulant pill your target market will be physicians within the area of cardiology and patients with cardiovascular conditions.
However, how can you go from a general audience into a specific segment of consumers? You must think of:
- The target customer – Who would buy this product? Strive to know their geographical location, preferences, and their role (is it a patient, an activist, or a physician?).
- The industry sector – If directly related to your field of practice, then think of the industry sector your target customer works in. Does it relate directly to your product?
- The reason to buy – Consider why your potential customer would buy your product. What is it in it that compels the consumer? That should constitute your unique selling point (USP).
- The competition – Think of your competitors and their products. What is it that they are doing, that you are not? And what is it that they are not doing and the audience demands? Think of the gap between customer demand and offer, to effectively position yourself in the market.
After you answer these questions and collect the necessary data, you can move on to defining your target market segment. And start thinking of the next steps in your product launch preparation.
2 – Customer-centric approach
With the advent of the Internet and online search engines emerged new information and content consumption practices. Which has pushed pharma companies further away from B2B marketing into a more B2C perspective. Also known as the customer-centric approach.
The customer-centric approach is one that focuses on providing customers with a seamless buying experience that will generate positive feedback. Consequently, strengthening your brand’s positioning in the market.
The consumer is the end-user of your product. So you have to think of the ways you can turn its relationship with your brand into one of trust and loyalty. And for that, you need to leverage your data with the content you provide.
Perse, content personalization is key to your product launch. You want to make sure your message is as relevant and resonant with your audience’s needs as possible. This will only guarantee your success and long–term growth.
Companies that leverage data on consumer behaviour with content have proven to outperform their competitors in the market by an increase of 85% in sales, and 25% in gross margin (Veeva).
3 – Be Innovative with Omnichannel Marketing
Once you define your target market segment and leverage your data, you can move on to finding innovative ways of approaching your prospect consumers at the right channels.
And so, Omnichannel marketing is the way to go. This is a communication strategy focused on integrating cross-channel interactions with the consumer that are both customer-centric and innovative. Here the digital plays a crucial role.
Present-day European consumers are either young people who grew up in the digital era (digital natives) or adults that have grown an interest in the possibilities of the Internet as a commodity. So, it is not surprising to know that in 2021 92% of EU households had Internet access (Eurostat).
European consumers value, then, their online experiences on the different available channels. And, most of all, appreciate interactive initiatives that provide memorable journeys where both emotional and functional value are offered.
To move on to an effective product launch where you know your offer will reach the right audience at the right place, you have to consider the different channels for action. And these can be:
There are different channels that you can consider. The most important thing is that they comply with the consumers’ interests and preferences.
With COVID, HCP across the globe have expressed their preference for being approached by sales reps on alternative channels. Email and virtual meetings were some of those that stood out the most for their efficacy. In truth, according to Veeva, approved emails were mainly adopted by sales reps in 2020-2021 (49%). And virtual meetings made up 65% of interactions between HCP and sales reps in the same period (Accenture).
Nonetheless, in-person interactions are still of value. And so is the communication on the other different channels. So, it is important that in your product launch you follow an omnichannel marketing strategy that is both adaptive and inclusive.
4 – Educate, do not just promote
Once the channels are chosen, you must consider the content you want to provide your audience with. After all, you have a product to promote. Nonetheless, it should not be too evident. The focus should be on education over promotion.
From under 35s to over 50s professionals, education surpasses the value of promotion to those who are targeted by sales reps. The same is true for patients. With greater access to digital health monitoring tools, these seek the opportunity to be more informed on their wellness and diseases, as well as treatment options.
So, in your product launch promotion, you must think of ways to advance this educational value to your target audience. And you can do this through:
- Blog posts;
- Animated graphs;
- Interactive presentations…
Video is one of the most powerful digital tools of modern-day marketing. And it has proven to be highly resourceful in the pharmaceutical industry. Because it offers an interactive experience to a consumer whose attention span is shorter than ever before. It further:
- Boosts engagement;
- Fosters the generation of new leads;
- Strengthens brand loyalty, while promoting education and greater awareness; and
- Provides insightful data into your audience’s interests, needs and preferences.
That is why 86% of businesses in 2022 are expected to continue using video as part of their marketing strategies (Wyzowl). And you can be one of them.