Step 1: Establish the Customer Framework and Select Targets provides the platform for structuring the market and defining the opportunity. During this step, the role of physician vs. patient decision-making is defined, which may include the development of patient journey maps and a quantified, segmentation fact base, to inform subsequent project steps.
It’s useful to think about target definition as a series of concentric circles, with the primary target representing the patient/care provider, the secondary target comprised of the most influential professional segment (e.g., specialists and sub-specialists) followed by referring and primary care physicians, and others (managed care, employees and investors).
During early marketing planning, focus on gaining deep insights into the primary and secondary target customers, as they will tend to set the highest hurdles – clinical and otherwise. Their needs must be met first for successful adoption by other targets.
Segmentation research can inform both target selection (in linking attitudinal and behavioral data) and touchpoints alignment, based on survey responses. Numerous medical market research methods — both qualitative and quantitative research — are available to assist in customer understanding.
Step 2: Define the Value Proposition establishes the hypothesized core offering, addressing both clinical and non-clinical benefits. During this step, the value proposition is hypothesized to obtain customer feedback on the full set of clinical and non-clinical benefits.
Many new products that demonstrate superior clinical benefits ultimately underperform in the market, because they fail to communicate the broader set of benefits (training and education, practice support, scientific leadership, etc.) that are required to make a new therapeutic solution successful from the customers’ perspective.
Step 3: Iterate the Value Proposition and Brand Positioning. The strongest brands have at their center a clear, succinct expression of their value proposition and positioning, supported by touchpoints that align with that positioning. The product indication, clinical data, and other inputs will provide a strong starting point for positioning development, though competitive assessment and primary research also need to be performed to truly assess appeal across three criteria: relevancy, differentiation, and credibility/believability.
Developing alternative “whiteboard” value proposition and positioning concepts and optimizing them “real-time” with selected targets improves in-market success. Brand identity elements (product naming, look, and feel, etc.) should be an outgrowth of positioning development, to ensure strategic consistency and alignment.
Step 4: Finalize the Customer Experience and Brand Touchpoints. For high involvement healthcare, pharmaceutical, and device purchases, multiple benefits may need to be communicated (in support of the positioning).
A messaging framework that aligns individual touchpoints and messages against target customer requirements significantly improves in-market effectiveness. The framework should consider regulatory inputs and be multi-factorial, including multiple targets, touchpoints, channels, and decision points (e.g., acquisition vs. retention).
Step 5: Develop the Launch Plan. The outgrowth of the prior steps in the brand development brief, which our consultant develops in collaboration with the client team, to direct marketing planning and implementation. The brief synthesizes important strategic decision inputs from prior steps (segmentation, targeting, positioning, messaging, etc.), as well as brand identity elements (logo/identity standards, look and feel, etc.) to ensure brand consistency over time. The brief often serves as an important transfer point with creative service providers (ad agency, web design firm, etc.) for downstream implementation.
Want to learn more? Contact Equibrand. Whether you’re looking for a medical marketing consultant, healthcare marketing consultant, or pharmaceutical marketing consultant, we have deep, specialized experience to drive business results.