Surely, the Pharmaceutical market is one of the most interesting and diverse industries, always in a state of change and flux, but in more recent times, we can see a distinct trend away from big brand product, wide reach styles of Marketing toward a focus on the “niche” medicines; this process also seems to be accelerating. An additional challenge is thus presented for the pharmaceutical company sales staff, most especially in the area of education.
Pharmaceutical companies may now be more concerned with discussing product branding at an early stage of the development cycle, as they are keenly aware of the volatile nature of the market and additional constraints that will emerge as the company tries to penetrate and satisfy these more narrow-minded niche markets. The branding exercise must take into account potential resistance or the need for additional clarification at an early stage of the marketing cycle.
Now more than ever, pharmaceutical markets are crowded. So many choices are presented to a consumer and a wide variety of external forces often come into the purchasing decision, including advice given by the petitioner or front-line professional. Every one of us expects instantaneous information to be available whenever we need it and we’re now getting used to engaging with each other much more often within social networks and online. As a consequence, we are becoming much more educated about every aspect of our existence. As the market becomes more crowded and the consumer becomes more educated, more emphasis must be placed on marketing program efficiency by senior company executives.
Pharmaceutical companies are spending a great deal of their time moulding and shaping the market so that it is ready for the product when it is released. This only helps to emphasise the fact that marketing should be considered interactively during brand creation phases and that educational channels are explored.
If more emphasis is being placed on marketing within niche product areas, then it is true to say that there is more emotional involvement and less tendency to “go with the flow” on the part of the professional or the consumer. This requires a pharmaceutical company to be very clear and distinct in its marketing methods and messages, in order to differentiate itself from its competitors in the eyes of its target markets. This clearly puts pressure on the company’s sales force as these executives must now try and penetrate a sceptical barrier at the professional level and ensure that the message is stronger, yet more targeted than before.
The sales force is of primary importance to the success of the company and senior officials are turning in greater numbers to pharmaceutical consultants and pharmaceutical consulting firms to help them train and focus the force accordingly. In most cases, pharma consulting plays a great role in helping the organisation to identify shifting marketing forces, especially when associated with niche concentration. If the professional is traditionally distant, sharper skills will be required and more cognitive training must be assured to enable the sales executive to break through and be successful. Effective implementation requires an equal amount of experience, ability and training.
Alan Gillies is the CEO of L2L Consulting, a cutting-edge pharma consultancy firm which specialises in optimising productivity and performance within international companies by applying tailored organisational strategies.
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