You just got approval on a product update and are tasked with creating a launch plan – now what? Copy and paste the marketing strategy from your last label update?

Nope.

Google “incremental advancement marketing” and use those tactics? Replicate what your competitors did?

Still no, though you do need to take their positioning and strategy into account.

Your drug’s pricing, notable features (e.g., dosing regimen), competitors, etc. are all different, so your plan should be too. If you’re going to succeed in the market, you need a tailored strategy.Click To Tweet

There’s no cookie cutter template, but there are important strategy “ingredients” that will help you hit your business goals.

To figure out exactly what those ingredients are made of, answer these questions.

How newsworthy is the advancement?

The best prescription you can write your company is a dose of reality.

Ask yourself – and be honest – how important is your advancement really? How much will your audiences (media, patients, providers, customers, etc.)  care?

I don’t mean you shouldn’t market and promote the advancement at all. The answer to this question will simply determine the “how” – meaning how much to invest in marketing, and what channels to use.

For example, maybe you just got permission to release a new version of your drug that has a coating to make it easier to swallow. Guess what: that’s not really worth a multi-layered plan and a heavy PR investment.

Sorry if that harsh truth was a tough pill to swallow.

That said, maybe you DO have data showing your customers frequently visit your website for product updates, so make sure all web copy includes messaging on the advancement.

On the other hand, perhaps you’ve simplified dosing, and this sets your product far above competitors. Sounds like a big communication initiative is in your future.

This decision-making requires an in-depth understanding of your customers and their purchase motivators. If you haven’t already invested in that research, it’s time to start.

What does the research say about the industry landscape?

Speaking of research: Who are your competitors? How are they positioned (particularly if you have a “me too” product)? What influencers exist in the space? What’s the latest scientific data guiding decision makers in the industry?

If you can’t answer these questions, you can bet your communication programs won’t be successful.

Research is the backbone of your tailored strategy. Not only can it reveal proof points for your advancement, but it can guide the specific messaging you use.

Conduct a landscape assessment, a data review of scientific literature, a canvassing of patient and medical groups as well as physician opinion leaders in the space and a competitive analysis.

Those insights you find? Those are the start of your marketing blueprint.

Which patient or medical groups could amplify your message?

Given that pharma is such a regulated industry, you’re probably finding it hard to tell your product’s whole story. Communication constraints abound.

Good news: by tapping into patient groups, medical groups or industry influencers, you can ensure the advancement’s value and best use are conveyed. Anticipate any concerns about your advancement and be prepared to respond to any sensitive questions about pricing and insurance reimbursement.

Determine who these “educator” groups are early in the marketing process and work to build relationships with them from the start. Having a strong foundation with thought leaders already in place will make it easier to rally them to your product when it’s time to launch.

Be sure to research any influencers who may NOT support your product, too. Once you uncover why they might oppose your advancement, you can put measures in place to mitigate backlash or change perception.

Though there’s no “plug and play” solution for incremental advancement marketing, answering these key questions will help you build the right strategy for your business.

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