Making a big splash in the market during a product launch is good – but creating a lasting presence in the market is better.
As a pharma brand, the worst thing you can do after a launch is … nothing. Only 20% of approved products reach profitability – meaning staying stagnant and relying on the momentum of launch to carry your sales is a sure way to lose both attention and dollars.
Instead, a continuous evaluation of what’s important to your customers is critical, along with a deployment of effective tactics to keep them engaged, a plan to identify and tackle uptake challenges, and a strategy to anticipate/resolve any other possible issues that may arise.
These post-launch touch points and strategies are key to fueling sales momentum and maintaining audience interest in your brand. Determining what happens after launch is one of the most important aspects of a pharma product launch plan.
Two tactics, in particular, are essential for building continuous momentum: fresh data collection and a long-term commitment to supporting third-party partners, such as patient groups.
Keep Data Fresh
Conventional wisdom tells us not to rest upon our laurels – or our foundational licensure data. Complacency and comfort after a successful launch period is your business’ worst enemy as it does not position you for growth.
Fresh data can also uncover pathways for new, expanded indications or aspects of your drug after real-world evidence takes shape. While new data can’t be promoted unless the FDA approves a supplemental label change, it can spur additional scientific discussions about your particular brand or class of medication in the health care provider community, keeping your product top of mind well beyond launch. This also has the added benefit of enhancing your corporate reputation as a company committed to continually improving its expertise in a given health arena.
Increasingly, pharma companies are turning to Real World Evidence (RWE) for this purpose. In fact, 90% of global pharma companies either have, or are building, RWE analytical capabilities. RWE is evidence based upon observational data obtained outside of controlled trials, and tracks patient outcomes during routine clinical practice. Data points such as the percentage of emergency room visits, readmittance after discharge, impact on other conditions, etc. can all be gathered via real world clinical observations or electronic medical records (EMRs) and can provide valuable patient population benefit insights for pharma companies as well as their customers.
As conversations around your product – and your brand presence – gain steam, new product opportunities could arise. If discussions are promising and the market is there, it may be time to pursue an official FDA designation for an expanded label change. Each additional indication or product advancement/claim is a new chance to capture attention in a crowded market.
Securing a third-party partner to help educate patients and providers on a disease or condition and the options for treatment is a standard tool in most marketers’ arsenals. But too often, pharma companies enter these relationships with only a specific milestone or moment in mind, resulting in a “one and done” effect that does little to inspire the true spirit of partnerships.
To create long-lasting momentum and prevent a quick drop-off in buzz, these relationships should not be one-off, short-term projects, but rather maintained across the continuum of your product’s lifecycle. We’re talking years, not months.
When you find a partner where you share a mutuality of mission, invest in the relationship for the long-haul. Think of it like “ally development.” Not only can a partner help spread your message during launch, but they can also add a voice to scientific discussions around your future research for years to come and may help navigate any unexpected issues that may arise. An enduring strong third-party relationship with a patient or medical group will ultimately help position your product in the “earned” space, creating a loyalty among both patients and providers.
Rx for Success
The pharmaceutical industry is expected to become a $1.12 trillion market in 2022, meaning competition will continue to grow. If pharma companies want to keep up with the exploding industry, they’ll need to invest in turning launch milestones into brand momentum.
To learn more about how to give your launch staying power, along with other key strategies for a successful pharma launch, check out our Rx for Success: Pharma Launch Marketing Guide e-book, created by our experienced team at Padilla.
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