Look before you leap. Good advice no matter what you’re doing.

Great advice if what you’re doing happens to be marketing a pharma product. Landscape mapping paints a clear picture of the business environment and what’s needed to help shape perceptions and influence decisions from customers to insurers. When evolving a market entry or penetration strategy, a landscape analysis is not a “nice to have”, it is a “have to have” in today’s rapidly shifting health economics environment.

Landscape mapping paints a clear picture of the business environment and what’s needed to help shape perceptions and influence decisions from customers to insurers. When evolving a market entry or penetration strategy, a landscape analysis is not a “nice to have”, it is a “have to have” in today’s rapidly shifting health economics environment.Click To Tweet

In pharma, skipping this step could mean missing out on opportunities to make a strategic first impression in the market that will serve as the foundation for your product as it goes through its lifecycle in the marketplace.

Landscape mapping allows you to navigate around potential issues or threats such as an unexpected competitor, a change in clinical guidelines or a shift in the scientific data around the disease state. Think of it like planning a road trip route. How do you know where to turn, what roads to avoid and what sites to see along the way?

If done right, landscape mapping can make sure your communication tactics are strategic and align with your business goals.

Of course, “if done right” is the key phrase here. There are some key principles to consider when landscape mapping to make it as impactful as possible.

Cast a wide net

You can’t get a full picture of your market and its opportunities if you’re using a macro lens. You’ll need to conduct research across a range of sources to unearth real insights. Every company’s situation is a little different, but some of the key possible steps include:

  • Conduct a media canvas (social and earned)
  • Survey patient support and/or advocacy groups
  • Research key issues in the market (identify the ones that help or hurt your cause)
  • Build relationships with HCP opinion leaders
  • Review the existing scientific data
  • Uncover the research studies that are currently underway
  • Analyze the competitive space, including issues they’ve faced, how their products are positioned and what they are doing for branded and unbranded PR
  • Identify the business motivators like insurance coverage, provider reimbursement and incentives, health system incentives, etc.
  • Map out any clinical guidelines
  • Research practice polices from medical societies
  • Research government regulations

Landscape mapping requires both primary and secondary research, and getting a clear understanding of the industry and what you’re up against takes time. Knowing that this is a major undertaking – and that you may be so close to the product that you may struggle to be objective – leveraging a third party is valuable here.

Build a strategic timeline 

Speaking of time, you probably haven’t blocked off enough of it. Nobody benefits from rushing through the primary and secondary research phases, so start early enough to make a deep dive possible. Your timeframe for primary and secondary research can range from 2 – 6 months depending on the disease category and type of therapeutic or preventative.

Beyond the initial research, your timeline also needs to include space for analysis. Data is no good without insights. Explore the results of the research, synthesize the data and apply what you’ve learned to your business goals.

Keep in mind, landscape mapping isn’t a “one and done” project. Rather, it’s a part of your brand and your product’s lifecycle that should be revisited periodically. Strategically timed landscape mapping is the key to keeping ahead of the competition and maintaining market share.

Think long term 

What does the company want to achieve right now? What about two years from now? Ten? Are there pipeline plans for a next generation product? How will you build a transition plan?

Landscape mapping can uncover immediate opportunities, but it can also pave the way for your long-term goals and your pipeline portfolio. This amount of research takes an investment of time and money; don’t waste it by thinking only in the immediate.

For example, through your audit you may find major gaps that your competitors aren’t filling. Perhaps you aren’t addressing that gap either, but this could be an opportunity for your company to adapt to fit the niche and challenge the industry leaders a few years from now.

Landscape mapping is the foundation that can make or break your success. Need a navigator to help you map the market? We can help. Contact us here.

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