Established brands have the luxury of using data as a backup proof point.

Challenger brands must lead with it.

Why? Lack of credibility is a huge obstacle for challenger pharma and medical device brands trying to break into the market. Data can address this challenge. When you can put your stats where your statements are, the market starts paying attention.

Lack of credibility is a huge obstacle for challenger pharma and medical device brands trying to break into the market. Data can address this challenge. When you can put your stats where your statements are, the market starts paying attention.Click To Tweet

The role of data and research depends on which decision makers you’re trying to reach. Understanding each is the key to building trust.

Influencing Physicians

Physicians are naturally skeptical, and while a well-written brand narrative can help you build a connection with this audience, tangible data is a must if you want a chance at building credibility.

Physicians look for data that:

  • Shows the need in the marketplace (e.g. X percent of people are suffering from Y)
  • Conveys the effectiveness of your product
  • Explains the importance of your differentiators
  • Compares results to competitors

And reaching physicians isn’t one-size-fits-all. Different physicians rely on different sources. Your job is to learn where the physicians in your niche turn to for information.

Do they exclusively read studies or prefer collecting their info from conferences? Do they follow a particular industry influencer or read trade publications every morning? You could have the most revolutionary data to share, but if you’re not where your audience is, it means nothing. These questions are a key part of your initial audience research.

Influencing Patients

If you’re solely focused on convincing physicians of the value of your drug, you’re leaving a huge chunk of your audience behind.

Patients are more involved in their health decisions than ever before. In fact, around 93 million people in the US have searched for a health-related topic online, according to a Pew Internet & American Life Project study. Patients are actively Googling diseases, procedures, prescriptions, insurance, etc., in order to make informed decisions about their health.

Consider this: a patient comes across one of your previous marketing tactics and learns about your challenger brand and offering for the first time. Curious, they search your brand’s name to learn more. They see your messaging, they understand the problem you’re solving and they read your explanation on how you’re shaking up the market.

But there’s no data. There are no statistics on the effectiveness of your product. No cold, hard facts about why it’s successful.

You’ve lost credibility with the patient. They’ve moved on to the next search result. Your competitor now has their attention.

You need to have the right data in the right place for patients, meaning relevant forums, your website, your social media, etc. all need to have data readily available.

Patient outreach does have exceptions. For example, if your drug is part of a routine medical procedure, it’s likely the patient isn’t involved in the decision-making process. Similarly, if you’re a challenger medical device brand, patient outreach isn’t a priority.

Influencing Investors

Data is also a powerful tool when approaching investors – an important audience for challenger brands. However, the data you use to build credibility with physicians and patients won’t necessarily resonate with investors.

Time to pivot.

Clinical trial data can still be powerful, but you’ll want to focus on why your product will be successful in the market.

Adapt your message to convey market and research data, answering the questions investors care about, such as:

  • What is the current market landscape?
  • How will you outperform competitors in the market?
  • How much does it cost to make?
  • How much does it cost the patient and the hospital system?
  • How much margin is possible?
  • What are the risks? What makes it truly different?

Above all, investors care if your product can earn a percentage of the market share as it goes up against the industry giants. Challenger brands have to leverage data to convince them this possibility is not only realistic, but likely.

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