Maximize your ability to hit your targets
Even with a limited budget and a small sales force, you can still deliver your core selling messages to target physicians.
In an ideal world, our brands would have a huge and thriving sales force. This sales force would reach all our targeted healthcare providers and deliver a comprehensive presentation, focusing on topics such as clinical data and appropriate patient types and providing an in-depth disease-state discussion.
But we all know the reality:
- Reps rarely get more than a minute with busy physicians; if they're lucky, they may manage to squeeze in a single product message while the doctors they call on are signing for samples.
- Many pharmaceutical companies, particularly those in the biotech space, are working with limited budgets and a small sales force.
- Because target physicians are often dispersed across the country, it may be difficult to gain access to them.
As marketers, we need to increase our savviness when it comes to getting our core branding messages heard in this challenging environment.
Here are a few suggestions:
Use the internet: Though I don't have actual data, I feel pretty confident in saying that 100% of healthcare providers have access to the internet. The internet can help you reach targets across the country in the following ways:
- Eblasts can help increase product name recognition and keep physicians aware of new information about your product
- Webinars with key opinion leaders give target physicians the opportunity to discuss your product's attributes
- If a full-blown website is not in the budget, microsites can be used to place important information on the web and may even serve as a portal for some of your existing assets (e.g., videos, disease-state PDFs, press releases)
Aim lower: Of course, we would love to get our product message out to all physicians, but with limited budgets this is an unrealistic goal. To make sure your message reaches physicians who have the biggest impact on how your product is perceived in the market, divide your list into segments such as these:
- High prescribers of a competitive product
- Decision makers
Establish trial markets: For the same amount of marketing dollars, you can either get a tiny share of voice across the country or a major voice in a targeted area.
A little research can help you identify both small and large groups around the country where a certain disease state may be prevalent.
Physicians in these trial markets can serve as touch points, spreading the word about your product to colleagues across the country.In addition, you can measure your market share growth in the trial market and use that data as a case study for expanding to other key areas.
Bottom line: You don't need a huge budget to make an impact, especially when it comes to specialty physicians.
Although reps are a great source for building relationships and bringing value to a brand, many nonpersonal efforts can be made to maximize your marketing spend and make an impact on market share.