Firms looking outside-in deliver competitive edge

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A curiosity about competitors is one key to pharma market research that consistently delivers forward-looking insights to brand teams, a new study shows.

Seventy percent of pharma firms interviewed for the study said they incorporate the competitive intelligence (CI) function into their market research, compared to 75% of companies in all industries. CI refers to learning from experiences and best practices of others. By looking at the external market in addition to one’s own brand, a company can benchmark itself against other organizations.

The results of the study were culled from interviews with market research leaders at 85 companies across 20 industries, 36 of them pharma firms. The companies chosen represent high-
performing groups, according to author Best Practices LLC.

Pharma firms are often criticized for being highly decentralized and insular. But as the report finds, an outward-looking culture that turns to market research to help inform all critical decision-making through market, customer and competitor perspectives is a trait shared by many of the respondents.

Other functions finding their way into the professional’s armamentarium include consumer market research (65%) and pricing studies (59%), said research directors at life science firms. This is in addition to the primary and secondary data that form a researcher’s bread and butter.

When building their staff, research managers look for those who can deliver an outside perspective. Market management research was cited as the most important project skill, cited by 89% of research directors, followed by brand-management research skills.

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