For biotech brands launching as the 3rd or 4th entrant to the market, here is some advice on how to best win the minds and hearts of your target audience.
While it's great to be the first mover in a particular therapeutic area, one of my favorite rules from The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Ries and Trout is:
Law #3: It is better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace.
“If you want to make a big impression on another person, you cannot worm your way into their mind and slowly build up a favorable opinion over a period of time. The mind doesn't work that way. You have to blast your way into the mind.
“The reason you blast instead of worm is that people don't like to change their minds. Once they perceive you one way, that's it. They kind of file you away in their minds as a certain kind of person.” –Ries and Trout
This holds especially true in the healthcare marketing game where real-world experience cements impressions in the minds of prescribing physicians. We have all seen drugs assigned a niche, based on lack of efficacy, side effect profiles and dosing.
You may have to fight those battles at launch as well, but if you position your product carefully and spend the right dollars against the right physicians, you can overcome the fact that you are a late entrant.
In the real world, the advantage of being an established brand can be overcome even by launch products that do not enter until well after a market develops. Major impact at launch, spending against the correct segments and behaving as the market leader out of the gate will launch your brand with the best trajectory possible.