New products in their precommercial phase must face the realities of resource constraints, yet still achieve sales success. Early market synergies leveraging analytics help to optimize preparedness for initial market uptake and utilization of brands.
During a recent webinar, Steve Madden, GM of Haymarket Media’s MM+M, sat down with Francesco Lucarelli, partner and CCO of Boundless Life Sciences Group, and Steve Mitchell, chief commercial strategist of Boundless Commercial Consulting, to discuss key questions and approaches that organizations regardless of size should be evaluating.
Bridging the clinical and commercial
While organizations typically conduct brand-level analysis at the beginning of a product life cycle, Boundless “encourages the client to look broadly at the market level that takes into consideration all elements associated with promotional activities of all the brands within a therapeutic area,” Mitchell said. The goal is to understand what the target audience wants, what their unmet needs are and what their preferences are, he explained.
“Regardless of company size there are oftentimes those transition points or handoff points where these things are falling into the void,” Lucarelli added. The consulting service “brings in a companion service arm to the broader services within Boundless Life Sciences to engage these clients earlier in development.”
This way a brand can “evaluate and understand what are the appreciable metrics that matter to not only the decision making on the physician side, but also to the patient and even the payer,” he explained. Then, “when that bridge occurs between the clinical development team and the commercial team, they’ll all be on the same path.”
Creating a synergistic integration
To avoid pitfalls during transitions, it’s important to make “these types of decisions and analyses early on in the clinical development process or even prior to completing clinical study designs,” Lucarelli added. “Getting input from someone with a commercial lens in that early stage provides some insight into market dynamics.”
For many organizations, silo dynamics appear in the early stages of product development. Boundless “encourages a more synergistic integration across the disciplines so that we have the appropriate overlap and market analytics,” Mitchell said. “The sooner those teams start that integration sequence and as early as possible in clinical development, the better that brand actually is through its entire life cycle.”
Although larger organizations tend to have more resources, they often “have more of the true siloed mentality,” Lucarelli said. Breaking down those walls helps improve collaboration and communication. A startup, on the other hand, “doesn’t have the sub-specialization of staff, but their shortfalls oftentimes are in cash.” In those cases, analytics and machine-based tools can improve the brand’s cost effectiveness and efficiency.
Optimizing the brand
The first step for any organization is to “optimize what goes into the market research,” Mitchell said. “It’s the old follow-up process: garbage in, garbage out.” It’s important to review the market landscape through various data sets as “that accumulation dynamic ends up feeding the research.”
Before the product hits the market, Boundless “generates a simulator dynamic on the back end for inferential analysis [i.e. scenario planning],” Mitchell added. “It gives you the opportunity to evaluate fulfillment of attributes versus unfulfillment of attributes up against five other compounds in the sequence.” That magnitude of information helps define “the greatest point of differentiation for the brand,” he explained.
Engaging in this analysis pre-launch helps brands “batten down the hatches on what you’re going to go to market with,” Lucarelli said. It also helps with trial design, the inclusion-exclusion criteria, and the ability to assist with having a more diverse and represented patient population in the trial, he added.
The next step is to check in with the clients’ key opinion leaders. “Given the fact that we’re so early in clinical development, it’s absolutely critical that we have that level of expertise to consider all those dynamics in order to make the right decisions,” Mitchell said.
Keep in mind that “the critical anchor underneath optimizing P&L for any brand is clinical differentiation that ultimately fulfills critical unmet needs or driver analysis associated with the audience,” Mitchell added.
Analyzing target audiences
Analysis of the target physician and patient audiences helps a brand understand independent group motivations and “the commonality dynamics that end up driving the compatibility of pre-positioning work and message dynamics,” Mitchell explained.
For each independent group, it’s important to show the WIIFM (or what’s in it for me). “It is almost like looking through a prism, depending on which side you’re looking at, you see something different,” Lucarelli noted.
Going forward, an analysis refresh every two years can help a brand see if they are still on track and if there are additional elements of differentiation to pursue, Mitchell explained.
“That level of analytics is the proverbial red thread that goes through everything here,” Lucarelli said. Also, critical is maintaining “a genuine sense of curiosity.” The truth is “the minute you think you know everything is when the train goes right by,” he concluded.