Biotech brand teams need to speak to target physicians regularly
Talking to community physicians will provide valuable insight to guide your launch strategy.
Monitoring the beliefs of targeted doctors should be something you do each month with your agency. This way you can find out what your agency is hearing on the street from doctors on its active panels.
It’s important to spend time in market research listening to doctors describe their feelings about Product X or the benefits of Product Y. But take a step back.
When trying to develop your launch strategy, it is vital that you spend more time asking questions and listening to your target physicians. You need to understand the doctor’s current beliefs about treatment of the disease in question, how patients present, and why she/he currently treats in a certain way.
This can be much more informative than the common market research answer, “…sure, I think Product X sounds effective, but I will have to see more long-term data in a bigger study to be sure about its safety.”
It is easy to get lulled into thinking the standard market research approach covers all the essentials for building a biotech brand. It does not.
What market research often misses are the beliefs and feelings of the community physician who is most likely responsible for generating more than 75% of your prescriptions each year.
You could call these community physicians your make-or-break segment. Why is it, then, that most market research does not include community physicians in greater numbers? Can it be that they just won’t make time, that maybe they’re not interested, or , they haven’t been asked to participate?
Make it a point to keep physicians on your expert panels in each specialty throughout the year. Monitor their practice habits for specific diseases, inquire when changes take place, and ask them questions when they consider prescribing a new product.
These discussions with community physicians will help keep you focused on the majority of issues facing the bulk of target doctors your brand is trying to reach. They also help uncover details sometimes missed with better known KOLs at Advisory Boards and in classic market research.
Are you deep in a strategic challenge and wanting to know if your proposed positioning will truly be differentiating and believable enough to warrant a change in physicians’ practice habits? Ask your target community physicians. They are the perfect sounding board.
So, when you are wondering if a new opportunity with your target audience would be engaging enough to warrant some change in behavior, call a member of your expert physician panel. It will be worth its weight in gold, or at least market share!