You are on page 1of 11

BRAN PLANNING Tips for building a successful pharmaceutical brand plan.

The brand plan is a marketer's best friend. Every new pharmaceutical marketer needs to carefully review the brand plan for that existing year. This is the roadmap that was set up to make the brand as profitable as possible and successful for the future. Usually once per year, the marketing team sets up the process to develop a new brand plan. A brand planning team is assembled to provide insight in the market situation and input into the plan itself. Sometimes an external facilitator is used to create a neutral environment, whereas other times somebody internally manages the meetings and the process flow. Either way, a lot of planning is required, particularly on behalf of the marketing team. Careful planning is critical to ensure that all brand plan timelines are met. Here are the components that are typically included in a pharmaceutical brand plan; 1. Executive summary 2. Financial and script objectives 3. Situational analysis 4. Competitor analysis (brand and company) 5. S.W.O.T. analysis 6. Key issues / Critical success factors 7. Strategies 8. Tactics 9. Sales plan 10. Contingency plan (if required) 11. Co-promotion considerations (if required)

Executive summary for a medical brand plan

Many senior managers do not have time to go through the details of a brand plan, yet they need to know the overall direction. Remember that these senior managers are often in charge of several products, and it would be overwhelming for them to read and retain all the details from every one of their product's brand plan. That's the beauty of the executive summary of a pharmaceutical brand plan. Short and sweet, and to the point, with respect to the needs of a senior manager. What do senior managers need to know foremost? They need to know what will be the sales for the year for the product? How much will it cost to get those sales? And what will be the resulting profit. So basically, they want a quick glimpse of the P&L (profit and loss) statement that you are proposing. They also need a quick synopsis of the key components of the situational analysis. Include only the major components of the situational analysis that will support the strategies that you will propose, especially if these strategies are a change in direction from previous years. For example, if you are going to propose a massive consumer campaign, then you would need to include some information in the executive summary that will support such a campaign. Similarly, if you are going to propose a massive increase in share-of-voice (SOV) tactics because of an incoming new competitor, then you will need to include information on that new competitor. Finally, list your proposed strategies. You always want to make senior management's job as easy as possible, so write the page number within the brand plan that the senior manager can refer to if they want more information on that strategy as well as the supporting tactics. And voila !! Your executive summary is complete. You need to have a completed brand plan before you actually write the executive summary, so although this appears at the beginning of the document, it needs to be written last.

Writing financial objectives in a medical brand plan

Many new pharmaceutical marketers are surprised to learn that part of their role is to become a financial expert. And the more senior you become, the more you need to understand financial data. While you most likely have support from a finance team, you should understand how to build and read a P&L (profit and loss) statement (REVENUE - EXPENSES = PROFIT or LOSS).

Marketers have substantial input in both the revenue and expenses for the brand: REVENUE FORECASTS 1. Revenue (sales) forecast 2. Script (Rx) forecast (if applicable; ie. this would not apply to medical equipment) 3. Unit forecast ... and yes, you usually need the three forecasts for each SKU. So if your product comes in 10mL, 20mL and 30mL bottles, you should have a revenue, Rx (if applicable) and unit forecast for each of the formats. Some marketers build their sales forecast based on Rx, whereas others start off with units. Either way, once you have one of these forecasts completed, you can usually convert pretty easily into the other two forecasts. EXPENSE FORECASTS Marketers also propose the Direct Marketing Expenses (DME; the marketing expenses to promote the brand) and number of sales calls that they estimate necessary to achieve the sales forecast. The formula for calculating the costs of your sales force will depend on how many representatives are calling on family physicians, how many are calling on specialists, and what selling position. A 'P1 product' is the sales rep's most important brand to sell. This is the brand that gets talked about first and takes up the most time during the sales call. Therefore, a P1 brand is more costly than a P2 (2nd position) or P3 (3rd position) and so on. Typically, the sales expenses are so complex that the finance department calculates this for the marketer.

Writing a situational analysis for a medical brand plan

The situational analysis is a collection of data included in the brand plan to give an overview of how the market, the brand, the competitors and the target markets are doing. This data forms the foundation of the medical brand plan. If it is done incorrectly, incompletely, or if it is not well understood by all parties, there is a risk that the brand strategies and tactics will not be as effective as they could be. So plan ahead, and give yourself and your colleagues a substantial amount of time to build, circulate, review and discuss the information amongst the appropriate parties.

What type of data is collected and included in a situational analysis? Marketers, sometimes with the assistance of a market researcher (in-house or market research agency), collect various data with the objective of using that data to make strategic and tactical decisions. The data collected may relate to the market, brand, customers (physicians, pharmacists, consumers, patients, wholesalers, and many others) and competitors (both existing and pipeline competitors). Data is expensive, so marketers need to consider the cost of data as part of their promotional expenses in their brand plan, unless the market research department manages their own individual budgets for each of the brands. Here are just a few examples of the data included that may be included in a situational analysis: - Script data (TRx total prescriptions, NRx new prescriptions, for brand and competitors) - Market script changes period-over-period - Market share (based on TRx, NRx, units and/or dollars) - Market share within specific target groups (ie. family physicians, physicians within specific specialties, hospitals) - Analysis of brand or competitor total volume or market share before and after a specific promotional activity or study to demonstrate the before-and-after impact - Comparison tables between brand, competitors and pipeline products (indications, studies, dosing, formats, patent expiry, price, formulary coverage) - Behavioral and attitudinal research within customer segments - Key opinion leader (KOL) mapping - Share of voice (SOV) comparing brand with competitors. This can be measured for total details, details on specific customer targets, sample distribution, journal advertisement, consumer campaigns, continuing education programs, and various other promotional tactics that are measurable - Feedback from a sample of sales representatives also provides a glimpse into regional activities

Tips on writing a competitor analysis for your pharmaceutical brand plan

Most marketers keep a close eye on their brand and their competitors' brands, but what about the competitor's corporate activities themselves? Keeping an eye on your competitors brand and corporate activities, such as a competitor analysis, can help you make better assumptions for what may come in the future, therefore give you an edge to come up with a more impactful strategic direction. What type of competitive brand information should you be tracking? - Prescription, sales and unit share - Promotional spend / share-of-voice per tactic (ie. advertising, sales force, continuing medical education, direct-to-consumer advertising, public relations, samples, etc...) - Product monograph changes - Price changes - Patent expiry and potential generic entries - Line extension, either with a complementary product or a new format - Creative and tagline changes - Message changes What type of competitive corporate information should you be tracking? - Where is their national head office and global head office? Sometimes pharmaceutical companies will associate themselves with KOL's nearest to their corporate head offices. - What is the largest revenue brand for the company? Typically, there is greater focus on the company's largest brand. By knowing this, you can keep track of surges or downfalls of that large brand and make assumptions of how this will impact the focus and budget for remaining brands. - What other products do they promote? Are these products in the same therapeutic area as the competitie product? - Do they have any products in the pipeline? If so, is this new product estimated to be a big seller for the company? If so, what type of impact could this have on the sales force structure, on the promotional spend for the existing products? - Their sales force structure. Do they have only 1 sales force detailing all of their brands, or several sales forces with different brand priorities, or even several sales forces with overlapping brand priorities?

- Their promotional habits may be predictable from year to year. Some corporations are big spenders in the first and second quarter of the year then implement limited tactics afterwards until the following year.

Tips on writing a SWOT analysis for a medical plan

Have you ever been in a situation where you developed a 'pro' and 'con' list to help you make an important decision? If so, then you ALMOST made a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is a strategic management tool to help you focus on the key issues. It is subjective, therefore you are encouraged to get input from a variety of functional departments (sales, medical, regulatory, government affairs, etc.) in order to ensure a realistic balance. SWOT stands for 'Strengths', 'Weaknesses', 'Opportunities' and 'Threats'. These are usually set up in a quadrant. 'Strengths' and 'Weaknesses' are qualities and attributes that are intrinsic to the brand. These are facts and are usually in comparison to competitors. In the example below, dosing is used as a strength. This implies that competitors' dosing is more frequent than 1x per week. 'Opportunities' and 'Threats' are extrinsic to the brand, and are possibilities of the future. By 'extrinsic', we are referring to the market or competitors. Extrinsic 'opportunity' examples could consist of stealing share from a competitor, or riding the coat-tails of a quickly growing market.

Tips for identifying the right key issues

When you are building a strategic brand plan, it is important to take the time to do each step right. If you identify the most critical key issues, you are in a better position to identify the best strategies for your brand in the next brand planning step. WHAT ARE KEY ISSUES? Key issues are problems negatively impacting the brand's ability to compete to its fullest ability thus preventing the brand from achieving its greatest profitability potential. Sometimes marketers develop Critical Success Factors (CSF) instead. As the term implies, it is critical for these factors to be achieved for a brand to be successful. HOW DO I IDENTIFY KEY ISSUES?

Identifying key issues means that you are finding the root cause of the issue. One way to do this is to ask 'why' until you cannot answer it anymore. Here is an example of using the 'why' questions to identify the true key issue of a situation; i) The issue seems to be that physicians are no longer prescribing the brand. Why is this happening? ii) It appears as though they are getting a lot of phone calls from pharmacists asking the physician to prescribe an alternative therapy, and the physicians are tired of getting these calls. Why is this happening? iii) Patients are asking the pharmacist if there any other alternatives for them to use because the drug is not covered by major medical insurance policies? Why is this happening? iv) Because the medical insurance companies have not yet agreed to cover the cost of the brand. You might be able to answer 'why' to the last question, or not. However, you can see that the key issue has become clearer and clearer as we digged further. HOW MANY KEY ISSUES SHOULD BE IDENTIFIED? That truly depends on your brand's situation. Typically, you would have 2-4 key issues. The brand planning team may come up with a dozen key issues. It is the facilitator's job to help the group filter the most important key issues to the top of the list. As a group, you will then decide which key issues should be maintained. A tip to help you select the most important key issues; Think about the financial impact of that key issue. Assume that you are able to 'fix' all the key issues, how much more revenue would that bring to the brand? How much more competitive could teh brand become? How much more could the brand satisfy the patients' needs. The ones that would result in the greater revenue should filter to the top. However, there are key issues that may be out of your control, or out of your budget to fix. Before you discard any key issues because of this, make sure that you and the brand planning team are absolutely certain that 'fixing' the key issue would be a full waste of time or financially unachievable. For example, if your main key issue is that the brand is often out-of-stock, and the product is being manufactured at your global head quarters. You may feel that you have no options because you have no control over your global headquarter's processes. This may feel especially true if you are one of the smaller affiliates. You may want to keep the key issue anyway and brainstorm some strategy / tactical ideas in the following brand planning steps, because you never know who on your team might have a solution. The logistics representative may inform the team that global has given the right to your country affiliate to outsource some of the manufacturing.

So the message here is do not be too quick to discard key issues that may seem impossible to solve. You are working with a team of bright and resourceful people they just might surprise you.

Tips for identifying a winning strategy for your pharmaceutical brand

If you have taken the time to go through all the brand planning steps, then you are ready to identify the strategy, or strategies, that will achieve your brand's objectives by tackling the most important key issues. WHAT IS A STRATEGY? A strategy is a high-level description of what needs to be accomplished in order to achieve the brand objectives , to help the brand compete to its fullest potential and to best meet the patients' needs. It is not a list of detailed activities that need to take place. This is the next step of the brand planning process. Do not skip the strategy step or there could be a loss of focus of what truly needs to be done. HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY THE BRAND STRATEGY? Take a look at the key issues that you identified in the last step. Each key issue should have 1 or 2 strategies assigned to it with the intention of tackling that particular issue. Be specific of what you want to achieve with that strategy. For example, if you use the key issue example that we discussed in the last section, your strategy could be as simple as 'Obtain full coverage for the brand by the top 3 medical insurance companies by the end of the year.' TIP TO HELP YOU STAY FOCUSED ON THE APPROVED STRATEGIES: Once your brand plan is complete and has been approved, you will have a set of strategies to guide your activities for the following year. Type the strategies one underneath the other, print them, laminate the sheet, and pin this somewhere close to your computer. Why is this important? Many people at your company and elsewhere will be very passionate about the brand that you are marketing, and will give you tons of great ideas on what you should do to promote the brand. You are also passionate about the brand you are marketing, so you may get very excited about these ideas. If the idea fits one of the strategies, then evaluate it. If not, then politely thank the person for taking the initiative to give you such a fantastic idea, but that it currently does not fit the marketing strategies that have been identified and approved. Of course their idea

would help grow the brand, but as a marketer, you only have so much budget and so much time. You will be more successful if you stay focused on the approved strategies. There are always exceptions. If the situation of the market has changed substantially since you developed the brand strategy, and this particular suggestion would address the new situation, then you need to re-assemble the brand planning team to discuss next steps. Remember that the brand plan is developed and approved as a team , so all team members should also have input into major changes that may take place during the year.

Contingency plan - Protect your brand from potential hazards

A contingency plan is something that all pharmaceutical marketers should consider when writing their strategic brand plan. What is a contingency plan? A contingency plan is an outline of tactics and budgetary changes that the marketing team anticipates if a potential scenario comes about which is different from the baseline assumption. For example, you may have competitive intelligence that suggests that a generic is expected to enter the market within the next 6 months. Depending on your company's faith in the research, your brand plan may be designed with the assumption that a generic will enter the market in 6 months. However, what if the generic does not enter the market? Be prepared. Provide a contingency plan with the assumption that a generic competitor does not enter the market. What would you suggest? You could recommend that if no generic product enters the market, then the sales force continues to sell the brand status quo. What would be the implications of continuing the sell the brand - you need more samples, reprints of leave-behind materials, and so on. This new contingency plan means that sales revenues would be higher, but that you would need to spend more direct-marketing funds to meet the needs of this new scenario. If you have agreement for this when your brand plan is in the approval stage, then all you will have to do is send out a memo informing the appropriate employees that the contingency plan is activated and remind them of the financial and tactical implications. Do all brand plans need a contingency plan? All assumptions that are included in the brand plan are subject to change. Therefore, theoretically, all brand plans should have several contingency plans. However, this is not practical. It would be wise to include a contingency plan for assumptions that carry a lot of weight with regards to sales and budget outcomes, such as the example of a generic competitor entry. Other examples of assumptions that could warrant a contingency plan;

1) Brand is expected to get approved for sale by a certain date. Have a contingency plan in case the brand is approved earlier (ie. Will your sales force be ready? Will there be medical conferences that your brand should participate in that you would not have attended otherwise? Will you have stock ready for sale? How quickly can the brand be covered by formularies?). Have a contingency plan in case the brand is approved much later than expected (ie. What will your sales force do in the meantime? How will you keep the representatives motivated? How will you update your KOL's about the delay?) 2) Have a contingency plan in case formulary coverage (procurement) change in key revenue areas. 3) Have a contingency plan in case an ongoing study comes out negative. 4) Have a contingency plan in case a competitor gets approval quicker than expected. 5) Have a contingency plan in case a co-promotion partner breaks the contractual agreement. There are many more examples of situations where you would require a contingency plan. It all depends on your baseline assumptions, how much financial and tactical impact would a change in the assumption cause, and also how significant is the brand to the company.