It’s no secret that the pharmaceutical industry is a crowded and fiercely competitive space. Even the biggest players and most influential brands can struggle to attract attention, raise awareness, and drive sales of new medical treatments or drugs.
To emphasize how intense the biopharma market is, pharma companies spent more than $8 billion on paid advertising last year. Not only did ad spending reach such stratospheric heights for the second year in a row, but it also eclipsed the tech sector for the first time in history.
The message is loud and clear: in today’s highly competitive and dynamic pharmaceutical industry, having an effective brand positioning strategy is more vital than ever.
If you’re a leader at a biopharma company asking yourself what you can do to help your products reach the physicians and patients who need them, this guide is for you. Read on for a closer look into the benefits, considerations, and tactics of successful brand positioning.
Understand the importance of pharmaceutical brand positioning
Branding is a tightrope walk: you need to establish a unique, competitive value proposition while appealing to the largest possible customer base. Developing a compelling brand strategy is particularly challenging in the biopharma industry—a landscape fraught with rapidly evolving market trends, changing regulations, and increasing competition.
A strong pharmaceutical branding strategy is the key to success in this tough environment. Effective product positioning offers several benefits, including:
- Market differentiation. Most importantly, a solid brand strategy helps your product stand out in a crowded market.
- Justifies pricing strategy. If your product is priced higher due to superior quality or unique features, effective positioning can help justify the price to customers.
- Competitive advantage. A strong positioning strategy can give your product a competitive edge, leading to higher sales and increased market share.
- Enhances brand authority. Brand strategy leaders can use market intelligence to prioritize the opportunities that positions the company as innovative, trustworthy, and as a thought leader.
- Attracts talent. Effective brand positioning can also help attract top industry talent, further enhancing your company’s capabilities.
Know your audience
Every successful brand strategy begins with a deep understanding of your target audience—their needs, priorities, issues, and desires, and who the key decision makers are. The next step is to identify where your audience is and then meet them there.
Our guide on how to calculate your total addressable market (TAM) can help you get started. You can use a combination of data from state health departments, industry reports, online directories, or a healthcare commercial intelligence provider to get a solid understanding of the physicians and patients you’re targeting. Medical and prescription claims data can help you go one layer deeper and segment your market, so you can precisely target the highest value prospects. As a pharma company, diagnosis and procedure volumes may be particularly useful for exploring the needs of individual hospitals and care facilities.
Craft a clear value proposition
Developing a strong value proposition is a crucial step in defining your brand and attracting customers. It not only helps attract and retain customers but also positions your brand as a solution provider that consistently delivers on its promises. It’s a critical component of building trust, driving sales, and ultimately achieving long-term business success.
To craft a value proposition that pops, you’ll need to answer four big questions:
- Who is your most receptive audience?
- What pain point do you solve for them?
- What do you do to solve it?
- How do you do it differently from the competition?
Finding the answers to these questions can help you outline the clinical, technical, and descriptive functions of your drug or treatment. Then, you can link those features to compelling benefits that can help your audience understand why they should purchase your product. Finally, knowing the features and benefits of your product can tell you what your competitors can’t deliver on, giving you another edge to persuade prospects with.
Consider multiple marketing channels
One important consideration to be aware of is that marketing to healthcare professionals can be challenging. Doctors, nurses, and other types of providers are highly knowledgeable and exceptionally busy people who must make potentially life-saving decisions.
Your marketing plan not only needs to convince them of the efficacy and safety of your drug, but it also needs to engage them with tailored messaging where they’re most likely to receive it. In short: you must consider several tactics to effectively reach your audience and engage them with the right messaging.
A brief list of tactics you might want to consider are:
- Attending events and conferences: Knowing that your target audience will be attending a specific event presents a prime opportunity to promote your drug or treatment. There are a seemingly endless number of conferences across the entire spectrum of care, so you can be very targeted about which places you have a presence at.
- Email marketing: Email remains an effective way to reach your target market. Getting your hands on executive contact data—and knowing the hierarchy of an organization, hospital, or department—can help you engage the most valuable prospects with laser precision. Take a look at our guide on how to write sales and marketing emails people will actually read for more tips.
- Content marketing: Creating and sharing valuable, relevant, and informative content can be an effective way to engage, educate, and build relationships with your target audience. Content like blogs, whitepapers, webinars, infographics, and interactive tools, among others, can be circulated to position your company as a thought leader and industry expert.
Finally, your company may want to consider adopting an omnichannel marketing strategy. This is a customer-centric strategy that uses data to identify which channels your audience engages with and how, when, and why they interact with a brand. With all this information, you can successfully target and win customers through personalized messaging, promotions, and follow-ups that are customized to their unique needs.
Notably, the omnichannel marketing process divides the customer journey into multiple stages, so differentiated messaging is vital to ensure customers are understood, engaged, and influenced—wherever they are in their journey. To discover whether an omnichannel approach is a good fit for your pharma company, or to read our e-book on developing omnichannel strategies for life sciences organizations.
What it all means
Remember that building a strong pharmaceutical brand takes time and consistent effort. It’s essential to maintain high ethical standards, prioritize patient safety, and ensure transparency throughout your operations.
Keeping up with the latest industry trends and technological advancements is critical to remaining competitive in this crowded, ever-changing landscape. Simply staying on top of market shifts, however, is only half the battle. The right healthcare commercial intelligence can help your pharmaceutical company find success from the early stages of drug discovery to commercialization and beyond.
Brand strategy leaders can leverage healthcare commercial intelligence to evaluate existing opportunities and discover new avenues for growth. Real-world data, medical and prescription claims, references, and affiliations can all help your organization develop more effective strategies, understand the market, adapt to changes on the fly, and get to market faster.
For more information on how to position your pharma company for success, check out these resources:
And if you’re a pharma company looking to get hands-on with our healthcare commercial intelligence and see how it can help your business grow faster this year, then start a free trial today.