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Smart Thinking blog

Insights and expert advice on the key issues facing today’s pharma marketer

Discover strategic opportunities

How to reach your end-goal… and the steps needed to get you there. Two foremost agency directors talk you through the way to get from A to B.

Spotting strategic opportunities is very different from spotting tactical ones. You must invest time in research, planning and predicting what is going to happen in the market and the wider environment. You need to have a clear end-goal to avoid being distracted and to ensure that all your brand activities are aligned to this end-goal. After all, if you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there! 

Involve others – you want those:

  • Who intimately understand your brand, market and customers 
  • Who can take an objective view 
  • Who can bring valuable experience from other markets and brands.

Hold strategic planning days with those who can input to getting your brand where you want it to be (eg, creative agency, PR agency, sales force, medics, market access and market research), have a clear agenda, and be specific and realistic about your expectations for these sessions.  

1. WORK OUT WHERE YOU ARE

It's vital to start with a clear understanding of where you are in the market place. This should be summarised in one simple, short statement – be honest! Is your brand top of mind with customers or last resort? Is your brand perceived as cutting edge or old hat?  

2. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE? 

Decide where you want to be and in what time frame. Again, this should be a short, simple statement – but this time don't be afraid to be aspirational. Is your end-goal OTC status, domination of a niche segment or fundamentally to re-shape the market?  

3. AGREE SHORTER-TERM GOALS ALONG THE WAY 

It's unlikely that you can achieve your long-term objective in one easy step. So think about the things that need to happen en route. Make sure these are realistic and have clear, measurable targets in place.

4. WHAT CAN HELP YOU GET THERE: WHAT COULD STOP YOU?

How can you maximize opportunities? And how can you overcome potential blocks? Can you achieve either of these by shaping the market away from your competitors and towards your brand? Do you need to increase disease awareness or grow awareness of your brand and its benefits?  

Consider internal issues but also keep up to date with what's happening to your customers and competitors. What are the latest proposals for the NHS? How likely are they to be implemented? How might this affect your product offering? What are competitors doing? Who could enter the market and disrupt it? What is likely to happen in the relevant time frame?  

Now you've decided where you want to be and identified the strategic opportunities, you need to start thinking about the tactical implementation.Challenging yourself is essential if you are going to build and define your brand.

QUICK CHECKLIST 

Question

Yes

No

Do you know where you are in the market now?



Do you know where you want to be in the future? (What is the time frame – one, two or five years?)



Do you know what the main factors are that could help you achieve your goal?



Are you clear what the main issues are preventing you from achieving your goal?



Do you have a process in place for horizon-scanning your market sector? For example, assessing the potential impact of proposed health policy changes, the potential for new suppliers or new technologies to enter the market?



Do you have a process for keeping up to date with competitors' activities?



Do you share ideas and experience across brands within your company and with your agencies?




Article by
Clare Chamberlain and Lisa Dodd

are directors at CAN advertising. They can be contacted at clare.chamberlain@can-advertising.com or lisa.dodd@can-advertising.com

19th September 2011

From: Marketing

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