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Market growth : Getting the perfect blend

Delivering growth across your brands requires the right mix of both science and art

missing image fileFinding ways to deliver growth across a portfolio of in-market brands is an age-old dilemma and pharma marketing managers often find themselves having to deliver growth across their brands which has been promised to stakeholders or to meet internal expectations.

While these predictions are sometimes made more with delighting the audience
in mind, rather than reflecting the true potential of a brand, the marketer nevertheless faces this growth gap.

Whether it's at portfolio level across the whole company, or at business unit level across a product range, meeting these raised expectations is often one of the hardest tasks a pharma marketer can face. How can you identify opportunities for growth which may have been missed, and how can you "rev up" opportunities and measure them to ensure they maximise the potential for growth?

As so often happens in marketing, the answer lies in taking a rigorous scientific approach, or rather combining "art" with science to develop breakthrough formulas for success. Sounds too good to be
true? Over the next three months, I'll be explaining how it can be done. This isn't just theory: in the final part of this series,
I will use a real case study to show how this process helped to build a robust three-year plan with a 71 per cent sales increase - a planned RoI of over 200 per cent!

Traversing the gap

The key to plugging the growth gap is
what I call "structured ideas management", which is where art meets science. First,
scientific analysis tells us where the growth and innovation problems are; the "art" is then in solving problems and developing better ways of doing things. Science then steps back in, helping us to evaluate the opportunity to ensure that the chances for success are maximised.

The basic premise is that by understanding the drivers behind commercial success, we can understand what is required to excel.

Structured ideas management may be a relatively new concept in our industry, but it is an accepted way of doing things in other sectors, especially in electronics and the automotive industry.

As the name suggests, it creates a more structured environment than pure blue sky brainstorming. By establishing the criteria for rejection of ideas first, it focuses the minds of the ideas generators.

It relies on an analysis of the existing business to establishing those factors with which you can screen out ideas that will not work: perhaps because they are not practical, they do not deliver adequate RoI, or simply because they donít match the strategic objectives of the company.

It might be simply that the organisation does not have the capabilities to deliver a particular idea (and has no prospect of acquiring them).

By adopting a scientific approach, you can then identify the gap which exists in most organisations between the current planned growth plan (which will include natural underlying growth) and the target growth, which may have been expressed as much as an optimistic aspiration as a realistic goal!

By demonstrating a robust system of measurement, the pharma marketer can show whether they are maximising the RoI on current activity - as well as making the business case for why further investment is needed to plug the growth gap.

Fuelling growth

What is needed in such a situation is what I call growth fuel: it is a tried and tested decision support process to help fill that gap. Whether itís investigating the value of taking best practice from one market to another, a way of revving up an existing plan, or implementing a step change and doing things fundamentally differently; growth fuel should secure management buy-in to an objective, fair and robust process that does not create unnecessary work in chasing unrealistic aspirations.

Once the growth gap has been identified, the process of filling it with growth fuel has three steps:

  • Opportunity generation - identifying and developing opportunities for growth precedes screening out unviable options
  • Opportunity assessment - a rigorous process which assesses the attractiveness and fit of each opportunity against a weighted set of criteria and objectively selects the financially attractive ones
  • Strategy and execution - strategic options are financially assessed and an optimal strategy and strong business case is built, before being implemented.

This growth gap tool is a sophisticated, structured, and a transparent way of tackling a straightforward problem. Importantly, it maximises the chances of success, and removes much of the risk of unnecessary work and low returns that can come from trying out new ideas to achieve growth. It's not a magic bullet, but it is a powerful way to plug that growth gap.

Alex Byth is senior consultant of marketing services at the MSI Consultancy

 

The right blend: science and art can come together to foster growth across your brands

9th August 2007

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