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Patient-centric strategies for emerging markets

Adopting an open and innovative mindset is key
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Developing compelling and differentiated brand strategies should always start with a deep understanding of the patient, combined with a clear understanding of the physician's needs, to generate real insight.

Many companies have successfully used this approach to drive value and differentiation in traditional markets, but does it translate for emerging markets, where patient insight is less readily accessible and developing a robust, insight-led approach is far from straightforward?

China's vast geographic area, huge and heterogeneous population, and complex city and hospital tiering system demand an approach to insight that is pragmatic yet comprehensive enough to ensure relevance.

To ensure strategic development for emerging markets is robust, it makes sense to use internal stakeholders' 'on-the-ground' knowledge to first develop a clear commercial prioritisation ahead of conducting any primary research.

This initial prioritisation provides a greater focus for any primary research, minimises risk and avoids a situation where resources are spread too thinly.

The heterogeneity of patient populations is further underlined in patient-pay markets such as Brazil, introducing a further dynamic into the treatment transaction, brand perceptions and expectations. For example, if you go to a restaurant and know you will be paying for dinner yourself, how does this affect your expectations? How does this change if you know someone else will be paying?

How to appeal, and remain relevant, to a complex range of patient types driven by a range of needs, behaviours, attitudes and influences is a challenge in any market, but exaggerated further in emerging markets where the rules of engagement can be really quite different.

Combine all of the above with the challenges of gaining insight from patients in markets where the cultural norms may not encourage honest dialogue with a stranger around health as it is considered too personal, and you will soon gain an understanding of the need to follow some simple rules around developing robust strategies in emerging markets:

• Collaborate with your local in-country experts
• Prioritise your objectives
• Be realistic about what you can reasonably achieve through primary research
• Be flexible in your approach.

And, most importantly, drive for real insight and a true understanding of your market by adopting an open and innovative mindset - assume nothing.

For more information visit www.dhelix.com or follow @dhelixgroup on Twitter

Article by
Hilary Farrington

Global Head, Stakeholder Insights, Double Helix Consulting

27th April 2015

From: Sales

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