pharmaceutical market research best practices


In this environment of fewer blockbuster drugs and the blockbuster drugs in the market going generic, helping pharma companies understand their customers and reveal industry trends can be critical to the success of the company. Pharmaceutical market research best practices become even more important in a changing marketplace.

Identify Consumer Need

Be aware that your customers include patients and physicians but also hospitals, pharmacies and care givers. Be sure to gather feedback from all of your customers. Pharmaceutical market research best practices should include physician satisfaction surveys following education seminars, hospital product satisfaction surveys, and patient/care giver satisfaction surveys after contact with the patient assistant department.

Gather Feedback at Multiple Touch Points

With the support of senior management feedback should become an integral part of business operations and even part of senior management key performance objectives. Capture customer sentiment, use pop-up and passive surveys as well as email and interactive voice recognition.

Do Competitive Analysis

SWOT analysis and sales force assessments along with focus groups and interviews can show untapped innovations by using other’s successes as a benchmark. Natural language processing can comb-through many more research reports and articles quicker than any human or even group of humans and report on surprising relationships and changes in the marketplace.

Address Compliance and Regulatory Concerns

Leverage a strategic voice of the customer (VoC) program to support compliance and regulatory requirements including patient privacy and adverse events. Be prepared to address imminent changes like the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) that was implemented a year or so ago and the uncertainty of what Brexit is going to do to the industry. A good VoC program can reduce risk and streamline compliance and is a pharmaceutical market research best practices.

Don’t Forget Internal Communication

Dashboards can streamline communication across departments and regions. Holly Carter, Director at Confirmit, says “Employees at the front line often have first hand knowledge about where efficiency gains could be made or where there may be opportunities. Be sure to add their voices into the feedback mix.” Do a VoE (voice of the employee) program alongside broader market research and VoC programs.

Address the Market

Emerging markets present opportunities for growth. Many countries are experiencing double digit growth in their public and private health care systems as appetites for Western lifestyles and products continues to increase. Because budgets don’t allow for every market to be studied, choosing which market to pursue is critical to having significant impact. Country archetypes are being used to save money yet extrapolate findings across multiple similar countries. Interestingly, the size of the middle class within a market is closely linked to potential pharma market size and opportunity. Receptivity to various methodologies and cultural differences must be considered is definitely a pharmaceutical market research best practices.

Interested in discussing your market research career with a market research recruiting specialist? Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Market Research Practice Lead, Lindsey Bartlett at [email protected].

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