If you’re part of the pharmaceutical or life science industries, you’ve probably already felt the effects of an industry that is slowing down. Recent articles suggest current medicines are reaching saturation levels. Additionally, there exists a need for the industry to invest in better drug development and to better understand the needs of their customers.
In order to boost growth and increase sales, organizations have a tall order. They must identify the potential success rates for new drugs as well as determine what factors affect pharma sales, for both good and bad.
To glean these insights, the market research strategy of pharmaceutical companies must target the right audience. Otherwise, products could fail, and customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty may diminish.
As organizations consider strategic market research initiatives, this article will come in handy. This post will cover key trends in pharma market research, what it takes to succeed, and why market research is integral to customer loyalty.
Key trends in market research and potential difficulties for pharma
Before even breaching the topic of developing a better market research strategy, it’s vital to know what the current market trends are.
Recent market research trends for 2018 include:
- A greater mix of market research companies partnering with innovative technologies to conduct research
- Predictions of industry shifts coming from partnerships between various companies to help everyone do their jobs better
- Innovation and automation technology from entrepreneurs to speed up the market research process
While these seem to be the big market research trends affecting the pharma industry in 2018, Costa explains, there are some difficulties for life sciences market research including:
- Bringing the innovation of smaller companies into the mainstream culture as opposed to only looking to larger companies for insights
- Getting sampling right, as it seems to be getting worse
- Getting business experts and market researchers to collaborate with life-science experts
What it takes to succeed with pharma market research
As discussed above, pharmaceutical market research is not particularly easy and the industry faces several challenges in the coming years. However, it’s also not impossible to succeed. It just takes smart marketing research planning, the use of the right tools, and implementing and understanding trends and life science challenges into your market research strategy. Here are some top things to consider:
Foster collaboration. Increase collaboration efforts between business, healthcare professionals, research consultants and life-science technologies
Focus on sampling. Invest in better sampling to make sure your data is representative of your target population. Pharma customers today include various types of consumer types, including, but not limited to doctors, pharmacists, hospitals, patients, caregivers and more. Sampling should include all customers to make sure drug development and other pharma products are on point.
Broaden your horizons. It may be easy for organizations and researchers to look to large companies for data, but consider bringing in data from small life science organizations as well. The more data you can gather with the use of surveys and other data collection tools, the more accurate your business decisions will be.
Don’t limit data collection methods. Surveys are a great place to start when it comes to gathering data, but if customer satisfaction and retention are your end goals, it’s important to branch out. Consider using a market research technology that provides access to surveys, online communities, panels, and more.
Monitor customer feedback at every touchpoint. It’s tempting to collect initial data and call it good. However, if there is anything we’ve learned from the pharma industry, it’s that it’s complicated. This means you need to keep track of customer feedback from the inception of your project to completion. The more insight you can gather, the easier it will be to tailor your drug, product, or technology to your target audience.
Consider compliance and regulatory requirements. As you know, when dealing with patients, there are several rules regarding privacy, adverse events (AE), and changes regarding the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As such, no matter what data you collect, you must remain in compliance with all regulations. A smart solution is to use a technology with these considerations already built into their research features. You may also consider building in compliance into a Voice of the Customer (VoC) program.
Gather input about data from various sources. Not only is it important to collaborate with consultants and various business leaders in relevant industries when it comes to collecting data, but it’s important to get their input once the data is collected as well. Different perspectives, educational, and professional backgrounds provide insight into data analysis that may be helpful when moving forward with pharmaceutical development.
When you take each of these factors into consideration, you’ll find yourself on a path to market research success.
Why is market research important in the pharma industry?
The last question to address is probably the most important: why go to all the trouble in the first place? The reason is that no matter how good you think your product is, if it doesn’t solve a customer pain point or isn’t implemented in a way that will actually help your target audience, it will fail.
Market research provides insight into what your target market needs and how to enhance the overall healthcare market experience. You can then use that information to guide the development of your product and other research projects. In other words, market research helps ensure you’re investing your millions into something that is needed and that will be well received.
The pharma industry is slowing down, which means market research is more important now than ever. As you are familiar with market research trends and challenges, it will arm you with the information to choose the right data collection and analysis tool and create a winning global market research plan.