The oncology market landscape has been transforming rapidly for many years, in many ways—and the pace is only quickening.

According to an IMS Institute report, by the end of 2018 there were more than 600 late-stage products in the clinic, causing an already competitive landscape to become daunting and overcrowded. From big pharma to small biotech start-ups, marketing teams are scrambling to be on the cutting edge of education and promotional communications technology.

While novel, edgy tactics may seem like the best way to cut through the clutter, it is important to keep traditional marketing fundamentals—such as differentiating your product and solidifying your value story—at the core of the brand planning process.

There are a few pitfalls that the pressures of today’s oncology market can lead to:

  • Creating tactics that are novel and edgy but don’t drive strategy is a peril that must be avoided. There’s a place for traditional block-and-tackling as well as new and flashy tactics. The key is finding the balance and ensuring core strategic imperatives are not compromised while integrating them with the latest “eye candy”
  • Trying to own too many patients at once can lead to scattered messages that confuse your customers. A laser-focused approach will allow for clear and precise communications that gain a foothold in the appropriate customer base. To use another therapeutic area as an example: it’s easier to own 80% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis affecting the hands than it is to own 20% of all rheumatoid arthritis patients
  • Many times, marketing teams start with goals as their strategic imperatives. While “become the SOC in HER2+ mBC” is a motivating and valid goal, the focus of the planning process should be on strategic methods by which to obtain that goal. This approach will get to the meat of what customers need
  • Focusing on behavioral factors alone can cause you to miss key moments in your customer acquisition process. Separate data into Clinical, Attitudinal, and Behavioral categories to best analyze the critical elements to your story and clear the hurdles of each customer target

As the oncology marketplace continues to rapidly evolve, it’s important to be grounded in strategy and move toward more focused, and applicable brand planning. While planning for a brand’s future, many potential pitfalls can be avoided if marketing 101 is kept in mind. Setting up check-points can help guide the process to minimize problems.

Things to consider:

  • Spend some time disaster-planning. Sometimes looking at a worst-case scenario can spark new strategic thinking or provide insight on additional planning that is needed
  • Rather than patient mapping to determine what customer base you want to own, consider dividing up intended ownership among key competitors to see where they may be focusing efforts and redefine your target audience accordingly
  • Here’s a good test: Open your marketing plan, remove all mentions of your brand (including logos and colors), then ask—will your plan differentiate your brand, or can a competitor’s logo be dropped in the empty background slides and make strategic sense?
  • When planning tactics, always return to the core strategic focus. If a tactic can’t be supported by a key strategy, it may be best left for another time

In an ever-evolving marketplace sometimes “Old” is the new “New.” Sticking to the fundamentals of strategic planning will go a long way in an age where the oncology market can change from month to month, and companies are trying harder than ever to make noise. If the frequency is correct, the loudness of the room shouldn’t hinder successfully reaching and fulfilling the customer’s needs.

Click here to learn how Beacon can partner with you for your strategic planning and execution needs.

More news