Pharma brand benchmarking is the practice of determining how your product, brand or organization measures up to its competitors.
This broad definition leaves plenty of room to choose specifics — and to get different results based on the specifics chosen. Do you compare your organization’s performance on specific brands or brand baskets, or do you take a marketwide approach?
Here, we break down the costs, benefits and competitive insights of marketwide versus pharma brand benchmarking.
Markets vs. Brands: Where to Set Benchmarks
Both marketwide and brand-specific benchmarking are forms of “competitive benchmarking,” which measure your company’s work against other companies in the same space. In this way, marketwide or brand benchmarking differ from internal benchmarking, which measures your company’s internal successes, and from functional benchmarking, which seeks inspiration from how others approach similar issues, writes Claudia Roca at ThePower Business School.
Yet there are potentially endless points at which one might compare the work of two competing pharmaceutical companies or specialty pharmacies. Where to start — and which forms of comparison are most effective?
Marketwide benchmarking and pharma brand benchmarking provide two differing perspectives:
- In marketwide benchmarking, a company compares its performance against other companies as a whole. This information is often useful to those outside the company, such as interested investors, yet doesn’t provide enough granular insight for better day-to-day decision-making.
- In pharma brand benchmarking, a pharmaceutical company compares its individual brands or brand baskets with the most direct competitors. This information allows companies to allocate resources toward their most promising or profitable channels, yet can confuse or overwhelm outsiders who may not know how to evaluate this data together.
Both types of benchmarking have their place. They speak to different audiences and fulfill different purposes. For a company seeking to get a leg up on competitors, however, brand benchmarking provides opportunities that “big picture” marketwide benchmarking does not.
Choosing the Right Tools for Better Benchmarking, Competitive Insights and Commercial Forecasting
As our recent white paper demonstrates, having access to granular data about competing brands and brand baskets allows a life sciences organization to generate keener insights about its performance versus its competitors.
To improve brand-specific benchmarking, Kiran Shahid at SproutSocial recommends that companies start with these basic steps:
- Choose which competing brands you’ll analyze. Ideally, competing brands will exist on a similar footing to yours: They’ll target the same conditions, be the same or similar product types and apply to the same patient pool.
- Get quantitative. Metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) allow you to turn qualitative information into quantitative data you can organize and analyze. For instance, tracking time to paid fill across brand baskets can help you determine if you’re providing better than average support to patients seeking treatment.
- …But don’t skip the qualitative. Qualitative data, like patient satisfaction surveys, provides valuable insights on how to better engage with patients, pharmacies and other participants throughout the patient journey. Developing high-quality engagement can provide a competitive edge that other companies may find difficult to analyze or match — giving you a longstanding advantage.
What does this look like for pharmaceutical brand benchmarking?
Franck Radenne, a consultant in biopharma and medtech strategic marketing, suggests that effective brand comparisons can be made on any number of bases, including:
- Competitive context. Was the brand first to market? Is it the only treatment of its kind available? Does it represent the next generation of an already-launched product? Is it competing within an established class — and if so, what differentiates it within the class?
- Patient journey. Where in the patient journey does the treatment fall? Does patient treatment require communication with primary care providers, specialists, infusion centers, hospitals or other parties?
- Brand specifics. What narratives are used to communicate the existence and function of the brand? What values are expressed in these narratives?
- Differentiators. Is the brand more efficacious, safer, convenient or cost-effective? Does it offer better quality of life or is it backed by outstanding patient service?
By drilling down into the unique features of a brand, better comparisons can be drawn between one brand and its competitors.
Reaching these insights requires access to data. The more specific the insights, the more granular the data required to produce them. Deep data sets also provide more reliable outcomes, as more data points are included in any given comparison. By choosing tools that offer deep data access, life sciences companies can improve their understanding of brand competition. This allows them to set more effective pharma brand benchmarking, commercial forecasting and competitive insights.
Images used under license by Shutterstock.com.