Power Capital Consulting
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Pharma Market Research
Brief Marketplace Overview

1Q, 2008

Companies within the pharmaceutical, biotech and heath care-related Market Research Industry face stiffened competition as a result of industry commoditization, the expansion of internet-based Market Research, globalization, and increasing regulation.

Commoditization of the Market Research Industry has created an intensified competitive environment with increasing pricing pressure.  The quest for innovation has become infinitely more important during the past few years, with competitors adding new service offerings, as well as tailoring their existing capabilities in order to better suit each client’s needs.  Concept testing, image research, customer loyalty, competitive simulations, market mapping, and global therapy monitoring across multiple therapeutic areas exemplify competitor portfolio offerings.

Telephone and face-to-face interviewing as a primary approach has proportionally declined in recent years in favor of online interaction.  Accurate, cost effective, and time efficient strategies such as video conferencing and a proprietary bulletin board services offered by National Analysts, patient and physician panel’s offered by Ziment, and Mattson Jack’s physician influence identification and mapping in determining important KOL input, attempt to distinguish the various competitors, although each service array is offered by others in varying formats.  Sequelae of increasing online utilization include the need for more innovative services, further commoditization, and government regulation.  Newer frontiers such as web 2.0, alternative developing internet environments, and the increasing usage of ethnography will play increasingly important roles in the metamorphosis of the Industry.

Social networking defines a recently emerging element, resulting from enhanced consumer market literacy and product awareness.  This new dimension in online Market Research facilitates direct consumer-to-consumer and physician colleague discussion observation and analysis in evaluating product perceptions, popularity, and brand image.  Physician prescribing patterns, KOL input, and promotional strategies are discussed, providing insight for Pharmaceutical manufacturers willing to invest in an audience seat.  Significant insight from social networking has added yet another dimension to analytics and the complexities of Industry competition. 

Sales force training, management methodologies, and customer targeting practices coupled with sufficient coverage to be effectively competitive in the marketplace are among the many issues at hand in the Sales force realm.  Managed Care contract sales team members will utilize different techniques and strategies as compared to those representatives calling on Primary Care physicians.  Frequency and cross-coverage modulation in maximizing visibility and minimizing duplication and physician oversell, as one example, have become part of every big Pharma sales force strategy, consistent with sales and marketing overhead reduction programs, during the past 3 – 4 years. 

Increasing globalization necessitates incorporation of anthropological approaches in accounting for cultural diversity, management and consistency maintenance of geographically broad data-gathering, in addition to compliance with regional governmental regulations.  U.S. regulatory trends toward increasing privacy protection have resulted in physician and consumer advocate support of prescription pattern data access limitation, anti-data mining legislation, and a variety of DTC advertising restrictions.  While merely a hindrance currently, data gathering continues to require greater ingenuity and resource allocation.
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