Marketing a pharmaceutical product or medical device to a healthcare professional audience has changed radically, even for established brands. But for some healthcare brands with something to prove, obstacles to overcome, perceptions to change—the challenges are even bigger—like finding ways to compete in a dynamic, evolving landscape. Some brands have a unique mechanism of action or a breakthrough clinical profile that allows the product to succeed on clinical merit alone. Healthcare challenger brands often do not have that clinical advantage, or first-in-class leverage, or the ability to outspend. But even market leaders can be thrust into the challenger brand role too, with new competition or market forces to overcome. Yet many brands with these kinds of modern challenges still cling to replicating traditional marketing analogs that simply don’t apply to them.
“There is a set of advantages that have to do with material resources, and there is a set that have to do with the absence of material resources—and the reason underdogs win as often as they do is that the latter is sometimes every bit the equal of the former.”
— Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath:Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
The process of doing something that hasn’t been done before can be unnerving. But for a challenger brand to survive in “the jungle,” marketers must adopt a new set of rules. Examine where market competition is vulnerable. See their brand’s constraints as potential advantages. Forgo reliance on trite, predictable brand marketing approaches. Challenger brands need to avoid sameness at all costs.
“In the event you aren’t able to monopolize via a disruptive business model, disruption in the branding sense becomes essential. If your business model isn’t capital D disruptive, your marketing had better be. This is especially true for those whose ambitions exceed their available resources, i.e., the challenger brand.”
— Mark Barden, challenger brand expert, author of Eating the Big Fish
You can read the rest of Frank’s article and see the e-book Engaging HCPs here