Situation:

A highly-successful branded drug that was near patent expiry was proactively taken OTC. A new branded product was developed with the same indications. The launch and OTC transition happened almost simultaneously. The new therapy had improved efficacy and same dosing interval. The challenge was to differentiate the new branded therapy from the OTC product.

The first marketing campaign struggled to make the distinct differences for the customers. The efficacy message was not resonating and the healthcare providers did not see the additional benefits for their patients. Managed care access was also a challenge and required additional steps by the health care providers to get an approval for their patients. Pushback from the health care providers and slow uptake demotivated the sales force.

This lead to the lost of confidence in the promotional messages and declined impact in front of the customers. The branded product extensions that did show growth were also the least profitable. These factors attributed to a below expectations launch. In response to a flat-to-declining performance, a re-launch effort with a new marketing strategy to re-brand the product and re-energize the sales force was initiated. A more relevant message and new look for better brand differentiation was put into motion to reverse the performance trend.

Process:

Strategies were employed to drive profitability, increase performance, and re-energize the field sales team:

  • Re-conducted market research for a more relevant core message and new packaging
  • Built new brand strategy on an efficacy data point that was unique to the new therapy and resonated with customers
  • Re-launched new color packaging to increase differentiation from OTC product
  • Re-evaluated customer target lists and private payer accounts to increase profitability
  • Narrowed current target lists to loyalists only to increase uptake and maximize limited resources
  • Shifted focus to commercial managed care plans and less on federal programs for increased access and profitability
  • Re-motivate sales teams
  • Align incentive plan to new targeting strategy to sharpen execution
  • New marketing promotional items released monthly to reinforce messaging

Outcome:

The new marketing direction reignited the field sales teams. The branded drug sales performance improved and delivered positive growth. Execution improved with key messages in the targeted audience. The teams leveraged market access with the appropriate managed care plans to further accelerate performance. Resources were strategically utilized and increased overall profitability. The company benefited by positioning the customer facing teams for success and remaining customer focused.