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Healthcare Portfolio Strategy: 3 Keys to Improving Brand Marketing and Media Effectiveness

Savvy pharma marketers craft digital strategies and preside over media plans well-suited to achieving a single brand’s goals. When it comes to a manufacturer’s broader portfolio across a therapeutic area, however, many brands have significant untapped potential for greater impact. By harmonizing individual brand needs with the larger goals of a portfolio, marketers can create a more efficient, effective, and cohesive presence and, perhaps counter-intuitively, actually gain flexibility and nimbleness. In some cases, brands may want to expand on what they are putting out there and go towards things such as apparel like custom sweaters, custom stationery/accessories, etc. the possibilities of this avenue are endless for businesses. Here are three proven principals that guide evolved pharma portfolio management and planning philosophy:

Category Planning Yields Deeper Audience Insights

Viewed at the category level rather than through the lens of a single product, landscape analyses provide context for each brand’s in-the-trenches dynamics that helps stimulate out-of-the-box thinking. A more complete picture of the types of patients seen by professional targets sharpens understanding of where a brand’s story ranks in terms of their daily priorities. Further, the value of unbranded market conditioning and disease education efforts can only benefit by addressing a broader palette of informational content and messaging whereby subplots can be woven in support of related indications.

For tactical planning, communications calendars can be synchronized (awareness months, conferences, patient outreach events), and market drivers such as launches and expirations can be addressed in a more coordinated and effective fashion. These often reverberate beyond a particular indication as sales teams being built and/or dismantled change the accessibility and share of attention available among key professional targets. Also, hiring out or incorporating the services of firms (Syte Consulting Group) that specialize to provide ERP systems to such business owners could be a prudent option. In addition to tracking the requisition and purchase of goods, they can also ensure that the entire procure-to-pay process is uniform and integrated with the enterprise workflow.

Group Media Buys are More Efficient, Strategic and Flexible

When paid media is assessed holistically across a portfolio, buying efficiencies can be leveraged even when different brands in a therapeutic area have a range of indications and/or disparate objectives. Verified audience-based media buys delivering 100% share of voice (or highest percentage allowed by manufacturer’s brand safety guidelines) and granular targeting options can come with a hefty price tag, but when contracting across a portfolio, savings can be achieved through scale of commitment. Further, understanding which part of the buy is best for which brands helps maximize utilization of available inventory and to ensure each is complementing, not competing with, its internal peers.

For example, a high-impact conference package featuring an entry page display roadblock or interstitial unit may be an ideal vehicle for a launch drug or a newly approved indication. Conversely, recurrent exposure in an email blast would help keep a market leader top of mind. When the same publisher or platform offers inventory in both of these channels, buying leverage grows when a manufacturer can consolidate its commitment across brands. Additionally, having the inventory owned by a single manufacturer neutralizes the competitive threat, allowing space for adjustments in creative rotation based on performance and shifting market and brand goals – for a portfolio, this creates a huge advantage, as it also creates the potential to reallocate investment between brands within owned publisher inventory.

A Strong Corporate Voice Heightens Brand Consideration

A manufacturer’s overarching commitment to progress in fighting a disease or supporting an entire patient population elevates its purpose and establishes a valuable halo for its constituent brands. When messaging is applied to the same core channels tapped for brand marketing, such efforts help create an ecosystem that resonates across brand, portfolio and parent enterprise. Content hubs, peer-to-peer communities, sequential list-targeted campaigns and custom resource centers are all well-suited to house both branded and unbranded experiences. A corporate story addressing a therapeutic category can be fast and efficient to bring to market, operating outside of the many MLR constraints associated with branded campaigns while addressing wider goals – such as leadership in a category, commitment to advancements in disease state research and anniversaries of milestone achievements – that raise all boats.

Portfolio planning takes forethought and can be a balancing act, but taking the time to define a strategic foundation can be very much worth the effort. The cost benefit equation is more favorable than it has ever been, as digital tools now offer unprecedented visibility to how audiences move across owned, earned and paid assets, enabling the power of one-to-one marketing principals to extend across an entire digital ecosystem.

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