Speak Out

Contributed by:

Rob Peters, EVP, Strategy, MicroMass

NOTE: The content below contains the first few paragraphs of the printed article and the titles of the sidebars and boxes, if applicable.

Prepare the market to be disrupted.
Better yet, disrupt the market to prepare.

Most marketers dream of having a product that is so innovative that it creates a huge disruption when it enters the market. Combine that with an edgy creative campaign, compelling data, and a big marketing budget, and it’s bound to be a blockbuster, right? This is the goal of pharma, but waiting until launch to disrupt the market could mean missing out on an even bigger impact.

The time for disruption is when your audience is stuck in a pattern of habitual thinking based on the status quo. A disruption at this time, aimed strategically at the way HCPs think and make decisions, could ultimately set up your brand for accelerated success.

Go Beyond the Traditional Approach
The traditional goal for prelaunch market shaping is to raise awareness of unmet needs and novel therapeutic approaches. This outdated focus attempts to build knowledge of disease information and clinical data. Brands hope HCPs will realize the drug’s potential and impatiently wait for a solution to enter the market. However, this approach often falls short of the potential to change provider behavior. The approach lacks the capacity to advance both motivation and skills—aspects that are more likely to actually change behavior and impact brand outcomes.

The reason that approaches should go beyond basic education is because education alone cannot overcome some of the common HCP barriers to receptivity. HCPs learn and make decisions by processing information through a series of “filters” or “lenses” that comprise both cognitive and behavioral factors. A market-shaping approach that uses primarily information of unmet needs and early clinical data may have limited capacity to get through these filters and spark a change in behavior. However, even before a drug is available, pharma can utilize evidence-based behavioral strategies that are designed to enhance knowledge, augment skills, and drive motivation. These strategies elevate pharma to a position to address the cognitive and behavioral factors present in these HCP “filters”. This specialized approach is more likely to result in improved skills and a new ability for providers to address whole patient needs. Ultimately, it will enhance patient outcomes with a new treatment.

Change Your Course. Change Provider Behavior.
If you are able to disrupt HCP thinking ahead of the launch, your brand can create receptivity to change provider behavior. Adopting a new strategy can be challenging, and often the approach is to dabble with new tactics to gauge the reaction. However, in order to get the best result, the behavior change experience needs to continue over time, ideally through a structured, repetitive learning experience. We all know that changing behavior isn’t easy, so shifts in the way HCPs practice on a day-to-day basis aren’t likely to occur as the result of a 1-hour symposium. Meaningful behavior change that leads to product receptivity is best achieved through a focused and systematic process that triggers motivation, then uses that motivation to keep HCPs engaged while they learn and apply new knowledge and skills. Disruption is just the first step in the process, and essentially opens the door to additional engagement with the brand. With this approach in mind, pharma has an opportunity to create interactive, pre-launch experiences that provide an ability to experiment with this new behavior and the tools to facilitate the change.

HCPs exposed to these market-shaping activities not only gain a better understanding of a new product that can benefit their patients, but they also hone valuable skills that can improve patient care and ultimately achieve better results with pharma brands.

5 considerations to disrupt the market


  1. HCPs are human too. Their beliefs, feelings, and emotions guide the way they interpret and perceive information. Leveraging these insights leads to a more productive market shaping effort.
  2. Behavior change takes time. Isolated exposure to independent learning experiences or campaigns that only focus on information will be limited in the capacity to change HCP behavior.
  3. Preparing the market is too broad. A successful endeavor should focus on specific needs around knowledge, motivation, and skills. These prepare HCPs to successfully adopt new products.
  4. HCPs must learn too. Education is about more than just introducing HCPs to new information. One of the most important factors that drive motivation is the self-awareness of how HCPs currently think and act.
  5. Disrupt the market, but at the right time. Disruption ahead of launch provides a pathway to facilitate adoption and is more likely to lead to positive results.
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