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  • Anna Beth Lindenmeyer

Have you done your research?

How the right market research approach can impact pharmaceutical project success

Questions lead to ideas that can optimize pharmaceutical projects
How the right market research approach can impact pharmaceutical project success

Have you done your research? How the right market research approach can impact pharmaceutical project success

Day in and day out, we work with existing, emerging, and new to market brands seeking to provide innovative distribution and patient support services. The pharma and biotech industry is ever-evolving, and innovation is rewarded in both the court of public opinion and brand loyalty.

But innovation can go in many different directions, and that can leave internal teams debating on how to design and deliver the best patient and HCP experience. That's when we like to ask clients one of the most important questions of any project:

Have you done your research?

It's nearly impossible to say with 100% confidence that your project will meaningfully meet the needs and wants of your customers if you haven't asked them what they actually need and want.

Conducting market research can feel like an overwhelming task to some teams. That's where the right consulting partner can help. At Archbow, we believe that focusing on two essential elements of market research when initiating a project can greatly impact success:


As each market research project reaches the initiation phase, the first step towards success is a solid investment in the recruitment process. A commitment to the time and effort it takes to recruit appropriately is needed; this indirectly is an investment into the quality of the research itself. Important factors to keep in mind during the recruitment phase include:

  • Diversity and objectiveness: ensuring you are not just interviewing who and what you already know. Your research participants ought to be your objective source of truth.

  • It's possible that people who are already in your network think enough like you that they won't add meaningful insights to your project.

  • Sometimes it makes sense to survey your existing customers, but more often than not, it makes sense to survey individuals that aren't your customers today to better understand why.

  • Diversity in market research may account for geography, gender, race, educational and professional backgrounds, and places of employment, at a minimum.

  • Outsourcing recruitment may make the best sense. It's typically faster and more affordable to engage a recruitment partner to identify and schedule participants for you. And working with a partner is a great way to avoid unintentional bias and promote diversity in the selection of participants.

Ask the Right Questions

Research is all about asking the right questions of the right people. After establishing a solid recruitment foundation, we advise our clients to design their research program with the end in mind. Meaning, if you work through the lens of "what do we really want to know," then you can figure out how to ask the right questions in the right ways.

Example questions our customers have recently asked during market research, based on what they wanted to learn, include:

To learn: How to better position a new brand launch against the competition

Manufacturers asked:

  • For existing programs, what services and brands are considered the "Gold Standard?"

  • What are the services being offered by competitors, how are these services being provided, and who are the providers?

  • What about these services helps HCPs, and how does this support the patient and their treatment journey?

  • What are preferences for how a product is accessed by the patient and HCP? What is the perceived experience? Is there opportunity for improvement?

To learn: How to best address concerns regarding pre-requisite and ongoing diagnostic requirements

Manufacturers asked:

  • Does a service offering exist in the marketplace today that meets the needs and expectations of HCPs?

  • For adjunct therapies and diagnostics, what are the barriers to treatment, and how can the manufacturer help to mitigate?

  • Do solutions work well today?

  • Do the HCPs actually want this intervention?

To learn: If a patient support services program design for a new product will meet the needs of HCP and patient customers

Manufacturers asked:

  • How does the anticipated prescriber audience respond to the proposed program strategy?

  • Were the anticipated needs met? If not, how can this be mitigated with the business partners?

  • What are the specific needs of the end-users (patients and HCPs)? How do they prefer to communicate? And with what type of resource (nurse, case manager, pharmacy technician, etc.?)

To learn: How recently "re-launched" patient support services are recognized and perceived by end-users

Manufacturers asked:

  • Did market stakeholders notice that these changes were made, and have they improved the user experience?

  • How does this impact prescribing behavior?

  • What feedback are HCPs hearing from their patients?

  • How are other re-launched brands educating their end-users? Are online resources, webinars, or online clinical training resources available to patients and HCPs?

To learn: What customers/stakeholders really think of a product's distribution approach

Manufacturers asked:

  • What is working well, and what could be improved?

  • This question can be presented to stakeholders from a market assessment perspective or be brand-specific, with the intent of identifying needed improvements, assessing the impact of new improvements, or both.

  • Are there any barriers to patient access that can be remedied through better distribution network design?

Once you have the right questions, the best way to ask the questions will become clearer. Maybe it's an advisory board or focus group, or maybe an online survey or 1:1 phone interviews are best. Research methodology should account for the nature of your questions in tandem with participant sensitivities and preferences to ensure the best engagement and output.

If you need to "do your research" to drive success for your next project, Archbow can help. Because our team helps pharma and biotech companies design, build, and optimize product distribution and patient access strategies, we understand which questions really need to be answered and how to get them answered. Contact us today to get started.


Archbow Consulting helps pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the USA and Europe design, build, and optimize product distribution and patient access strategies. Archbow was founded by industry veterans to meet a need in the marketplace for consulting options that offer diverse real-world experience, are able to leverage deep connections across the industry, and can also provide actionable strategic guidance. We invite you to learn more about our team, services, and clients’ success, and connect with us via email, LinkedIn, Twitter or subscribing to this blog which you can do below.

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