74% of Life Sciences executives surveyed see portfolio transformation as the most prominent boardroom issue. This move to a more strategic approach of acquiring and managing brands within a portfolio is best supported by a data-driven assessment and scenario planning. https://www.ey.com/gl/en/industries/life-sciences/ey-capital-confidence-barometer/?WT.mc_id=11069785
Managing brands in a coordinated way helps a company to avoid confusing its consumers, investing in overlapping product-development and marketing efforts, and multiplying its brands at its own rather than its competitors' expense. [McKinsey, 2014].
However, marketing and sales are not always incentivised, structured or resourced to effectively optimise a portfolio approach. They may find themselves competing for rep detailing time, budget and investment in future additions to the portfolio.
The growing number of new brands and line extensions can affect the entire life cycle of each product, as well as affecting sales and channel management effectiveness. There are often more brands than the salesforce can really focus on in their limited face to face calls. In addition, marketing and promotional efforts are diluted, as marketers divide their time coordinating brand campaigns and activities across multiple agencies and vendors. The end result is often internal competition for resources and even sales, and confusion of our customers.
A clear portfolio strategy and positioning provide the needed guidance and prioritisation to ensure marketers build value in the portfolio proposition. Key brands within the portfolio are linked so that there is cross-promotion that makes sense to the customers. Combining this portfolio approach with an integrated channel strategy will enable portfolio promotion throughout various touchpoints and optimisation of high-cost resources
Position the portfolio as a whole first
"Creating effective brand portfolio strategies is one of the most difficult and critical challenges facing today's executives. Too often, the family of brands generates customer confusion, inefficiencies, mixed opportunities, and misallocation of resources rather than supporting each other and the brand's underlying strategy." So says marketing guru David Aaker.[ EyeforPharma, 2016]
There is a clear need in pharmaceutical companies for a co-positioning strategy. Position the portfolio as a whole first. Ensure that everyone from the brand manager to the sales representative gets their story straight.
If portfolio brands are positioned in a silo, it creates unnecessary competition between the brands, and ultimately, creates confusion for prescribers and payers. Take a step back and segment your market as a whole. clearly defining which overlapping areas belong to which of your brands, you will reduce the possibility of intra-competition further down the line. [Pharmexec.com, 2015]
Start with the Customers
First, clarify the needs that each brand can satisfy individually and as a part of a larger family of products, and then assess both the economic attractiveness of meeting these needs and the fit with the positioning of existing brands and portfolios.
To avoid positioning mistakes, marketers must understand each brand's unique contribution to the portfolio. Mapping the current brands against the universe of the relevant need states is a helpful starting point. [McKinsey, 2014]
Portfolio optimisation requires careful assessment and scenario planning to make clear decisions on current and future investments and allocation of resources across brands. Pharma executives may seek this expertise from outside providers if their knowledge, skills and tools are not fully developed.
Actando has a variety of solutions to assist in optimising your portfolio.
Click here to read more about Strategic Portfolio Analysis and how Actando can help.
Article Contributor: Melanie Brown, Managing Partner
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