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Therapeutic Franchising – Is the Real Value Being Ignored?

Marketers have always walked a fine line between expansion and cannibalization when they are dealing with franchising (and sub franchising). Within a franchise, the challenge is to present complementary offerings that increase the value of the aggregate through synergy, and do not reduce it by confusing the prospect. In today’s pharmaceutical marketplace we often see multiple brands from one company targeting the same prescribers and/or consumers with marginally different value propositions. Without appropriate targeting, this results in waste and redundancy, and can certainly lead to frustration among the target audience.

A franchise is best described as a form of business organization in which some element (product, service, delivery model, clientele) has been tested and evaluated, thereby reducing the risk associated with subsequent market entries. Some of the key opportunities that this model presents include:

  • Category leadership
  • Brand equity
  • Reputation
  • Budget efficiency
  • Client insight
  • Consumer data including contact information, purchase/use history, trending
  • Access to systems, processes, strategy and technology

Looking across the spectrum of pharma, we are seeing mergers, takeovers, acquisitions, and divestments designed to enhance position/market strength in given therapeutic areas. Companies are getting out of businesses that aren’t compatible with their vision, or more importantly, aren’t compatible with their core strengths and target markets. They are looking to build synergy, not only between their sales forces and target audiences, but in the lab, with consumers, and in the marketplace.

While many of the strengths of the therapeutic franchise approach are intuitive, the real value in building a business model focused on a disease state is often overlooked. One of the critical considerations in consumer and health professional marketing is leveraging what you know to optimize your marketing investment. Think about your ability to track prescribing activity among physicians as their prescribing in diabetes or respiratory disease evolves. What about the oncologist whose therapeutic combinations range across a myriad of options and evolve with the disease and their patients? As an organization, having access to a more in-depth perspective on HCP prescribing is real value that should not be ignored.

By gaining a clearer 360° view of an HCP’s practice, patient type, and migration through a disease state, you’ll establish the opportunity to communicate with them and their patients more effectively. This ensures that each touch and message resonates, while providing actionable insight into that HCP's prescribing habits within a given therapeutic area. Furthermore, adjusting your messaging’s brand value propositions to be more relevant to a given practice will reinforce with the HCP that you really understand their needs and the nature of their patients' needs. Utilizing technology to glean deeper insight into patients, HCPs, and individuals' activity within a given disease state will reduce cost, increase message strength, and lead to a new level of pharmaceutical partnership with physicians.

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