"Digital First” Launch of a New Indication for a Biologic Therapy

Written by
Mads Krogh Petersen
"Digital First” Launch of a New Indication for a Biologic Therapy

A biologic therapy often expands indications throughout its product life cycle. Hence, the Medical, Communication and Marketing teams are challenged to carry out what resembles “mini product launches” with only few resources, a short time frame, often targeting a new HCP group and patient population and with limited experience in the therapeutic area within the organization. This also resembles the context and conditions of many rare disease product launches.

Add to this, a limited Sales Force on the ground and sketchy traction at congresses (or literally none, as at the current point in time). At the same time, HCPs predilection for digital is rising, notably accelerated by the new habits cemented by necessity through the global health crisis. For example, Mckinsey recently reported that only roughly 1/3 of physicians are willing to accept rep visits.

For the above reasons, it is essential for Biotech brands to understand how to comprehensively position digital as the center piece in the launch of new indication.

Connecting Inside-out & Outside-in  

On the one hand, HCPs are unique individuals. And this should be considered when putting to together the launch strategy.  

HCPs have:  

• Varying amounts of available time

• Preferences for different channels

• Preferences for different formats of content

• Different Attitudes towards their role / diseases

On the other hand, the Biotech brand needs to uphold several critical success factors to be successful in influencing the HCPs’ perceptions, opinions and knowledge as regards the new indication:

• Need to maximize frequency and reach of messages

• Need to maximize valuable content and minimize production cost

• Need to move from a sales rep model to a digital model

• Need to communicate in both branded & unbranded environments

• Need to know what content is most effective – need to maximize value in marketing spend

So how do we connect the outside-in and the inside-out?

8 principles for a Digital First launch of new indication

There are 8 principles which should followed to ensure a successful Digital First introduction of a new indication.

1. Unbranded to branded flow

In the pre-launch of the new indication, there is often a need to position the company within the therapeutic area and the related Point-Of-View on the existing treatment paradigms. Accordingly, your company needs to decide what messages can you own that:

  • Flows seamlessly into your specific product attributes / benefits
  • Are interesting to the HCPs
  • Won’t market-make for your competition

Subsequently, define what ways can you move the audience from unbranded to branded?

  • Retargeting
  • Via Emails on permissions
  • Self-driven exploration (navigate to product site themselves)
  • Through juxtaposition of brand in TA section on HCP third party portals
  • etc

Next, how do you connect the unbranded message to the product benefits in the branded environment?

  • Ensure prioritized benefits message is in line with unbranded messaging
  • Continue the unbranded narrative but juxtaposed with product data
Nura-Lexon is Vertic's imaginary Biotech and Zytopax is a made up biologic therapy

2. Content for the full HCP journey

Content should be produced to cater for the full HCP journey. This is perhaps unsurprising, but content in many launches is skewed towards the branded component. This means there should be greater balance in substantiating the unmet patient need and gap in the current treatment regimen.

To understand barriers and journey stages Vertic applies its Digital Observational Market Research Study method.

3. Offering content matching different learning styles and level of complexity

We are all motivated, consume, and learn differently. This means that long form, textbook style content will resonate with a fraction of the audience group only. Others will prefer snackable/short form, audio born, visual, interactive, video, dialogue-based content or a combination. Thus, content should be created to cater to varying need-based and preference criteria.

"Complexity" both in terms of production and in terms of subject matter as well the "Time Commitment" required for the HCP to consume the content need to be balanced.

4. Modular content

Most content has been created for a single channel (e.g. print), often in the context of a campaign sometimes without a central, global overview and storage. This leads to the reproduction and duplication of content and extends Time to Market inordinately. Content needs to be created in modules and matched against each stage of the customer decision journey with a view to supporting all available channels, associated flows and formats as well as documented and stored centrally. Finally, the modular content allows for the necessary personalization of content.

Content should be created to cater for multiple types of usage.  

5-6. Out-of-the-box Customer flows & Personalization

HCPs seamlessly move across digital channels. Thus, to be successful, focus should not be on "relative channel effectiveness", but on how you make channels work together across time and the adoption ladder. We call this Customer Flows. At Vertic, we have great experience in running 8 specific Out-of-the-Box Customer Flows which most efficiently drive the HCP through the journey through seamless handover between the digital channels providing the right content at the right time.  

Sample Customer flow showing the interplay of channels as a coherent digital experience by the HCP

7. Facilitate or simulate dialogues with HCPs

A qualified MSL or Sales rep conversation with the individual HCP is a powerful influence which can only be partially covered using the digital channels. However, offering on-demand, and even better, real time, access to talk to or chat with an MSL or rep, when the HCP interacts with our content e.g. in our website, receives an email, "dwells" in an interactive banner or walks through a self-detailer, is potent. If not possible, at a minimum, offer a “conversational interface” powered by bot technology.

Conversational interfaces offer a human, intuitive method for retrieving info based on individuals needs

8. Tagging content

Content should be tagged, and its performance measured to drive optimization. As an example, integrating tagging between the pre-click experience (e.g. banner) and the post-click experience (e.g. website) is essential to provide relevant data point for understanding how to improve conversion.

Media buying and content creation needs to be integrated to succeed in a world where "we do not go online, but live online".

Embed your brand into the digital reality through Share of Life™

Embedding your brand into a reality where bulk of the info seeking process and decisions are made online, requires building new processes, capabilities and new ways of thinking. At Vertic, we call it Earning Share of Life™. For the launch of the new indication, this entails deploying the 8 principles described. For more info on the 8 principles or Share of Life™ at large, please feel free to reach out.

Written by

Mads Krogh Petersen

President and Co-Founder

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