Back in 2019, we wrote about a couple of product launch trends we thought would shape the future of pharma. But, in 2023, are these trends still relevant in our industry? And what new product launch developments are impacting pharma right now? Let's take a closer look at marketing ideas from the past and present that can help launch a new drug or medical device into the world.
Product Launch Marketing Ideas From 2019 — Are They Still Relevant?
We've re-evaluated two of our previous marketing ideas to see whether they still have significance:
Creating a unique launch strategy
We said pharma marketing teams who differentiate their products from their competitors would stand out. This is still very much true in 2023!
Pharma marketers should challenge themselves and their teams to be crystal clear on what they offer and how they give customers an unmatched experience. This means walking in their shoes and understanding their health conditions as if they were theirs. Only then can marketers build their launch plan.
Here are some marketing tips on how to differentiate your products from the competition:
- Partner with tech companies to put technology in customers' hands and let them personalize their experience. Marketers should ask themselves, "How can we best involve customers as much as possible?"
- Innovate to deliver patient-focused solutions that increase a customer's sense of empowerment, allowing them to manage their own health. This may involve using AI to aid diagnoses or help patients track and adjust their treatment.
- Pharma marketers should clearly understand how their brand fits and meets a unique need. Painting a picture can help patients understand the role a product plays in how they manage their health. Marketers should also consider how their competition achieves this goal.
Don’t forget to be agile
In 2019, we also said that companies should be agile when launching products on the market. To be more exact, we stated:
"No discussion about launching a new drug or device would be complete without saying something about being agile."
We believe that being agile is just as important now as it was back then. But what does it mean to be agile when launching a new pharma product?
We think being agile is:
- Quickly applying learnings from one market to the next and sharing insights across brand teams.
Our clients who harness and learn from their launches by sharing best practices (and failures) are the ones who experience a higher rate of launch success. Having a specific approach — such as using task forces or having a dedicated team — matters less than finding out what is going well with a brand launch and what needs to be adapted. Understanding customers' journeys before a launch will provide the best customer experience post-launch.
Since 2019, we have helped many healthcare brand teams develop and launch products by tapping into trends and putting the customer first. If you want to learn more or get additional digital marketing tips, please get in touch.
New Product Launch Trends for 2023 and 2024
Product launches in the pharma sector have evolved significantly since 2019. Here are some trends we've noticed in the industry for launching products like medical devices in the future.
AI has certainly become more ubiquitous in pharma since 2019, and it's no surprise that marketers now use this technology for product launches. Many brands use AI to identify patterns and trends in patient data and use these insights to fine-tune launch campaigns. AI tools like ChatGPT can also generate text for social media posts and basic emails about new pharma products. Finally, chatbots can answer questions from patients about new products, reducing the need for customer service teams.
AI can't replace marketing teams, and this technology has ethical concerns. However, AI can support marketers at various points in the product launch process, making learning about and connecting with target audiences easier. Expect more pharma companies to invest in AI solutions in the coming years.
As more patients become aware of environmental issues, pharma marketers can emphasize the sustainability of their products in marketing materials. For example, they can mention how a medical device uses low-emission production processes or less packaging. Research shows that consumers in all sectors care about environmentally and ethically sustainable products, with more than 60 percent of customers willing to pay more for items with sustainable packaging.
Whichever product launch strategies marketers choose, they need to track their campaigns from start to finish with the latest analytical software — a trend even more common now than in 2019. For example, predictive analytics tools help marketers forecast future outcomes of their launches and identify any pain points that prevent them from reaching customers in the desired way.
Marketers are using more channels than ever to promote product launches in 2023. These channels include email, SMS, social media, direct mail, search engines, and even apps like TikTok, which weren't as popular in 2019 as they are now. Omnichannel marketing can increase the chances of a successful product launch by targeting potential customers at different touchpoints and moving them through marketing funnels. However, the channels marketers choose should depend on their audience. For example, social media and email can effectively target younger customers, while direct mail can reach some older consumers.
Personalization in product launch marketing — a popular trend in 2023 — can increase engagement with audiences and develop deeper relationships. Marketers can include the first name of prospects in marketing materials like direct mail and email and send customers lists of recommended products, such as medical devices, based on their demographics, interests, and previous purchasing habits.
More than ever, landing pages for new products can be a great way to advertise offerings and encourage website visitors to make a purchase. Marketers can direct people to these pages through social media posts and emails and include a call to action at the end of a landing page that converts visitors into paying customers.
Influencer marketing has become more popular in the pharma industry since 2019, despite controversy around this type of marketing. When done correctly, marketers can connect with influencers with a large social media following and increase awareness about an upcoming product launch. Influencers often have loyal followers who trust what they say, which can help companies connect with this audience, market their services, and grow their brand.
It can be difficult to measure the success of an influencer campaign compared to other marketing ideas, as the person a marketer works with will need to share analytical information from their social media accounts. Marketers must also ensure their influencer respects their brand values and correctly communicates their marketing messages. Influencer marketing can be one of the most lucrative ways to launch a pharma product in 2023.
The price of a product can make or break the success of a launch. Marketers should think about how they will communicate pricing to customers and frame this information to demonstrate their product's value. For example, if a drug costs $400 a year, marketers could say it only costs a little over a dollar a day, which gives the impression that customers are getting value for money. Because of the current economic climate, many consumers are more budget-conscious than they were four years ago.
Marketers can always use discounts to drum up interest in their new product — a trend just as popular now as in 2019. For example, a marketer could email a customer about a new medical device that includes a list of product features and its retail price. That same customer might receive a text message a few days later informing them about a special promotion entitling them to 20% off an upcoming purchase.
Marketers could film video tutorials that focus on how to use a product like a medical device and post them on their company's website or social media accounts using technology that wasn't around in 2019. This demonstrates to customers how easy it is to use an item and will free up resources for customer service teams. Brands can also upload instructions and documentation on their website that customers can read before purchasing a product.
Webinars for product launches
Hosting a webinar is one of those marketing tips that can create a buzz around a product launch. Marketers can advertise their webinars via email and invite interested customers to ask questions about their offerings. Alternatively, marketers can include people from their company to speak during the online event, such as researchers, scientists, and quality assurance professionals. Webinars are more popular than ever because of their prevalence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Including clinical trial information in marketing
Marketers must convey their medical product's validity and effectiveness for it to succeed in 2023 and beyond. They should include information from clinical trials and studies in their marketing materials that showcase how their product makes a real difference in patients' lives. For example, posting a bullet list of key points from clinical studies on their landing pages.
FDA regulatory compliance
The FDA has issued new regulations since 2019, making it more important than ever to comply with the agency. Failing to do so can jeopardize a business's reputation and destroy its product launch. Marketers should understand all the regulations for launching their product and consult with a legal team if necessary. In pharma, all marketing ideas should be compliant with the law.
Thought leadership content
One trend that has grown in popularity since 2019 is thought leadership, which involves creating credible and authoritative content for audiences. In a pharma context, this means content that doesn't advertise products but informs and educates audiences about healthcare industry developments. Marketers can post thought leadership content before and after their product launch to develop deeper relationships with their target base. Using thought leadership alongside other marketing ideas can effectively establish a brand as the go-to resource in its field.
How Oxford Can Help With Product Launch Marketing Ideas
Product launch marketing in the pharma sector has come a long way since 2019. However, differentiating products from competitors and staying agile is just as important as ever. Consider the trends listed above when thinking up campaigns, and consider working with a strategy, planning, and change management consultancy to make your own launch even more of a success.
At Oxford, we understand the significance of a comprehensive strategy for product launches in the pharma industry and help you achieve your marketing goals. If you have a product launch challenge you need help with or want more marketing tips for your launch, get in touch.
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