Sources of research for pharma marketers

badresearchfindingsPOST SUMMARY: Not all available market research is created equal.  Some research is a must have and provides insights, but there is also a lot of available research that doesn’t clarify findings and is written by journalists not people will real world pharma business experience.

I have often been asked by clients to take market research decks, insights, and translate them into summary slides with actionable recommendations.  Marketers today have a lot of information at their disposal, but information alone means unless we can act on it and clearly identify opportunities to improve our marketing.  Here is a list of some available market research:

(1) Manhattan Research – Offers insights into both consumers (patients) and HCP’s.  Their insights are invaluable and are a must have for any biopharma organization.  The downside is that they provide a LOT of information and I have found it’s best used when eMarketing people summarize their findings with actionable recommendations.  It’s also essential to get disease specific information as online patient/caregiver/HCP behavior varies widely by health condition.  A-Must have


(2) Kantar Media – Kantar has been trying to enter the healthcare research environment for some time, but their research is too general for my taste often lumping in health and wellness categories together.  In addition, some of their research is puzzling to me.  For example, they recently said that 39% of consumers ask their doctor about medication after seeing an ad?  It has been my experience that consumers first go online to determine whether to ask their doctor if medication is right for them.  I think I’ll pass on this. D-Pass

(3) Forrester – Forrester is good at general online behavior trends, but the cost of their research, often written by people who have never spent time in the industry, is too general for pharma marketers.  D-Pass

(4) EMarketer-It’s nice to have for media companies but is of little value to pharma as much of their information is taken from publicly available research. D-Pass


(5) Internal Market ResearcheMarketing people have to get closer to their market research people so that they can learn to do usability studies on websites and develop best-in-class research to lead to a great online brand experience.  You have them as a resource, use them.  A-Must have

Research should identify opportunities and lead to questions like “what if?not just a data dump.  More importantly eMarketing people should be able to read data and mine for clear actionable insights.


2 thoughts on “Sources of research for pharma marketers

  1. One more to add to the list — Medikly. Its a pharma-specific marketing analytics and automation platform which lets pharma companies undertake market research in REAL TIME. And, its specific to HCP engagement.

    Using Medikly, pharma companies can better understand their HCP audience and know what their interests actually are, as displayed by their engagement with content, rather than relying on self-reporting.

    Its all about digital behavior.

  2. I agree with your list. But people should be looking to outside-of-pharma research to follow the evolving customer behaviors…ComScore,McKinsey,PwC — true, not research firms per se, but offering up insight which is valuable. There are also other, less-known, more upstart research methods/vendors.

    Last, the same inertia and me-to- same-ole-thing behavior exists in many Pharma company research groups; does anyone really believe that the old smokey-glass focus group that tests messages still works? These groups should going for authenticity, but like so many scared employees, they go for the tried-and-true which are getting tired and irrelevant.

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