This post is sponsored by IQVIA MedTech.
A MedTech product’s lifecycle starts with a concept and needs to operate as cohesive closed-loop process through commercialization and back again – from product research and development, through clinical trials and regulatory approval, through manufacturing and distribution to sales and commercialization, including post-market follow-up with real world data providing insights and feedback along the way. Although the lifecycle may seem linear, it is anything but. Each step is interconnected with the others and must be carefully orchestrated for maximum ROI.
Product positioning is a key element of that lifecycle and should be considered along each stage of the journey.
What is product positioning and why is it important?
Product positioning is the process of determining how best to communicate with regulatory bodies and target audiences about a product’s attributes. It sets consumer perceptions of product characteristics, uses, quality, advantages and disadvantages and it involves identifying target customers and markets, weighing competitive pressures and developing channel-specific messaging strategies, among other things.
Significant challenges related to product positioning include:
- Ever-changing regulatory environments that can cause:
- delays in time to market
- denied approvals
- financial penalties
- product withdrawals and/or recalls
- Pricing and profitability pressures such as:
- increasing competition
- industry consolidation
- evolving reimbursement environments.
MedTech companies need products and markets with sustained innovation and competitive advantages, notes John Stanick, head of IQVIA MedTech global commercial solutions and technologies. “Some markets are tough because they have different regulatory requirements that can include totally different packaging and marketing. Some markets are easy to get approval in and some are more difficult.” Identifying the right target markets can make the difference for maximum success and effectiveness.
When identifying and analyzing markets, MedTech firms need data, and lots of it, to be able to make the best-informed decisions. They must determine where the best markets are located and how big they are, who the product will be marketed to, who the key players and payers are, and what the regulatory considerations are.
Only with actionable insights on each can a company develop an effective positioning strategy.
What data is needed?
Product positioning strategies must take in data from a variety of sources. MedTech firms need to know what data is useful and what isn’t, and they need advanced analytics to turn all that data into actionable intelligence.
Deep domain expertise, modern technology including advanced analytics capability, access to appropriate data, and real-time global regulatory insights are crucial. Moreover, effective product positioning cannot be achieved by marketers working in a silo. It must be orchestrated with clinical, manufacturing, distribution and regulatory teams. Data must be shared, processes tied together, and field experience fed from the clinical development process through to commercialization and back again.
Medical device companies need to rethink their business process to share information and strategies across today’s siloed operations, leveraging information from commercial and compliance efforts to better inform product development and product positioning decisions. With business process orchestration, real world evidence provides deep insights into global markets, patient populations, regulatory environments, pricing pressures and reimbursement strategies.
While insourcing is an option for some MedTech companies, partnering or outsourcing to leverage a hybrid of internal and market data sourcing makes the most sense for companies that wish to leverage the very best data analysis. Factors to consider include:
- Whether the company has and can afford to hire enough product positioning experts who have the applicable experience and expertise to focus on all applicable global markets
- Whether the company has or can afford the technology and expertise to collect and analyze all the necessary data
- Whether the company has the data, or they have to acquire and/or collect the data, and whether the data is reliable
- Whether the company can best leverage a partner that has the right expertise and the ability to help it orchestrate functions across the entire product lifecycle, with experience and expertise in developed and developing markets, and a deep understanding of the current and future regulatory environments around the globe.
MedTech firms need broad and deep domain expertise to do this kind of strategic partnering on both a local and a global level. With the right partner and orchestration along the entire lifecycle, they can identify target users, target markets and the regulatory and approval requirements for each; leverage real-world evidence to demonstrate product value sooner; demonstrate the product favorably to physicians; and identify communication channels and the proper messaging tailored to both the audience and the channel.
These insights and optimizations will allow them to gain a more competitive position in the market and secure a stronger future for the company.
IQVIA MedTech solutions and services help medical device and diagnostics companies to innovate with confidence, maximize opportunities, and, ultimately, drive human health outcomes safely forward. Learn more at www.iqviamedtech.com.