During the course of my career, I’ve been fortunate to participate in a wide range of brand launches across the EU, Asia-PAC, and US. Over the years (and many frequent flyer miles later), I’ve observed that despite wide cultural differences, pharma brand teams face similar challenges around the world. These global launch issues include challenges surrounding speed to market, customer coverage and reach, sales force training, local regulatory considerations, and physician engagement. Regardless of the market, local teams need to address these key considerations in a timely and relevant manner. Also, regardless of marketing team preparation and efforts, problems with the supply chain can wreak havoc on a launch.
It’s no secret that delays in launch and/or supply chain issues have a lasting impact on overall brand growth. Simply put, research has shown that a weak product launch can lower the overall value from a $1B drug by as much as $200-400 million. Therefore, it is absolutely critical to launch right the first time (there are no second chances).
Research from Forbes, shown below, highlights the impact that initial launch trajectory can have on long-term sales.
With close to 200 product launches anticipated around the world over the next few years, brand teams must identify processes and platforms for achieving cost-effective and high impact global launches. This will require careful coordination across global, regional, and local teams – each of whom faces particular challenges.
Three key challenges facing global launch teams include:
- Developing the capabilities to rapidly scale across multiple markets
- Ensuring consistent messaging across geographies
- Tracking performance metrics globally and locally
At the same time, in-country or regional marketing teams struggle with launch challenges of their own, including:
- Effectively reusing global marketing content
- Locally tailoring messaging and imagery, while staying true to the brand
- Appropriately supporting launch brands with the right resources at the right time (which can be further hampered by poor marketing analytics)
Faced with these multi-layered challenges, a successful “glocal” launch strategy seeks to coordinate and maximize the strengths of both global and local marketing efforts. When designed and executed correctly, a glocal launch is characterized by:
- Leveraging global assets to produce the right content, campaigns and insights at the local level
- Instituting the right governance, processes and resource allocation at the regional level
- Building the right knowledge, technology and operations at the global level
- And ultimately, delivering the right data and engagement for individual patients and HCPs at the local level
So, what are the specific strategies and tactics that must be architected for building and implementing a successful glocal launch?
Global Strategies and Tactics
At the global level, a center of excellence (COE) develops and maintains the infrastructure required to coordinate multiple launches. The COE serves as a hub for knowledge management, facilitating launch team collaboration on a global scale. Technical platforms are also deployed and managed on a global scale, allowing for asset and content management, marketing automation, and analytics/performance tracking. From an operational perspective, the global COE provides project planning and risk mitigation, accountability, and program management, and helps ensure appropriate resource allocation. The global brand launch team retains the remit for core branding, messaging, and asset development. Content is designed for reusability, including ease of translation and image/message localization.
Regional Strategies and Tactics
At the regional level, efficient systems guide and monitor the launch effectiveness throughout the entire region, ensuring that resources are appropriately secured and allocated. Regional governance facilitates regulatory oversight and helps streamline the approval process. Regional processes and systems help define and deliver best practices and launch excellence, tracking and monitoring, as well as asset reuse guidelines. Educational materials, conferences and events, and market development planning are also handled at the regional level – allowing those regional teams to efficiently and consistently share insights and best practices.
Local Strategies and Tactics
At the local level, agency services and launch campaigns need to be tailored for the specific needs of each particular market, while staying consistent with global brand strategy and leveraging enterprise level platforms. Campaigns are refined to ensure alignment across both the global and local markets, and are delivered via country appropriate channels. Finally, marketing analytics are focused on the details of customer engagement, market trends, and competitive positioning.
Customer Level Strategies and Tactics
All of the above drives toward the consistent North Star of Excellent Customer Experience. Thus, at the level of individual customers, pertinent data will be collected (compliant with local regulations) in order to design and implement more customer-centered experiences. Taken together, behavioral change data, purchasing data, and real-world evidence provide valuable insights into how customers respond to the overall brand messaging. Based on insights gleaned from the data, high levels of customer engagement can be driven though personalized messaging, marketing automation and CRM, as well as through influence mapping.
A well-coordinated glocal launch has far reaching benefits for the entire brand, at the global, regional, and local levels. Ultimately – a powerful glocal launch benefits patients and HCPs around the world as they experience the brand in a personally meaningful way and engage with the brand on their own terms.
These integrated campaigns increasingly ride on enterprise level marketing platforms that give marketers at all levels access to key assets. Brands that deploy these digital asset management systems enjoy substantial agility and integration. Regional and local teams have the luxury of high connectivity to the central global team without the associated delays and constraints incurred in the past. Given these numerous benefits, this enhanced glocal service model will continue to gain traction as digital tools proliferate in markets around the world.
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