Strategies promoting brands on the pharma market of Kazakhstan and the CIS

  Cross-industry experts agree that the pharmaceutical market is one of the most competitive. This definitely explains why pharmaceutical companies are among the three leaders in advertising and promotion investing huge amounts of money in the fight for the loyalty of the average consumer.
  In this article we will try to systematize the key strategies of a pharmaceutical company in Kazakhstan and the CIS countries, (since they have pretty semilar) as well as highlight their critical mistakes.
  In a sense, all existing approaches to brand promotion can be divided into Pull and Push strategies.
  The classic pull strategy involves direct work with the mind of the end customer through the media (including TV, radio, Internet, etc.). With the help of vivid images in the mind of the user, the perception and values of the brand are built, which in turn forms loyalty of the customer.
  A consumer comes to a pharmacy with already formed loyalty to a particular brand, and that simple fact defines successful sales.
  This strategy (all other things being equal) usually shows excellent results in the moment.
  However, this strategy has a downside to the coin. The effectiveness of this strategy in the long term directly correlates with the continuity of investments in the media space and promotion.
  The experience of numerous market players testifies that as soon as you stop or even slightly reduce media pressure (in comparison with your closest competitors), this immediately affects on the sell out of the product from the shelves of pharmacies and, therefore, the success of the entire brand’s campaign.
  Just yesterday, an absolutely loyal and reliable consumer, today suddenly turns his whimsical gaze towards a new bright brand.
  Many pharmaceutical corporations are simply doomed to continuously invest in media to maintain the level of achieved sales, thereby creating a vicious cycle.
  In our opinion, a critical mistake is the maximum concentration of the company’s efforts on only one external side of this process.
  The pharmaceutical market has one very significant, but often not fully perceived, difference from all other markets – the existence of a unique intermediary between the brand and the consumer. The Pharmacist –  is a professional in the pharmaceutical community. The person who is on the front line communicates with the end consumer directly at the point of sale (in the pharmacy).
  In a certain sense, this person combines the authority of a doctor (a man in a white coat) on the one hand and, on the other hand, the authority of an independent brand consumer with a certain experience.
  Yes, it may surprise someone, but a pharmacist is absolutely the same consumer of pharmaceutical brands as an ordinary user. And this duality of the pharmacist contains a very serious power of influence that can and should be used for promotion.
  It is obvious that a pharmacist has a very specific potential to influence the direct choice of a particular pharmaceutical brand exclusively by his personal opinion.
  Thus, we see the critical importance of building loyalty to our brand in the minds of this unique intermediary. This is the key characteristic of the Push strategy. It is through the authoritative opinion of the pharmacist  in the pharmacy that the end consumer forms strong loyalty to the brand.
  There is incontrovertible evidence that end-user loyalty built in this way (through the influence of the pharmacist) is long-term and has a “lasting immunity” to the volatile influence of the media.
  This extremely important fact implies the critical importance of understanding the stereotypes of thinking and the expectations of the pharmacist himself from this or that brand. It is this understanding that should form the basis for building an overall brand positioning strategy.
  Due to the quality and interconnectedness of building these two strategies  ultimately depends on the success of implementation of the trademark on the pharmaceutical market of a particular country.
  How can ProAdme consulting help you find the right balance or relationship between these two strategis? How to find the key to the hearts of the pharmaceutical professionals community?
  During the formation of a strategy for entering the market of a new pharmaceutical brand, we can prepare  qualitative and quantitative research that will make it possible to build the correct balanced positioning system for the key values of your brand that meets the real expectations of all participants in the distribution chain.
Dmitriy Dyatlov
CEO ProAdme consulting
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