Pharmaceutical Marketing That Works: Forecasting

Video Transcript – Judith Kulich, Principal

What Makes Pharmaceutical Forecasting More Important Than Ever?

Competition is particularly stiff in pharmaceutical markets today. And organizations are looking beyond their traditional sources of revenue and even needing to work with constrained resources and make trade-offs between the assets that they do have.

In terms of looking beyond their traditional sources of revenue, they may be considering broader geographies, working sometimes with new customers or less data. They may also be looking to partnerships, filling their own, perhaps somewhat anemic, pipelines with the pipelines or developed products from other organizations.

All of these mean working in less familiar areas and more uncertainty, and [companies] really need strong forecasting to drive good decisions and make sure that they're making the best use of available resources.

Most fundamentally, forecasts need to answer questions to support decisions, whether those decisions are about launching into a new geography or making a trade-off between pursuing one indication over another. These answers really need to be supported with clear evidence and clear processes, clear analytics, to drive those decisions.

Beyond just a single number, forecasts also need to account for alternative scenarios. So what happens if a competitor launches before I do? Or what happens if I actively pursue one customer segment versus another?

Case Study: Turning Forecasting Into a Tool for Growth

Like many companies, the forecasting team and processes at this place really just weren't in a position to keep up with the global ambitions of the organization.

As the company looked to expand into new geographic markets or new therapeutic areas, the rigor and resources behind forecasting just really couldn't keep up. And it led to weak forecasting across the board.

Over the course of the work with this client, together, together we put in place a process that really met the needs of their various customers and various stakeholders across the organization.

And eventually, forecasting really was a tight-knit component and very well integrated with the company strategy and the marketing organization as a whole. We realigned resources to be able to spend more time in those value-added activities.

The client really started to see results. The forecasting team was able to streamline and automate certain elements of their forecasting process, and thus shift their resources and their minds toward, really, much more value-added activities.

As a result, the forecasts were more rigorous. They were broader in terms of accounting for alternative scenarios. They really demonstrated a much deeper knowledge of new geographies or new markets or, in some cases, even markets and geographies that they'd been in before.

This example is a great one of how forecasting really can and should be a very tightly-integrated element in marketing strategy. To do this, forecasting really needs to go beyond just the mechanical process that's producing a number and really provide insights to the marketing and across the organization that will drive decisions to help them better understand their markets, better understand alternative scenarios and the future range of possibilities.

This video is part of our "Pharmaceutical Marketing That Works - Part II" series ( /publications/videos/pharmaceutical-marketing-that-works-part-ii ) .