How to Conduct Price Research: Preparing for Launch Part 1

Zebra is regularly asked about what type of research and intelligence should be explored at different stages of the drug development cycle. We have therefore created a series of posts that look to provide some answers, including those pertaining to price research. The posts in this series will follow the different phases of the drug development process. Therefore, we have created an image showing the key commercial activities throughout the drug development pathway. Please click here to download the graphic that follows along with these posts.

Price Research and Product Positioning

The main focus when preparing for launch is to develop the optimum communication of the core brand values and unique selling point (USP). Attention will be on positioning platforms and terminology with different customer groups as well as benchmarks that need to be monitored for launch. It goes without saying that the market landscape work continues to be updated and refined particularly with regard to any major players in the market and competitive threats. This also applies to segmentation and profiling of customers.

There are some major pieces of market research that companies may want to consider at this stage. These include:

  • Price research
  • Product positioning
  • Development of brand identity and values

In this post, we’ll be looking at the first two.

Price Research

The main objective is to identify an optimum price volume relationship (by country) and also if price sensitivity exists. Analysts should be looking at the price/volume relationships within specific customer segments at this point.

With any type of research, one needs to investigate the impact of price on:

  • Physician willingness to prescribe
  • Anticipated prescribing volume (price sensitivity curves)
  • Type of patient and willingness to prescribe

One must include alternative positioning options, indications and length of treatment within different price assumptions as well as uptake on competitor products and additional patient support/disease management initiatives (if they are being considered). Furthermore, a company must take into account different perspectives in their price research, e.g. policy makers/influencers, prescribers and patients. Different countries will have different impacts depending on the influence chain and those that pay.

Product Positioning

It is important for those developing a product to generate, develop and explore the appeal of several alternative positioning platforms and branding execution in order to define the optimal brand position/branding. One might find that one platform appeals across all customers whilst another only resonates with one segment. It is important to decide on which one to use, where it is likely to have the greatest impact, and whether that be in a particular customer segment (high commercial potential) or all segments.

This exercise may include the following:

  • Identification of potential elements (content/structure/terminology) of alternative distinctive product positioning
  • Confirmation of the key differential product strengths/benefits vs. competition and patient needs and their relative importance to key customers
  • Development of a series of alternative platforms based on combinations of product advantages and target patient needs
  • Identification of appropriate communication of 
    • What, when, where and why to use 
    • Key terminology 
    • Brand values (premise, promise, proof)
    • Supporting claims
  • Explore the appeal of alternative positioning platforms

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, in which we’ll cover the last piece of the market research pie: development of brand identity and values.

If you would like more company-specific ideas of how to conduct this work, please feel free to reach out to us.