Expert insight:

Video: 13 Checkpoints to critically assess the quality of your brand marketing plans

By Edouard Demeire, expert-trainer of The Pharma Brand Planning Course.


The quality of a brand marketing plan depends on the quality of each part, and not on the sum of all parts. Like a chain, its strength lies in the weakest link. Quite often there is a gap between situation analysis and strategy formulation on the one hand, and tactics and actions on the other hand. A good brand marketing plan links both ends, such that marketing & sales tactics and actions effectively leverage opportunities in the market that have been identified through analysis. 

Our expert-trainer of The Pharma Brand Planning Course, Edouard Demeire, discusses in the above video a 13-point checklist for pharma brand managers to help them to critically assess the quality of their plans. The following is a summary.


PART 1 – What is the market situation today?

  • The patient flow data - these should be based on epidemiology data and market insights obtained from market research - should provide an understanding of the business potential of various market segments as well as the challenges in developing the business opportunities.
  • For each segment of the patient population a treatment decision tree should be designed from diagnosis to cure. A treatment decision tree visually generates the kind of insight that is required for selecting the appropriate market segments later in the process, and for designing the appropriate marketing mix.
  • The identification, quantification, and understanding (in terms of their beliefs, mindsets, behaviours, attitudes and stage of adoption) of the most important stakeholders should be based on market research and provide insights to tactical design.
  • Same for the competitor analysis: it should be fact-based, thus based on a structured demand driven competitive intelligence process.


PART 2 – Where do we want to go?

  • The SWOT analysis, which summarises the above situation analysis in the market, should be so crystal clear that it truly generates insight (1 page, with a prioritisation of the SWOTs).
  • The criteria used to subsequently segment that market should be clearly identified and the segments should be differentiated across.
  • The determination of priority segments should be fact-based, i.e. based on quantitative market research.
  • The positioning statement should be clearly defined, impactful and agreed upon by all representatives of major departments (i.e. sales, medical, regulatory, ...). A value positioning statement has also been defined with various payers in mind.
  • Key messages for use in marketing communications should effectively implement the positioning of the brand in a sustainable way, i.e. they should be “ownable” and translate into emotional communication.


PART 3 – How will we get there? – How will we know whether we are on track?

  • The Critical Success Factors (CSFs), which should express the desired state of stakeholder beliefs and behaviours in their decision making process leading to sales, should be very clearly defined and to the point. They should link back to the treatment decision trees, the selected segments and the prioritised SWOTs.
  • Each of the actions listed in the tactical marketing plan should clearly address the stakeholder’s desired changes in behaviours and the associated CSFs.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should be determined in order to allow management to track performance before the plan translates into sales. The plan should also be specific as to the market research methodology that will be used to measure the KPIs.


PART 4 – What does the financial case look like?

  • And last but not least, a number of fact-based scenarios should be sketched out to determine the upsides and downsides.


Last update: November 2020

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