Product Launch Preparedness: Pick the Right Agency

Launch planning must include all major internal key stakeholders—marketing, medical, pricing/reimbursement/access, advocacy, and public relations/media. This comprehensive launch planning also likely involves many supportive agencies, including a peer-to-peer agency for physician-to-physician educational initiatives. However, what should a brand be looking for in their peer-to-peer agency at the time of product launch?

When planning for your launch plan’s “big rocks,” it is crucial to remember that your peer-to-peer agency is a critical strategic partner in helping:

  • Lead key opinion leader (KOL) engagement strategy
  • Translate data into content through medical storytelling
  • Plan and execute multichannel healthcare professional (HCP) education strategies, including speaker training and programming
  • Plan and execute the brand’s advisory board strategy
  • Measure the success of customer engagement and programming effectiveness

HCP education planning typically begins 12-18 months prior to launch with disease state education, if there is a new mechanism of action, new technology, or understanding of the disease diagnosis, and/or paradigm shift in disease treatment. However, not all peer-to-peer agencies are experienced in both prelaunch and launch competencies. So, when considering a peer-to-peer agency to partner on your launch, one should ask the following questions:

  • Has the agency created disease state education for a prelaunch brand? What about for launch? If so, what were the results? How big was the brand?
  • What is the process that the agency uses to create content (aka medical storytelling)? Do they utilize a comprehensive approach with a content blueprint and storyboard? What insights do they bring to the approach?
  • Do they help to identify, recommend, and utilize KOLs across their prelaunch and launch efforts?
  • What expertise does the agency have in-house as part of their medical and marketing teams? Have they sat in your seat before (ie, do they come from and understand industry)? Does the agency team have disease state education and launch experience?
  • What “testing” or market research plan do they recommend for the content and programming plan?
  • Do they have in-house creative team members who can integrate your messages and insights across all deliverables and customer experiences?
  • Do they recommend and provide you with a multichannel implementation timeline for your prelaunch HCP education plan? What experience do they have in the digital and virtual world?
  • What analytical plan do they recommend to ensure there is a solid return on education or experience or, if during launch, a return on investment?

Since data continue to support the importance and impact of peer-to-peer education tactics to bring your message to your HCP audiences, it is critical that a brand consider the right agency partner based on their comprehensive capabilities, experienced team, and proven results. Having a team that can look at your launch efforts from a medical, marketing, creative, and digital lens will only increase the effectiveness of your efforts.