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Grow Your Company with Market Research

In the business world, one of the major requirements is to always stay in touch with your client base and understand their needs as well as their expectations. This is why you need to work hard in order to study the market and learn what they want, through a process named market research. But how does this help your company, are there any benefits? Let’s find out!

Market Research

You can find out the location of your customers

Many times it can be very hard to determine the location of your customers, especially if you open a local business because you want to avoid people having to travel a lot in order to access your product or services. At the same time, you need to see if there is actually a demand in that particular area for your offering, as this is crucial if you want your business to be profitable.

You can minimize risks

Opening any type of business can be a risk, because you might never know how profitable the company will actually be. With market research, you fully understand what the users want from you, and thus you lower the overall risks a lot faster, which is a major plus.

You can find unserved or underserved gaps in the market

Nothing is better than market research when it comes to finding and unlocking the true potential of a specific location. Many times, you can identify a need that’s unfulfilled by others and this could mean a huge boost to your revenue margin.

You can measure your reputation.

Aside from finding new opportunities, market research also allows you to find the potential problems that can be found within your business. It also gives you an unbiased, professional opinion in regards to your current reputation on the market.

You can plan ahead

With research, you will be able to estimate the sales that could be made by your service. As a result, this enables you to manage your advertising endeavor a lot faster and better as well.

You can perform a targeted marketing campaign

Knowing what your customers need is the first thing in starting a successful marketing campaign. Through a good research you will have the opportunity to survey the customer and learn their likes as well as dislikes in order to obtain the best results.

You can discover the strengths and weaknesses of competitors

Thorough a good research you can fully understand how your competitors do business, and thus you will be able to see where they excel and where they have a lot of work ahead of them. This is a great incentive if you want to study your market the right way, and you will be amazed with the results, that’s a guarantee!

All in all, with the help of market research you will be able to uncover the true potential hidden within your client base, and thus you will have the opportunity to harness it in order to get the best outcome. This is a great way to get one step ahead of the competition, and it will help you a lot in the long run.

 

Written by Bluebox Research – A Pharmaceutical Market Research Company

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Spurious Correlation: Are You Making This Mistake in Your Market Research?

Marketers’ relationship with data is changing. What was once seen as a savior to campaign targeting and development is now perceived as an unwieldy behemoth, to the point that some brands appear to be giving up trying to separate the signal from the noise.

A recent Experian report found that data management, the top challenge marketing executives reported facing last year, fell to fourth place this year. Just 36 percent of survey respondents prioritized it, despite the fact that many challenges still haven’t been met: Over a third of those surveyed said they still lack the internal resources, technology and accurate data to target consumers the way they would like.

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“The future will challenge marketers with an ever-widening array of data and digital channels,” Experian said of its results. “Finding the right strategic mix to best navigate those opportunities while remaining sufficiently conscious of brand messaging and positioning remains crucial to success.”

So what are the best methods for separating the signal from the noise?  The answer to this depends greatly on what question you are trying to answer!  Data is considered noise when it is not strongly tied to the objective at hand, but just as the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” data that is considered noise in the explanation of one objective may very well be the signal in explaining a separate objective.  This is where the value in qualified market research teams come into play.

In today’s world, data is relatively easy to come by, partially contributing to the data noise problem.  However the value isn’t in the data itself, but the story which the data tells.  Misinterpretation of this story can have significant repercussions on your business model, while proper identification can be your key to increasing your market share.   The proper interpretation of any set of data begins with correlation versus causation.  For example, looking at the divorce rate in Maine compared to the US per capita consumption of margarine might lead someone to think eating less butter leads to happier marriages in Maine!  This is an example of spurious correlation (correlation does not mean causation) – thus that statement would be wrong!

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While the above example is rather comical, making the same mistake in a b2b market research data mining context can be disastrous for any company.  Market research teams specialize in this area of statistical analysis and can often spot trends or connections in the market which have previously been disregarded as noise.  These teams are able to confidently separate correlations versus causations with sophisticated statistical analysis as opposed to relying on the “gut feeling”.  These statistically significant trends can then be used with confidence in anticipating new market movements, forecasting growth of different segments within the same market, and predicting the ever evolving preferences of your target market, among many others.  When considering the magnitude of potential benefits provided from sound market research compared to the relative low cost of a single study, the value of such services shine through and often lead to a new period of growth for the adopting company.

 

Written by Bluebox Research – A Pharmaceutical Market Research Company

Pharma Manufacturing Rises

During the second quarter of 2015, the US manufacturing sector has been growing with medical devices and pharmaceutical preparation accounting for more than 28,000 new jobs.  While assisted by a recovering economy as a whole, it is important to note that growth in the pharma manufacturing sector is outpacing the overall average growth.

This is a significant indicator from the pharma industry signaling not only increased demand, but also increased optimism in the longevity and consistency of demand.  This optimism may be a result of the newly forming biosimilars market, changes in global regulatory affairs, lessened cost pressures, or any combination of the like.

At its most basic interpretation, if employment in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector is increasing we can assume, then, so too is demand for pharmaceutical products (sales).  Having increased sales is an excellent predictor of increasing profits in the short-run, and as a result we can expect new players (CMOs/CROs) to enter the market in an effort to capture their piece of the new demand.  This increase in competition will help to keep prices competitive however, it will also make it more difficult to identify the best CMO or CRO for ones’ needs.

With more than 600 CMOs and CROs operating in the continental US as of January 2015, pharmaceutical sponsors have difficulty in finding the outsourcing partner to best meet their specific needs; thus this increase will likely only exacerbate the problem.  To combat such, having a keen awareness of the market ‘heartbeat’ will take you and your company far.  While there are some services currently operating to fulfill this information gap, a single unified methodology has yet to be accepted by the industry.  Thus for many companies, traditional market research provide the highest probability of success when searching for new manufacturing partners.

Written by Bluebox Research – A Pharmaceutical Market Research Company

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Bulk Drug Business May Get Rs 5,000-Cr Funding Boost

In a bid to boost bulk drug manufacturing and cut reliance on imports from China, Narendra Modi led government is planning to invest over Rs 5,000 crore for the establishment of bulk drug cluster parks.

Bulk drugs, also known as active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), are the ingredients in a drug that give it its therapeutic effect. The government estimates that currently India imports almost 90% of its bulk drugs from China.

Common imported bulk drugs include painkillers such as paracetamol and aspirin, and antacid ranitidine – known by its trade name of Zantac.

“The proposed plan envisions mega parks for pharma clusters through special purpose vehicles (SPV), which will be provided with a host of incentives for manufacturers,” a senior official at department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) told HT. “List of incentives include a 15-year tax holiday, allocation of coal and electricity at concessional rates, soft loans to industry through interest subsidy of 5% and income-tax benefits for an initial period of 10 years.”

The government has already declared 2015 as the ‘Bulk Drugs Year’ in a move that will serve as a booster dose for government’s flagship Make in India programme. “With an aim to strengthen the Make in India initiative, we are targeting to produce 100% of bulk drugs domestically and stop the API imports from China in next two to three years,” Minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers Hansraj Gangaram Ahir had earlier told HT.

Considering that objective, the chemicals and fertiliser ministry floated a draft cabinet note last week in line with the recommendations of VM Katoch committee. “The note has also proposed formation of a separate bulk drug authority which will look into the implementation of such schemes,” another bureaucrat at the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers said.

SOURCE: India Brand Equity Foundation

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What Is The Best Way To Keep Up With Changes In FDA Standards?

This is an interesting concept, one that actually goes by the name of “Regulatory Intelligence.”  Regulatory Intelligence (RI) is something that’s really important because the standards are always evolving. In the United States, for example, they start at the top with the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act, and recently, the Drug Quality and Security Act of 2013. FDA takes these laws and promulgates regulations and guidance documents to interpret those regulations.

Changes to regulations and other notices are published daily in the Federal Register, which can be accessed publicly onregulations.gov. Hundreds of notices could be published daily. Now, you’re not going to have a person on your team looking at regulations.gov every day evaluating what’s been updated on the Federal Register. That’s just not good use of your time and things are constantly changing. Let’s explore some effective ways in keeping your company up-to-date.

Stay In The Loop By Becoming A Member of Key Trade Associations and Groups

One of the ways we like to stay on top of everything is with memberships in trade associations and trade groups, including: The Pharma & Biopharma Outsourcing Association, or PBOA, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association or CHPA, the Natural Products Association or NPA,Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America or PhRMA, and others.

Those are great resources because there are meetings where you can network, webinars you can attend, and they send out emails alerting you of new guidances which specifically apply to you to pay attention to. Day to day, you can get FDA RSS feeds and news bulletins.

The Small Business and Industry Assistance, SBIA program, is a great resource constantly sending out new guidance or information about webinars explaining FDA‘s current thinking on different topics. FDANews is a private group, who also sends daily bulletins. These are all free of charge. If you want more detailed or “insider” information, you can pay for subscriptions to business intelligence publications.

For example, the Pink Sheet is for prescription products and regulatory updates. The Tan Sheetprovides in-depth news and analysis of the nonprescription pharmaceutical and dietary supplement industries. The Gold Sheet provides insightful analysis to help you comply with U.S. and international pharmaceutical manufacturing QA/QC requirements.

Using Pharmaceutical Organizations and Resources Are Beneficial To Your Regulatory Intelligence Program

Lastly, there are professional organizations that are of great benefit for members, such as the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society or (RAPS) or the American Society for Quality (ASQ). All of these resources contribute to a well-balanced RI program. In a specific example where RI was useful, there was recent guidance on what can be reported in an annual report so you’re not submitting so many CBEs and CBE30s to the agency. We had to go back and look at our change control SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), and when we’re evaluating the risk of a change we can refer to the guidance to aid in the decision of submitting a CBE or keeping it to an annual report. How did we hear about this new guidance? We were notified of the new guidance from an email from SBIA. We also received it from RAPS, CHPA and The Tan Sheet. That’s one example of how staying on top of things can help your processes. Going forward, instead of putting together an entire CBE submission, which is time consuming and potentially costly, we can simply file it in an annual report (when appropriate).

To conclude, staying on top of changes with regulatory standards is definitely something that needs to be done and is definitely something we do. Having a robust regulatory intelligence program is essential for keeping up with changes in FDA standards.

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Develop Market Insights For Smarter Strategic Business Decisions.

What’s the right path for your business or organization? Before you develop a new drug, change up your brand name, or introduce new pricing, use a survey research to check in with your target audience.

Need help? Request for proposal here

Our custom survey makes it easier to know your customers and make informed choices for your business.

Here are some survey templates from survey monkey. Just you get an idea of what your survey could look like.

  • Market Research Survey. Use this 20-question survey to explore your customers’ opinions of your new product or service, their preference for yours over the competition’s, and their willingness to recommend.
  • Market Research – Product. With 10 quick questions, this survey lets you find out what your customers think about your new product – what they like, what they don’t, and if they prefer it to the competition’s.
  • Market Research – Service. Get your target customers’ opinions of the new service you’re introducing with this 10-question survey.
  • Customer Service Survey. Use this 9-question survey to ask your customers about their experience with your service representatives.
  • The Net Promoter® Score. Discover customer sentiment and willingness to recommend your business with a single question: “On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to refer a friend or colleague?”
  • Traveler and Hospitaility Feedback. Survey guests and clients about their travel and vacation experiences, so you can turn first time customers into repeat business.
  • Hair Care Products and Skincare Products. Find out about customers’ hair care and skincare product buying behaviors and preferences using these 9-question and 6-question surveys, respectively. Or customize these templates for your product category.
  • Home Buyer Feedback and Real Estate Agent Evaluation. These 6-question and 4-question surveys, respectively, let you find out what tools your client are using to research the real estate market and choose a realtor in the search for their new home.
  • Website Feedback. Use this 8-question survey to discover how you can optimize your online experience for customers.
  • Apps. As part of your go-to-market research, use this 6-question survey to find out if it makes sense to create a mobile app for your product or service.
  • Target Markets. Use Bluebox Research’s Panel for help in reaching the target audiences for your research, and build relevant, real-world data into your research proposals or business plans.

How to Use Surveys

Marketing surveys are a great way to ask for feedback on new products, services, and features. Survey customers as you pilot new offerings—and course-correct quickly if you’re off target. Beta-test your mobile app, preview your latest ad campaign, or assess the impact of a new bundled offer, and translate those insights into profitable strategies.

Professional survey methodologists write all of our online marketing and market research survey templates. You can use them as is, or customize our online questionnaires to fit your needs. And because we take survey security very seriously, you can feel confident that your data and insights are safe.

  • Market research. What’s the appetite for a new product or service you’re designing? Test the market, modify your target customer segments, and create a launch plan based on the feedback you receive. Ask: “If our new product or service were available today, how likely would you be to recommend it?”
  • New product development. Use frequent surveying as part of agile product development in your business, iterating designs based on user feedback. Have a new mobile app you think will be a hit? Test it with your target audience. Ask: “What do you like most about our new product?” or “What changes would most improve our new product?” Modify proposed product features and roadmaps based on user preferences.
  • User experience design. Survey target audiences to determine individuals’ behavior and use of smartphones andapplications, buying patterns or use patterns. Use survey feedback to design engaging user experiences, then position, place, and promote products to target markets through these new channels. As part of your marketing plan, determine how good or bad the user experience is on your Web sites.
  • Customer satisfaction and loyalty. Happy customers lead to good business. Use client, customer, consumer, and business-to-business questionnaires to regularly assess satisfaction. Listen for potential issues customers experience—poll for opinions about your product, service, customer support, and online interactions. Make it a practice to ask some version of the question: “What could we do to keep you coming back for more?”

Tips for Achieving Higher Marketing Survey Response Rates

Here are some ways you can encourage your respondents to complete your surveys.

  1. Introduce your objective. Provide context with a brief sentence. Tell survey takers why you’re asking these questions and how their feedback will help, e.g. “Your suggestions will help us to better understand how we can deliver the services you want most.”
  2. Keep it short and focused. Make sure each question brings you closer to your goal. Respect survey takers’ time, and word questions clearly.
  3. Pre-test your survey. Pre-test your survey with a few members of your intended audience. You might uncover inconsistencies or unexpected question interpretations.
  4. Keep rating scale questions consistent. If you’re using Likert rating scales, use the same points system throughout your survey. If 1 means “extremely satisfied” and 5 means “extremely dissatisfied,” maintain this scale for all questions.
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Developing an Effective RFP (Request for Proposal) Process for Your Pharmaceutical Product

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RFP Success

More and more, pharmaceutical companies are outsourcing the manufacturing and packaging of their products.  With the increased use of Contract Manufacturing Organizations (CMO’s), the need for an effective and well-designed Request for Proposal to effectively communicate your organization’s needs and timelines is essential to ensure you and your CMO are on the same page when it comes to your project needs. Ron Herman has been advising pharmaceutical companies for many years and has a lot of experience with writing effective RFP’s.  Since we get a lot of questions from our customers about this topic, Ron has graciously agreed to write an article for us and share his experiences with writing effective RFP’s.

Ron joined NexGen Consulting Group in 2001 and brings more than 30 years of industrial and academic experience to the company’s clients.  He has extensive experience sourcing contract services for pharmaceutical development including raw materials, key intermediates, cGMP API synthesis, formulation development, manufacture of clinical supplies, and commercial label and packaging.  Prior to NexGen, Ron was a Principal Scientist at Syntex (USA) Inc. and held Director level positions at several small biotech companies.

You’ve done your homework and created a list of suitable contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) that fit your key considerations for the task at hand.  Now you have to write an effective Request for Proposals (RFP) to select the best CMO from the list to be your partner on this project.  The CMO you choose now might be your partner for the product’s entire lifecycle and using the RFP process effectively helps you make the right choice.

 

Three Key Points for Writing an Effective RFP

Three Tips for Managing a Successful RFP Process

Five Steps for Reviewing Proposals

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Three Key Points for Writing an Effective RFP

In the last post we talked about the importance of Developing an Effective RFP (Request for Proposal) Process for Your Pharmaceutical Product

This post we will talk about Three Key Points for Writing an Effective RFP, when you seeking help from market research company. A good clear RFP will help us develop the best custom research plan for you.

 

  1. Timeline.  Know when you need it.  Regardless of the product or service being outsourced, you should have a realistic forecast for when you need the deliverables.  Work backward from that date to develop a timeline for writing the RFP and reviewing proposals plus all the other essential activities before the actual work starts.  Don’t forget to include time to sign a Confidentiality Agreement (CDA) with each candidate because CDA’s frequently take a lot of time.  Rushed RFPs and hurried CMO responses are bound to create confusion and misunderstanding.
  2. Scope.  Know what you need.  It’s essential your team has input in preparing the RFP.  Each department or discipline may have different visions for the use, quantity, and quality attributes of the product or service being outsourced.  An effective RFP requests deliverables that accommodate your whole team’s current needs.  Time and money can be wasted if you modify the deliverables after the work has started.
  3. Writing.  You know the ins and outs of your project better than anyone else and everything in the RFP should be covered by CDA, so share info freely.  CMOs have to evaluate your project based on deliverables, timelines, fit with their capabilities and available capacity so they can quote with reasonable accuracy.  Clearly define your deliverables (quantity, quality, batch records, reports, etc.) and timelines.  Include detailed technical data and Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) info.  Ask key questions relevant to your specific project, e.g., about tech transfer, engineering runs, services outsourced to third parties, equipment purchases and qualification, methods development, stability studies, storage and distribution charges, etc, so you form a complete picture of the entire project at each CMO.  Provide contact info for a team member who’s responsible for answering questions about the RFP.  Include a small table at the end of the RFP in which each CMO captures details of quantities, costs, and timelines in a uniform format.  The deadline and delivery address for proposals are essential parts of an effective RFP.  Have team members review the RFP for clarity and accuracy before distribution.  Distributing the RFP in Adobe pdf format adds a professional look and ensures that recipients can access the file.
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Three Tips for Managing a Successful RFP Process

Writing the RFP is only one step in successful outsourcing.  If the RFP is too large for an email attachment, consider CDs, USB sticks or secure file sharing sites instead of hardcopy.

  1. Distribution.  CMOs should receive identical RFPs and all packages should be sent the same day.  Use an overnight delivery service for hardcopy, CDs or USB sticks.
  2. Updates. It’s inevitable someone asks questions not addressed in the RFP.  Updates to one CMO should be sent to all.  If you meet with one to discuss the RFP, you should meet with all.
  3. Due Date.  Set a realistic deadline with all proposals due no later than that date, no exceptions.  Too soon and you’ll get incomplete/inaccurate proposals; too long and your RFP may get buried in the pile.  Three to four weeks is usually a reasonable timeline for proposals, keeping in mind you’re not the CMO’s only customer.  Be sure to mention how you want proposals submitted (hardcopy, CD, USB stick, email or secure file sharing).
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Five Steps for Reviewing Proposals

The due date has arrived and you have received proposals.  One or more CMO’s missed the deadline, so it’s good practice to follow up with them.  Maybe their proposal landed in your spam folder or they didn’t submit it because they can’t perform the requested services on the required timeline.  It’s best to make sure you know this before you move on to making a selection because there may be extenuating circumstances that have prevented these outstanding proposals from being submitted.  You never know – you may be inadvertently excluding a CMO that could be a perfect fit for your project.

Once you have all the proposals in hand, how does your organization go about evaluating and selecting the right CMO for your job?  Here are five steps you can follow that will help you through the selection process:

  1. Read all proposals.  CMOs put time and expertise into writing proposals for you.  Respect their efforts by reading all proposals carefully.  CMOs have different experience and different approaches to your project so you can mine useful tidbits from every proposal.
  2. Create a spreadsheet.  Compile info from the RFP table that each CMO completed for side-by-side comparisons.  Be sure to compare apples.
  3. Price doesn’t rule.  Costs are important but shouldn’t be the defining factor when selecting a partner.  Experience, quality, and timelines are as important as price.
  4. Narrow the list.  Select one or a small number of CMOs for in-depth technical discussions.  Get to know their team.  Are these people you can work with effectively?
  5. Select the finalist.  Based on proposals and in-depth discussions, choose the CMO that best fits your overall project goals.  Be sure to close the loop with CMOs not selected.  Feedback is usually well-received and helps them prepare better proposals for your next project.  Be general in your comments, e.g. timeline too long, and don’t reveal confidential info obtained from any other CMO.