Bringing a new drug to market in the EU can push some biopharmaceutical companies to the limits of their marketing capabilities. Market entry, commercialization, and adoption strategies vary dramatically among member countries and market strategies need to be adapted to suit the culture, language, regulations, and healthcare industry for every country and regulatory body. This can be challenging for companies accustomed to taking a single-market strategy approach or those unaccustomed to launching new therapies in the EU.

Success in the EU requires biopharmaceutical companies to have a central broad-ranging value proposition for the product that is tailored to the specificities of each healthcare system so that it resonates with multiple audiences and is deployed in a way that is most appealing to each market. This requires teams to be able to sensibly segment the various target audiences, identify which attributes of the product’s value proposition they are most likely to respond to, and deliver messages in a compelling way at the right time, through the preferred channels of the audience and in an integrated manner.

Once these processes are customized to the market segments, organizations then need to bring it all back together – coordinating all of the unique market strategies through a single management system so that each effort is part of a broader EU access scheme. Such coordination enables effective measurement and management of different markets in order to maximize impact in as lean an approach as possible as well as enabling real-time analysis of the impacts of the different approaches across markets to refine the commercialization strategy. The most effective companies establish two-way information flows between local teams and the governance body to gather feedback from the different customer groups about what they see as the key benefits of the product in each market, and how commercialization strategies need to be adjusted to improve results.

Data, analytics and information-sharing can further help to inform a coordinated commercial deployment model with better alignment to decision-makers and across different teams, which will in turn produce knowledge to refine the strategy.

Culture change required

Such market customization efforts can be achieved in-house if the biopharma company has the culture, resources and ambition to adapt long-held commercialization processes for a custom-market approach. It will only work however, if they are willing to break down internal silos to ensure effective information flows and robust knowledge management; and if organizational leaders and their teams are both willing and able to respond to the intelligence gathered.

Alternatively, many smaller biopharma companies, and those that have neither the will nor the ability to adapt their broad strategies for a multi-market environment, choose instead to partner with other industry experts who already have the network, experience, and customized processes in place to introduce new products across the EU’s myriad market conditions. Such outsourcing relationships may provide these companies with the expertise, access, and infrastructure they need to bring new treatments to key decision makers, and increases the potential value that can be derived from the lucrative EU marketplace.