The product portfolio of a major global pharmaceutical company includes an oral antiviral product for the prevention of influenza. In the 2 years prior to this project, their inventory of this product was committed to filling key government contracts for pandemic planning. In subsequent years, however, manufacturing capacity was expected to catch up with demand. The client was seeking to characterize and size the opportunity in 6 potential nontraditional market segments for antivirals:
- Public stockpiling by local governments, the Department of Defense, and nongovernmental organizations.
- Private stockpiling for healthcare workers in institutions and hospitals, employees at corporations, and healthcare workers in private physician offices and nonhospital, nongovernmental clinics.
Unlike most pharmaceutical markets, no audit or other secondary data were available for these segments, with the exception of a Conference Board report of a survey of pandemic planning conducted among private physicians’ office practices in the United States. In addition, based on preliminary research of opportunities for the client’s antiviral product, the 6 segments identified by the client did not cover several important avenues for stockpiling antivirals, such as nonhospital and nonfire emergency medical services (EMS), long-term care, and visiting nurses and home healthcare. Further complicating the assignment was an initial due date 3 weeks from approval of the project.
A research plan was designed for each market segment, reflecting the size, nature of the audience, and timeframe for the project. For this project, Cello Health Advantage used their proprietary Matrix Intelligence Process®, a system of analyzing and synthesizing multiple inputs into a concise set of learnings and recommendations. The Matrix Intelligence Process for this project was as follows:
For the 3 new segments identified by Cello Health Advantage, a proposal was submitted to conduct a limited number of qualitative in-depth interviews with decision makers in those segments (designated as “other” in the schematic above) to better understand opportunities in each segment. Based on those limited interviews and secondary data, forecasts of potential purchases of antivirals were also created for the 3 added segments.
Cello Health Advantage designed all research tools, profiled and recruited respondents, conducted the interviews, and prepared the report. To meet the deadline while maintaining high-quality deliverables, a number of strategies were implemented:
- Learnings available from the first 3 segments were sequentially delivered at the client’s weekly team meetings, allowing those on the team to immediately utilize the findings.
- Cello Health Advantage senior personnel attended all weekly internal team meetings with this product team at the client, maintaining a strong and dynamic knowledge base and understanding of the marketplace challenges facing the team.
- The number of research analysts on the internal team at Cello Health Advantage was doubled from the usual staffing for a project of this size.
- Daily communications were maintained with the client, both by telephone and e-mail, particularly since the client requested that he review and approve only a minimal number of key documents (eg, research tools).
- The usual Cello Health Advantage procedure of allowing the key client contact to preview results prior to presentation to a broader team was, with client approval, eliminated from this project.
For each segment, Cello Health Advantage delivered qualitative information on the awareness, concerns, and preparedness of that segment for pandemic influenza planning, as well as information on how and when that segment would order antivirals, and which distribution channels each segment would likely use, should they choose to stockpile product.
Cello Health Advantage used the research findings to create assumptions on current and future use, trends in use, and a forecast of the potential units that could be sold in that segment for the next 2 years. Spreadsheets were created in Microsoft Excel for each segment, allowing the client to change the assumptions as needed.
An example of the forecasts delivered follows (note that 4 options were provided for the segment share that the client’s product could potentially realize):
The final deliverables to the client included:
- A 112-slide “top-line” presentation.
- A 141-slide “complete” presentation, with all backup and details collected in the research.
- A 24-page narrative report of key learnings.
- Eight Microsoft Excel files (the sizing worksheets).
- Detailed target lists created by Cello Health Advantage and used to recruit for the following segments: corporations, local governments, and nongovernmental organizations.
- A bibliography of full citations for the 177 individual sources used in preparation of the report.
- Final copies of all research tools used in the project, including discussion guides for the internal interviews, and screeners, recruiting scripts, discussion guides, and surveys used with the 9 segments.
- Copies of the thought leader interviews on CDs (blinded).
All segment reports and a final consolidated report were delivered within 5 weeks of the assignment—an extension approved by the client for this and another simultaneous project in a related category. Interestingly, feedback from the client on the parallel project in the other category indicated that Cello Health Advantage would be the preferred subcontractor for subsequent work in the other category because the competing subcontractor had not provided the data and detail that the client sought for planning purposes.
The follow-up assignment for that other category was promptly awarded to Cello Health Advantage.