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Marketing and Branding a Healthcare-Related product
Marketing and Branding Lipitor
Target markets, branding, marketing strategy, execution and product positioning all directly contribute to the market share and profitability of a product. In the marketing and selling of healthcare related products, brands must communicate a viable and realistic solution t a patient's condition to be seen with credibility and trust (Angelmar, Angelmar, Kane, 2007). The intent of this analysis is to evaluate the marketing strategies of Lipitor, a best-selling drug of Pfizer Corporation used for treating high cholesterol and its related heart disease effects. This drug generated $10.7B in the company's latest fiscal year according to their annual report and is also considered one of the top-selling drugs throughout the entire pharmaceutical industry. Beginning with an analysis of the Lipitor target market, and progressing through their branding strategies, analysis of product success and recommendations for future marketing strategies, this paper provides a framework for understanding the Lipitor brand and managing it to success for the future.
Lipitor Target Market Analysis
A target market is defined as a group of potential customers that a business will concentrate their efforts to sell their products and services to, using a wide variety of techniques to attract, sell and serve them. In the health care products and services industries, target markets can be comprised of people with specific medical conditions (Angelmar, Angelmar, Kane, 2007) or through the use of demographics and psychographics, which is the study of how consumers group themselves by common interests (Leeflang, Wieringa, 2010). Target markets rarely stay the same throughout the lifecycle of a given product, often changing both in structure and unmet needs. Target markets also change how they choose to learn about products often, which translates into a continual challenge for marketers to stay current on how prospective customers are preferring to get and use product information (Krion, Shockley, 2011). The target market for Lipitor is shown in Figure 1. This analysis was completed using the Quantcast.com, an online analytics service that translates clickstream data and visits into demographic profiles (Raab, 2011). As can be seen from the graphic, the majority of Lipitor customers are women over 50 years of age, the majority of which are Caucasian with no children and making less than $30,000 a year. Members of the primary target market also do not have college educations.
Figure 1: Target Market Analysis of Lipitor using Quantcast.com methodology and tools
Lipitor's primary target market was specifically chosen due to their conditions of high blood pressure and cholesterol levels that were considered harmful by their physicians. As Lipitor is prescribed by physicians and monitored as part of treatment programs, Pfizer had to create an exceptionally strong brand to get members of the target market to specifically request this drug. Studies have shown that physicians in 70% of cases will recommend the drug that has an incentive associated with it, including additional free samples, a price break on quantities of the drug, and many other programs drug companies use to sway their recommendations (Black, 2005). That is why branding is so critical to reach the target market for not only Lipitor but for all Pfizer products. The same study showed that physicians were successful in changing patients' minds only 15% of the time, which shows just how powerful branding is for setting the foundation of customer loyalty and lifetime customer value (Black, 2005). In selecting this target market, Pfizer realized from clickstream analysis that they were key influencers over their families and friends, and therefore every dollar sent communicating with them would have a multiplicative effect (Krion, Shockley, 2011).
This strategy of defining a target market also shows how the decisions, issues and questions relied on for choosing a target market need to also be balanced with the key influencers and sources of world-of-mouth recommendation as well
(Angelmar, Angelmar, Kane, 2007). It isn't enough to just define a target market using demographics, psychographics or in the case of healthcare products, health conditions. What the focus also needs to be on is who the influencers are in the target market, how their trust can be earned and kept, and how the marketer can create the right foundation for their continual endorsement of the brand. This approach to selecting and managing a target market also is predicated on its relative growth of sales over time, with the potential to correspondingly increase the sales of products as well. All of these factors need to be taken into account when selecting and managing a target market.
Analyzing The Lipitor Brand
A brand is by definition the name, symbols, graphics and imagery including key messages that distinguish and differentiate one product or service from another. It is the unique identity and persona of a given product or service. The most powerful aspects of healthcare and pharmaceutical brands is the potential to be the trusted source and advisor for alleviating conditions and medical challenges patients have (Griffiths, 2008). Of all industries, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies face the greatest challenge of all in winning and keeping customer trust, while also continually adding new drugs and treatments to their product portfolios (Black, 2005).
The Lipitor brand is the best-known cholesterol treatment drug globally today, and its branding messages concentrate on being a trusted advisor of information on preventing and treating heart disease. The Lipitor messaging and marketing concentrate on the preventative aspects of care, providing valuable content on how to avert major heart disease risk and cut cholesterol through activity and exercise. True to the branding goal of being a trusted advisor, Lipitor has nearly 30% of its website and online properties dedicated to the detection and prevention of heart disease. The direct selling message is defined in the form of a recommendation to the patient to ask their doctor about Lipitor. There are many downloadable tests and documents that can also be used by the public to also show the value of a healthy lifestyle. All of these elements are used for further communicating and strengthening the role of the brand as a trusted advisor. The messaging and text is subdued and serious, focused on being seen as credible as well.
The branding works for the target market as they influence their husbands and other members of their demographic group to try the drug and become loyal to it. This is clearly evidenced by the $10.7B in sales this drug generates annually according to the Pfizer annual report. The images the company uses to promote the brand further associate responsibility for health, often showing men and women together over 50 enjoying sports activities. Figure 2 shows a screen capture from a recent television ad that Lipitor ran. The link to the commercial is below Figure 2. This commercial underscores no matter what you look like on the outside, it is your cholesterol that matters most.
Figure 2: Recent Lipitor Commercial
By using a glamorous woman character in their ad, Pfizer is hoping to further associate the Lipitor brand with the key influencers and decision makers in their target market. The approach to showing quantitative feedback is pervasive throughout Pfizer advertisements across all drug lines as they have found that the greater the precision of their marketing message, the better the result (Black, 2005). The heavy use of quantitative data also underscores they are a trusted advisor for treating conditions, which is a key foundational element of condition-based marketing and the building of a condition brand (Angelmar, Angelmar, Kane, 2007).
Assessing Lipitor's Success Rate
According to the latest financial statements filed by Pfizer Corporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Lipitor generated $10.7B in revenues in their latest full fiscal year. In addition, the average gross contribution margin of Lipitor is 82%, also obtained from their financial statements. This translates into $8.7B in gross…[continue]
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