Promotion involves disseminating information about a product, product line, brand, or company. It is one of the four key aspects of the marketing mix. (The other three elements are product marketing, pricing, and place).
“Promotion is all about companies communicating with customers”.
The Marketing promotion of pharmaceutical products is the linchpin of the marketing mix. Promotion is the vehicle by which the product, its price and methods of distribution should be described to the firm’s audience in a way that is both coherent and persuasive. Definition: “what and how markets are informed of the firm’s product, place and price.”
Marketing Promotion, especially advertising, tends to have more glamour than do the other mix components. It is certainly more visible and often appears to be more creative. The other elements are of little value unless their advantages are communicated to those who need to know. On the other hand, promotion cannot long succeed if the other elements of the marketing mix are unsatisfactory.
Marketing Promotion can sell a good promotion or service, but it can not take the place of it or sustain poor products or services for long.
TYPES OF MARKETING PROMOTION:
Promotion is generally subdivided into two parts that are given as figure,
Figure : Types of Marketing Promotion
Above the line promotion:
Promotion in the media (e.g. TV, radio, newspapers, Internet and Mobile Phones) in which the advertiser pays an advertising agency to place the ad.
Below the line promotion:
All other promotion. Much of this is intended to be subtle enough for the consumer to be unaware that promotion is taking place. E.g. sponsorship, product placement, endorsements, sales promotion, merchandising, direct mail, personal selling, public relations, trade shows
Drug promotion method:
The aim of drug promotion is to persuade people to buy more drugs and/or to pay higher prices. This is done by increasing the perceived value of the drug via one or more of several approaches including;
- Increasing the perceived frequency and/or severity of the indications.
- Widening the indications to include more people.
- Increasing the perceived likelihood and magnitude of benefits.
- Decreasing the perceived likelihood and magnitude of harms.
- Increasing the use of the drug of longer durations.
The main aim of promotion is not to inform but to persuade. Consumer goods advertisements rarely convey much information about the feature of the product. Instead the emphasis of much advertising is on associating consumption of the product with positive feeling.
Doctors are the main targets for the promotion activities of drug companies in developing countries. With the power to prescribe and a high status in society and their opinion of a drug very often determines its sales success. It is therefore not surprising that the majority of marketing expenditure by industry leaders go towards direct-to-direct (DTD) promotion.
Health professionals are targeted by companies mainly via medical representatives and advertisements placed in medical journals or brochures that are sent directly to the doctors.
Most of the drug manufacturers try to identify the customers’ behavioral pattern as sophisticated marketing techniques to motivate them to move one or more stages towards repeat use of their drugs. Each move requires motivation and decision making, so drug companies study how to understand human motivation and decision-making.
Communication Strategy in Promotion:
From the above table we find that the main channel alternatives, ranging from non personal to personal, and unpaid to paid. The main activities of pharmaceutical marketing communications namely advertising, personal selling, public relations, and sales promotion, as well as web communications. These activities are collectively called the promotional mix. They have a triple purpose:
1 To provide information,
2 To persuade and
3 To remind.
Furthermore, a communication strategy is the design, planning, implementation, and controlling of integrated communication activities. As the below figure shoes, the strategy is involved with four different aspects of communication, namely, the selection of the message, target, medium, and frequency most suitable to the particular pharmaceutical product.
Figure : Communication strategy of Pharmaceutical product promotion.
MARKETING PROMOTIONAL MIX:
The main elements of the promotional mix have been mentioned as collection of all the promotion activities. Advertising is defined as a non personal, paid communication about an organization, product, or idea by an identified sponsor. Personal selling is direct communication with customers to generate a response and/or a transaction. Public relation is the evaluation of public attitudes and the execution of plans to gain public understanding and acceptance. Furthermore, sales promotion is providing extra value or incentive to customers to purchase a product. The characteristics of each of these promotional channels as they relate to the pharmaceutical marketing are summarized in below table.
Table : communication tactics in promotion mix of pharmaceutical.
Types of Pharmaceutical promotion mix:
There are mainly four types of pharmaceutical promotion mix that are given as figure,
Figure : Elements in Promotional mix.
Above the four promotional tools are the main promotional tools in pharmaceutical promotion mix but there are another two promotional tools in promotion mix that are direct marketing and sponsorship.
Any paid presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor. There are several types of advertisement for example, Print ads, radio, television, billboard, direct mail, brochures and catalogs, signs, in-store displays, posters, motion pictures, Web pages, banner ads, and emails.
Advertising can have a number of objectives; these are given below with figure,
Figure : Objectives of advertising
A process of helping and persuading one or more prospects to purchase a good or service or to act on any idea through the use of an oral presentation. Personal selling involves selling a product or service on a one to one basis. This can either be done face to face or over the phone. If the organization is using a pull strategy to sell the product a sales force will be required to make sure that retail outlets are looked after well, that they have enough stock, are trained well so they can push the product onto the consumer. With a push strategy the sales force will need to try and persuade retail outlets to carry stock of ones product. Examples: Sales presentations, sales meetings, sales training and incentive programs for intermediary salespeople, samples, and telemarketing. Can be face-to-face or via telephone.
Media and non-media marketing communication are employed for a pre-determined, limited time to increase consumer demand, stimulate market demand or improve product availability. The aim of sales promotion is to increase short term sales and increase in-store or web traffic. Examples: Coupons, sweepstakes, contests, product samples, rebates, tie-ins, self-liquidating premiums, trade shows, trade-ins, and exhibitions.
Paid intimate stimulation of supply for a product, service, or business unit by planting significant news about it or a favorable presentation of it in the media. Managing public relations is very important for the organization. Image in marketing is everything. Having a good image helps the organization develop a trust and a bond between themselves and their customers. This good will is invaluable. Examples: Newspaper and magazine articles/reports, TVs and radio presentations, charitable contributions, speeches, issue advertising, and seminars.
Sponsorship is about providing money to an event, in turn the product or company is acknowledged for doing so. For example in different trade show sponsors all the arranging cost or part of the cost to that show.
The aim of direct marketing is to create one to one relationships with the organizations target market. Direct marketing can come in the form of post, email, telephone calls and mail order. The company usually contacts a named person at the address.
Viral marketing occurs when consumers pass on or recommend your product/company/website to others. This could be via email, or bulletin boards or word of mouth. There have been many well known online viral marketing campaigns. These include The Blair Witch Project and the establishment of Hotmail as a leading free email provider.
Criteria for determining promotion mix in pharmaceutical companies:
There are several factors that affect the promotional mix are given as figure,
Figure : Factors affect in promotional mix.
The product factor that influence the promotional mix of pharmaceutical products are given below,
1 Nature of product
In deciding the proper promotional mix it should consider the nature of the product because the promotional tools and strategy differ from product to product.
2 Risk/benefit relationship
In risk and benefit relationship here the firm should consider and measure the risk and benefit relationship of the product.
3 Degree of exploration required for successful use
If there is excessive promotion or less promotion for promoting a product then there should be degree of exploration required for successful use.
4 Potential for demonstration.
If there is no potential for demonstration of the promotional tools then the promotional budget will face in loss. So there should be considering the potential for demonstration.
The major market factor that should consider in setting promotional tools for pharmaceutical product are given as below,
a. Position in the life cycle
Before deciding the promotional mix of pharmaceutical companies there should be consider the position of the product in its lifecycle. If the product is at its introduction and growth stage then the promotional budget should increase. On the other hand if the product is at maturity and decline stage then the promotion should be decrease or in constant rate.
b. Market share
In deciding the promotional mix the firm should decide the market share of the product. If it wants more market share then the promotional mix should increase.
c. Industry concentration
The promotional mix varies from industry to industry. For example the promotional tools for pharmaceutical industry and the promotional tools for mobile industry are not same.
d. Intensity of competition
If there is more competition among the companies then the promotional tools should be meaningful on the other hand the company will lose its market share.
e. Demand perspectives
If the market has a low demand then the promotional tools do not play vital role for increasing the sales of the company. On the other hand if there is high demand in the market then there should be more promotional tools for acquiring more market share.
f. Generic competition
The manager of any company should consider the generic competition of the industry. In generic competition the firm also needs to consider the position of the firm in the market,
Customer is the king of any types of company. In terms of promotional mix of pharmaceutical company the firm should consider some customer factor that are given as below,
Hospital or drug store
In terms of pharmaceutical promotional tools the company should consider from where the customer will collect their product.
Here the firm should consider the bargaining power of the product. In terms of pharmaceutical product here the bargaining power of customer is lower than other types of product.
Physical distribution considerations
In pharmaceutical promotion the firm should consider the physical distribution system of the firm.
In any types of promotion in pharmaceutical products there are some rules and regulations that should be consider.
Social climate is one of the most effective factors that influence the promotional tools in pharmaceutical companies.
Financial resources of the organization
All the activities of any organization depend on financial position of that organization. In terms of pharmaceutical promotion the firm should consider the financial resources of the organization.
Traditional promotional perspectives
Promotional tools are those gift items and other incentives provided to those who are involved with that product purchase and sell. So the pharmaceutical company should consider the traditional promotional perspective of the company’s product.
Market mix factors:
Relative price/relative quality
In terms of pharmaceutical promotional mix there should be consider the relative price of the product and also the relative quality of the product.
MARKETING PROMOTION TOOLS USED BY BIOPHARMA LABORATORIES LTD:
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. use different types of promotion tools that are given as below,
Figure 5.6: Promotional mix of Biopharma Laboratories Ltd.
Advertisements used by Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. are given as below.
In pharmaceutical industry it is strictly maintain some rules and regulations for printed advertisement. Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. use some printed materials for their advertisement for example printed advertisement for medicine store and RMP chamber and also some place where all the activities are surround to pharmacy.
In terms of printed advertisement Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. use several media for their printed advertisement that are given as below,
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. provides its advertisement in newspaper in terms of recruiting new employee most of the time for recruiting MPO. As of government rules and regulation no pharmaceutical company can not display their product advertisement through newspaper. So the company provides newspaper advertisement when it published any vacancy announcement.
In terms of pharmacy related magazine Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. provides advertisement in that magazine. Here the company can provide an overview of the company and also the product catalogue.
With the help of medical journal most of the pharmaceutical company provides their advertisement and also try to involve with that magazine. Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. involved them in publishing such types of journal and provides information for their customers.
d. Show card
Show card are one type of broachers that are given by the company to its drug promoter to get knowledge about the new and upcoming product. Show card also help the firm to increase the sales of the company.
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. sometimes use direct mail as a tools for promoting their product both in country and in foreign market. They mail to the doctor, and other party in foreign market who are involved in trading pharmaceutical product.
Brochures and Catalogs:
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. use brochures and catalogs for introducing their product in new market. They provide catalog which contain the product name and price and also contains overall information about the product. These types of promotional material are widely used in international marketing. As brochures and catalogue Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. use leaflet and show card.
At present Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. use in-store promotion for promoting their product. In in-store promotion here Biopharma convince the pharmacy owner and take space in shelf for placing the Biopharma Laboratories Ltd.’s product.
In several trade show and product inauguration ceremony and launching new or existing product in international market Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. use posters as tools for promoting the products.
Now a day’s online advertisement is widely used for promoting pharmaceutical products. Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. has its own website for promoting their products and also places their product in some sites for exploring new international market.
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. uses banner in several pharmacy and sometimes they use banner ad for increasing public awareness in several issue and also they use banner ads in several trade shows and also promote their products in international market.
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. uses e-mail as a tool for promoting their products. Through e-mail Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. mail doctors and pharmacists and also foreign delegates in several occasions.
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. arranges sales presenting in several times with their Medical Promotion Offices and it also helps the MPO to explore new tactics for promoting the company products.
Sales meeting is one of the effective means of promotion. Company arrange sales meeting with the MPO, regional sales manager, and employee of the sales department and the employee of PMD. Through sales meeting the company gives incentive to the successful sales personal and the successful MPO of the year and this types of program motivate other employee of the company and they always try to improve or increase the company sales.
Sales Training and Incentive Programs for Intermediary Salespeople:
Many company use training as a promotion tool. Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. use training as an effective tools of promotion. As a means of promotion Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. train up to its MPO, RMP, doctors and pharmacy owner. Training arranged by Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. are given as below,
a. Training to MPO
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. provide training to its Medical Promotion Officer (MPO) to provide better knowledge about the new and existing medicine of the company product and the product from the competitors. Through the training the company also teaches their MPO’s new technique about promoting the company product at the same time increase the sales of the company.
b. Training to RMP
To promote the company product the company arranges training to the Rural Medicine Practitioner (RMP) to get introduce them to the invention of the company product and also how they prescribe their patient in different types of diseases. Those types of activities attract more to the RMP and they prescribe or provide the company product to their customer.
c. Training to doctors’
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. arranges frequent training for the doctors to introduce their product to the doctor. Through those types of promotion the company able to get attention from doctors and those types of promotion activity increases the prescription of the company’s product.
d. Training to pharmacy shop keeper
Sometimes Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. arrange training for the pharmacy shop keeper to get attention of them and the company train to those people about how they protect medicine from hamper, how they assort the medicine in their store, and how they find out the medicine in a very short time.
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. provides some incentives and gift items for promoting their products to doctor, clinic, hospital, pharmacy, MPO and RMP. The incentive given to the intermediary sales people are given as below,
The widely used gift item in pharmaceutical promotion is pen. Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. use over 100 types of pen to promote its product in market to the chemist, doctors, consultant, RMP, and other people who are involved with pharmaceutical distribution.
Pad is a widely used promotional material for promoting every new and existing product with the basic information of the product. Sometimes the pad is printed for the RMP to prescribe their patient and it helps doctors to get knowledge overview about the product. Pad also work as a gift item for the pharmacy store and also the MPO of the company.
Diary is other type of promotion used to promote the company as well as the company product. In diary the company name and addressed is provided at the top of it. Diary is provided to the high satisfied or high involved people of the organization.
In pharmaceutical promotion their used several types of calendar to promote the company product as well as the company itself. The main types of calendar that are provided as a tool for pharmaceutical promotion are pocket calendar, wall calendar, and table calendar. The entire calendars are printed with the company name, logo and the head office address. Calendar is provided to clinic, hospital, medical center, doctors’ room, pharmacy store, and RMP chamber.
e. Key ring
Key ring is other types of promotion tools widely used in pharmaceutical industry. Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. widely uses this gift items to introduce its new product in the market and also the existing product.
T-shirt is rarely used in pharmaceutical promotion. But some companies now use t-shirt to promote their product. With the help of t-shirt the company uses its product name and logo of that company they promote their product.
Mug is mainly provides to the doctors, RMP, pharmacy, and the MPO of the company. The mug is designed with the product name and also the company logo.
h. Wall clock
Wall clock is provided to different pharmacy store, medical center, hospital, clinic, and RMP with a purpose of promoting the company product as well as promoting the company itself.
Bag is other types of promotion tools used by pharmaceutical company in our country and also used by Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. Bag is mainly provide to MPO, Internee doctor, RMP, and prescribe of the company product.
j. Paper weight
Paper weight is provided to the doctors and RMP with the name of the product and the logo of the company to promote the product at the same time to improve the image of the company.
There are also other gift items provided by Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. but they do not mentioned because those gift items are confidential.
In pharmaceutical promotion sample is widely used and most of the time sample cost the highest for promoting a new or existing product. In terms of sample the company provides free medicine to the doctors and the RMP and also to hospital and clinic to prescribe their product and at the same time it also use this tools to capture more market share in the pharmaceutical industry. Sample is the most effective way for promoting a new product.
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. sometimes uses telemarketing in terms of promoting their products in international market. This method is not widely use in the pharmaceutical product promotion.
The sales promotion tools used by Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. are given as below,
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. sometimes arranges contests among the MPO for selling more product in a specific region or in international market and provide incentives for those who win in the contest.
Product sample is one of the widely used promotional tools used in pharmaceutical product promotion. Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. provides samples to doctors, hospitals, clinics and RMP to prescribe their products. There are some requirements in samples that are given as below:
- Samples requires state licensing of wholesale distributors include minimum standards of storage, handling, and record keeping.
- It bans the re-importation of drugs product in other countries when re-imported by the manufacturer or for emergency use.
- It bans the sale, trade, of purchase of drug samples.
- It bans trafficking in or counterfeiting of drug coupons.
- It requires practitioners to ask for drug samples in writing.
- It prohibits, with certain exceptions, the resale of drugs purchased by hospitals or health-care facilities.
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. sometimes provide rebate to some clinic, pharmacy, hospital or RMP to increase the sales or prescription of their products.
Trade show is the most effective promotion tools for promoting the company product in international market. Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. attends different trade show arranged by Bangladesh govt. or Export Promotion Bureau or Bangladesh Ousad Shilpa Shamiti and other country. Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. attend most of the trade show in country of abroad relating to pharmaceutical and this help them to promote their product.
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. attend most of the exhibitions held both in home or abroad and also they get more export orders from that exhibitions and it is considered as a tools for promoting the products in international market.
In pharmaceutical product promotion the public relation tools used by Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. are given as below,
Newspaper and Magazine Articles/Reports
Sometimes Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. use magazines for publishing articles and report related to their growth or their product in several pharmaceutical related magazines and it helps them to create a strong relationship with those who use these types of product.
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. sometimes donate or provide money or other items to help the society in any types of natural calamity or other disasters and it is referred as charitable contribution that creates a strong public relation.
Sometimes there prevails some social issue which is harmful for the society and in that time there need some consciousness in that situation Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. use issue advertisement for promoting their own company and creates strong public relation. For example achieving consciousness for Soain Flue.
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. arrange several seminars targeted to the doctors, pharmacy owner, clinic worker, hospital worker and RMP for developing their skill to inform them in several issue for using several medicine or some special moment situation and all these help Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. to create a strong public relation in society.
In times Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. arrange conference with foreigner to increase the export of the company product. On the other hand the company arranges conference with the renounce doctors to promote the company product and at the same time they arrange conference with the MPO and RMP to promote the company product.
Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. arrange reception programs for internee doctors and sometimes foreigner who are visited to Bangladesh to know about the pharmaceutical sector of Bangladesh and also want to import medicine from Bangladesh and this types of program helps the company to expand the export market. These types of program help Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. to increase the public relations in market.
From the above promotion tools Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. uses seasonal promotional tools for increasing the sales of the company,
Several month the demand for medicine increase and some month demand for medicine decreases. As the increase and decrease of demand Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. use two types of promotion namely off season promotion and peak season promotion.
a. Off season promotion
In off season promotion here the demand for medicine is lower than other period of the year. Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. increases the promotion in this season so that they can hold the demand of the peak season. If the company hold the demand of peak season in off season then the demand of peak season also increase.
b. Peak season promotion.
In peak season the demand for medicine is high and most of the pharmaceutical company are very much conscious about new market and gain the maximum market share in the market. So as the demand of medicine is higher than that of other month here Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. uses different special promotion program to keep pace with the market. Here the company increases its promotion budget to get more market share.
Promotion and its effect on sales:
Sales of Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. varies from month to month and due to promotion has a great contribution on sales of Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. product. The sales and advertising expense of Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. in 2009 are given as below,
Sales in Lac
Table : Monthly sales and advertisement expense.
From the above table we find that the sales of Biopharma Laboratories Ltd in 2009, that at August and September sales has the height position. We can show it figure,
On the other hand the advertisement expense of Biopharma Laboratories Ltd. also depends on month to month sales increase and decrease. On the other hand in one month promotional expenses are not fully expensed some are remained and those are expensed in next month. So the actual expend of the year that is month to month are shown in below figure,
With the help of figure we can compare the relationship of sales and promotion expense of Biopharma Laboratories Ltd.
The effect of promotion on sales are shown below,
|% change due|
The promotional planning process involves the following activities,
- Identify target audience,
- Determine desired response
- Decide on the message
- Select media, and
- Evaluate responses.
A promotional campaign’s target audiences may include academic professors, prescribers, hospital administrators, pharmacists, nurses, patients, the media, and the general public. Identifying the exact audience requires a thorough knowledge of customer needs, market characteristics, competitive activities, and the product’s own characteristics. Thus, the collection of secondary and primary data is paramount to this decision. Furthermore, the selection of a push versus a pull approach, the customers’ adoption stage, and the product life cycle are some of the important aspects of target audience selection.
Determining each audience’s desired response also comes from the knowledge of their needs, wants, and purchasing behaviors. Multifunctional teams of a pharmaceutical organization, including marketing, sales, market research, and medical marketing professionals should evaluate these responses with each member. Deciding on promotional messages is also related to the customers, market, product characteristics, and promotional objectives. The latter may be image building, the product’s differentiation or positioning, or a direct customer response.