MDMessageTRAC service tracks what a brand's competition is doing

As pharma marketers spend more on digital promotions, their value rises for competitive intel

Dunn Group (Totowa, NJ) which has provided custom competitive-intelligence services (CIS) for life sciences marketers going back to the late 1980s, is introducing a new CIS tool: MDMessageTRAC. The product is customized in that it is media- and therapeutic-class-specific, but standardized in that it uses essentially the same methodology for each client: soliciting a panel of physicians, and then obtaining direct feedback from them, on a schedule, for what messaging and promotional materials pharma reps are showing them. Physicians on such panels receive a stipend from Dunn Group.

Although a fairly straightforward research method, this service has not been offered previously, says Stuart Friedman, Dunn president. The growth of digital media presentations, such as those presented on interactive tablets like iPads, might be a factor; as more pharma marketers invest more resources in these presentations, their CIS value increases. The benefits are obvious, he says: Product or brand managers can get rapid feedback on what their competitors are saying about them, and what messages make the strongest impact on physicians observing these presentations.

Analysts working within Dunn receive the physician feedback and then synthesize a report summarizing key trends; Friedman says this contrasts with automated systems tracking--for example, online messaging activity or social media channels. (However, companies in that business also claim a high degree of fidelity to what the buzz about a product is.) A client helps Dunn set up the program by providing its own information on key opinion leaders or prescribers that could be on the panels. Costs are in the mid-five-figure range for an annual service that would provide a number of “cycles,” or update periods, such as monthly or quarterly.