Trilogy Tidings
May 2015
in this issue

     The ways you attack medical market research depend upon your goals and available tools. I point you to two recent articles as helpful examples. In the first case we examine why B2B (business-to-business) research -- and particularly medical market research -- is more challenging than B2C research. In the second case we examine a basic research framework for choosing to enter emerging markets. 


Conducting Research in Medical Domains          

     I was motivated to write about this topic after reading a recent article by Mark Towery in Quirk's Marketing Research Review. Towery lays it on a little thick and takes some extreme positions, but I generally agree with most of his major points.

KOL Research

     As usual, my context will be medical market/technology/competitive research. Here's why that brand of industrial medical research is more challenging than B2C studies:

  1. You need to know more going in. You need to bring an awareness of product applications, technologies, and business implications to the table. Otherwise, the dialogs will go right over your head.
  2. You need to find and capture the right respondents. Sometimes these are front-line workers, sometimes they are medical experts. Money is not a sufficient motivator. They must have a vested interest in the topic.
  3. If you're not a strategist, forget it. You must understand your own business and its relationship to the market of interest. Every inquiry is unique and has a business purpose. That purpose must be understood and the inquiry conducted within that context.
  4. If you're not analytical, you will be led astray. Things can get complex and messy in a hurry. Findings are sometimes surprising. The topic of interest may change in mid-stream.
  5. Maintain your focus on the content and the context. Don't get caught up in complicated research methods and statistics. Insight is more important than numbers.
  6. Engage the right folks -- whether they be staffers or outside consultants. Shoot for a combination of strategic focus and a demonstrated ability to devise and effectively ask the right questions.
Choosing and Entering Emerging Markets           

     You may find  another article in Quirk's periodical to be a helpful framework for setting some guidelines on entering emerging markets, now a nearly indispensible pathway to business expansion. The article, written by Sarah Boumphrey, is clearly focused on consumer markets, but I found it easy to reinterpret for medical and laboratory domains.

Emerging Markets

     Sarah lays out a framework of four "pillars" that research teams can investigate when a supplier is looking to enter an emerging market. I've added a medical/laboratory slant:

  1. Market Assessment. This includes macroeconomic stability, market size and growth. Is the country sizeable and stable? Is foreign investment welcome? What are the current per capita levels of healthcare spending? What's the competitive profile in the specific market of interest?
  2. Popular Appeal. What are the population's size, growth rate, age distribution, and geographical distribution? What's the level of unmet healthcare needs?
  3. Market Entry. How are patients currently accessed? What's the healthcare infrastructure? Are suitable partners qualified and available?
  4. Business Environment. What are the practicalities of doing business, the regulatory environment, corruption levels, and available workforce skills? What's the cost of labor, and how rapidly is it growing?

     Ms. Boumphrey also offers some interesting comparisons between two of the obvious targets - China and India - as well as a surprising difference in healthcare spending between two countries in South America. Her framework can serve as an important starting point for offshoring decisions. 

What does Trilogy do? 
     Trilogy Associates facilitates business growth and renewal through commercialization of new products, providing the following services:
  • Opportunity assessment
  • Business planning and enterprise growth strategies
  • New-product conceptualization, commercialization and marketing
  • Market research and competitive assessment
  • Business development and partnering
  • Market and technological due diligence
  • Assessment of the therapeutic and diagnostic potential of novel technologies
  • Design of efficient and effective development strategies for early-stage biomedical products
  • Business and technical writing/publishing

     Inquiries to establish whether and how we might support your business initiatives are always welcome.  Contact us.

Resources from our Archives 
     Check out our Reading Room to view my published articles, presentations and white papers on a variety of topics.
     And, you can examine an archive of my prior newsletters (since February 2007).
Contact Information
Joseph J. Kalinowski, Principal