Planning a Tracking Study: Aligning Marketing and Market Research Teams

In an increasingly competitive landscape, pharmaceutical companies are required to assess the performance of their sales and marketing activities to ensure product performance aligns with sales targets. Aligning marketing and market research teams to plan and conduct relevant tracking studies plays a crucial role in this process.

Align Marketing and Market Research Teams Tracking Studies

Working with a market research agency to implement a relevant and agile performance is a determining factor in detecting the impact of a new marketing campaign as early as possible, and in being able to quickly adjust the strategy if necessary.

In order to translate your marketing team’s objectives into the most pertinent KPIs, marketing and market research teams must be aligned on two fundamental questions:

1) What is the aim of the research?

2) Who are the end users of the research?

It is critical to select relevant indicators that objectify and explain performance, and ultimately aid strategic decision making across departments.

What is the aim of the research? 

For example, a pharmaceutical marketing team needs to monitor the evolution of brand perception of a product launched a year ago.

The ultimate reasons for conducting market research should then be specified. Specific objectives could be to: 

  • Reassure current prescriber base by identifying how to strengthen their preference for the product 
  • Expand the prescriber base by identifying which levers to use to influence or convert Non-prescribers (definition of the research context) 
  • Measure the impact of current communication 
  • Research new lines of communication (test the impact) 
  • Measure performance in the predefined competitive context 
  • Identify other growth opportunities

Alternatively, if the marketing team wants to know the actual treatment duration in real life associated with a product, it's important to determine the usage of the end results.

For instance, the tracking results could be utilized to: 

  • Readjust the product communication aimed at prescribers 
  • Establish a production estimate 
  • Direct promotion towards indications generating greater sales volume 

Defining the global business goal of the research, in terms of actions and decision-making, is essential to efficiently reveal the resulting indicators and methodology. One marketing objective could lead to the implementation of a research program consisting of multiple modules with different targets.

To illustrate, a pharmaceutical or med-tech company preparing to market a new oral treatment for T2 diabetes patients needs to make the following decisions:

  • Is it preferable to focus all promotional efforts on endocrinologists/diabetologists, or should part of the marketing budget also be devoted to general practitioners?  
  • What is the relative weight of specialists and general practitioners in future sales (source of business)? 

Pharmaceutical and med-tech companies should consider all the information available to them and plan a multi-stage project to answer these interrogations. The project would first aim to identify and characterize the potential prescribers/decision-makers and then measure their relative weight in driving product prescriptions. 

Who are the end users of the research? 

Let’s take the example of a marketing team needing to monitor doctor satisfaction regarding their pharmaceutical company. 

It is important to know who the end user of the results will be; possibilities include: 

  • Salesforce to maximize the organization of sales rep visits, 
  • Product marketing department to adjust promotional tools, 
  • Corporate communication department to roll out appropriate action and communication plans 
  • Local affiliate or international team

The end-user of the research influences: 

  • The type of information to be collected 
  • The level of detail regarding information to be collected
  • The format of the results

Assessing the relevance of an indicator for a tracking study 

A relevant indicator needs to objectify and explain performance. Above all, it is simple, specific, measurable and actionable information. It evaluates the degree of change obtained through a series of actions that are aimed at achieving a specific objective. 

  • It is simple and can be easily repeated over time 
  • It is measurable and can be standardized and compared (between two measurements or between competitors) 

By assessing past performance, reflecting trends, and defining future objectives, this indicator will feed the marketing plan. Whether assessing awareness, market share, brand equity, satisfaction, prescriber share, the market penetration rate of a target population, a pertinent indicator can be characterized as being a critical factor in estimating performance.

An indicator is relevant when it allows you to: 

  • Measure differences against competitors or objectives 
  • Track momentum -e.g., the product is moving in the right direction
  • Envision the actions needed to achieve your goals


Our latest eBook Performance Trackers: Creating a winning brief for your tracking study is now available to download now for free.

The eBook covers the following topics:

  • Aligning stakeholder objectives

  • Organising a successful RFP

  • Writing a winning brief

  • Selecting a market research agency


Read the Performance Trackers eBook