Sanobar Syed

Market Forecasting: Solving the Problems of Too Little or Too Much Data

By Sanobar Syed
Sanobar Syed

Market research and forecasting help ensure that you are investing in a device or drug that is needed and will be well received. In this article, Sanobar Syed, Associate Director of Forecasting, Market Insights and Strategies, BeiGene, highlights strategies to support data collection for forecasting in emerging markets.

Reaching new patients often requires expansion into new geographies, which requires accurate market research and forecasting to understand the local international market you are seeking to enter. To successfully conduct market research and forecasting in international markets, pharmaceutical and MedTech organizations need an in-depth understanding of the environment in which they are planning to operate, and this can be tricky as many lack reliable data intelligence.

Often companies are faced with limited data or, thanks to the explosion of AI and other data collection technologies, vast amounts of data that can be difficult to sort through and analyze within a reasonable timeframe. This has made many organizations data rich but insight poor. Symptoms of being data rich and insight poor include the use of an abundance of indicators and the predominant use of a variety of retrospective medical and sales data from various sources.

When faced with limited data, custom market research can plug some of the gaps in knowledge and help marketers make more effective strategic decisions. The healthcare landscape in emerging markets is complex and often does not follow a structured drug approval process, as compared to the developed markets. Carrying out market research in these regions requires not only a strong understanding of the local healthcare environment but also an awareness of cultural and behavioral nuances.

Effective forecasting in these markets requires collaboration between the business, HCP’s, research consultants and the use of life-science technologies to ensure a seamless integration.

Who to Include?

Companies should invest in obtaining adequate sample sizes to make sure your data is representative of the target population. Pharma customers today include various types of consumers, including but not limited to doctors, pharmacists, hospitals, patients, and caregivers. Sample size should include all potential customers. In increasingly competitive times, it’s also important to consider payors in your market research. Payors from the public sector will differ the payors in the private sector. Hence it is crucial to consider both in the sample mix.

Innovative Data Collection Techniques

While surveys are a great place to start when it comes to gathering data, it is important to expand your network to ensure that data collection is done at various aggregate levels. This will not only ensure that the collected data is truly representative of the target population but also increase the confidence of the organization in utilizing the information for effective decision making.

Stay Vigilant and Course Correct

It might be tempting to collect the initial data and call it good. However, data collection in pharma and MedTech is not one and done. The more insight you can gather, the easier it will be to tailor your drug, product, or technology to your target audience.

If you encounter questions or information which are not able to be correctly synthesized or answered, your data collection methods should be tweaked immediately and course corrected. The goal is to get the most accurate picture and not wait until the last minute for course correction.

Compliance and Consolidation

Ethical and regulatory requirements should be followed to the T. There are several rules regarding privacy, adverse events (AE), and change protocols under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). No matter what type of data one collects in which geography, one must remain in compliance with all local regulations.

Collaboration among business leaders and stakeholders is invaluable both during and after data collection. Different perspectives and expertise will provide better insight into data analysis that may be helpful when moving forward with forecasting and market research.

Market research provides insights into your target markets’ needs and how to enhance the overall healthcare market experience. You can use this information to guide the development of your products and research projects. In other words, market research helps ensure that you are investing in something that is needed and will be well received. The pharma industry is slowing down, which means market research is more important now than ever. As you become increasingly familiar with market research trends and challenges, it will arm you with the information you need to create a winning global market research plan.



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Sanobar Syed