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IDMA organises Marketing and Sales Conference, 2019 in Mumbai

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The theme of this year’s conference was “Growing Brands to Level Next”

The Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA) recently organised a Marketing and Sales Conference for the year 2019. The theme of the day long conference, which was held in Mumbai, was “Growing Brands to Level Next”. The event was attended by business development and marketing professionals from the pharma industry.

Daara B Patel, Secretary-General, IDMA, initiated the conference by welcoming the attendees, and giving them a brief introduction on the conference and its panelists.

Following his welcome address, Sudarshan Jain, Secretary-General, Indian pharmaceutical Alliance, gave a presentation on the topic “Growing Business is Building Brands”. Speaking on the need for pharma companies to go back to the basics of brand building, Jain reiterated the significance of a customer-centric business development strategy. He suggested five, simple approaches to enhance a pharma company’s branding efforts. These included having a patient-centric approach while developing strategies and minutely customizing a company’s brand strategy according to specific areas of interest. He also cited the example of Thyrocare, which revolutionised thyroid disease diagnosis , for presenting a unique business model which complemented other pharma businesses, thereby securing a firm hold in the industry. Referring to Ayushmaan Bharat Yojana, he stated, “If 50 crore people come under the gambit of the scheme, it will significantly open up the market for pharma companies. Ours is not a demand led market, but a supply led market. We need to leverage this demand.”

The next speaker, Shrihari Shidhaye, Founder Partner- NextPlan Consulting, talked about some new, emerging concepts that can be implemented in brand building. These included customer micro- segmentation, utilising digital advancements to “leverage and impact customers for better patient outcomes”, improving adherence among patients suffering from chronic conditions, journeying from accumulating “lots of data” to converting them into insights. “Most importantly, we need to generate PoD (Point of Differentiation) in a crowded market by focusing on ‘what matters’ for customers, and ‘where do we stand’ on such matters,” stated Shidhaye.

Speaking on the relationship between brand building and geographical expansion, Abhay Lonkar, Partner, NextPlan Consulting, stated the need for brands to look at a prospective market not in terms of its area, but by the size of its population. “There are many Indias within India. The country needs to be looked at not as a single market, but as hub of many. Different states call for different brand strategies. Several FMCG brands have done this. And it is high time that pharma companies follow.”

C. Ashok Kumar, MD, Healthcare 360, talked on the relevance of technology as not only a necessity to bolster a company’s foothold in a world that is constantly evolving at a breakneck speed, but also as a brand accelerator. He also talked Kardio Screen by Imedrix, which he claims has the potential to transform cardio disease screening in primary and secondary level healthcare.

Later, Sanjay Bhatia, Partner, NextPlan Consulting talked at length about the concepts that a company can apply to extend brand franchises, asserting on the need a comprehensive situation analysis ( both micro and macro). He also said that while weaknesses need to be overcome, strengthening a brand’s strength points is even more important.

Salil Kallianpur, Founder and CEO, ARKS Knowledge, who spoke next, spoke on how digitisation has transformed the way brands can connect with their customers. He noted that if digital outreach is done properly, it could easily cut down a sale representative’s time that usually goes into explaining the product profile to a customer, making the entire process a lot smoother for both the firm and the customer.

Speaking on brand evaluation and financing, Gawir Baig, Director, O3 Capital, addressed multiple multiple aspects to the subject, including criterion for private equity investment for drug firms. The last speaker, Vinayak Gokhale, Partner- NextPlan Consulting, talked on the topic “Brand Planning to Implementation- SFE Domain”.

Vinay Pinto, Chairman, Marketing Committee, IDMA, thanked the speakers. The conference then ended with a Q and A session.

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