Do Wide-angle Pharma Brand Goals Mean Only TRx Counts?

SMART GoalsPeople seem to have an all or nothing approach to strategic planning. By strategic planning, I don’t mean “brand plan” because everybody has one of these jammed in their desk drawer. What differentiates the camps is two things:

  1. Are the KPIs/brand goals SMART? (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound)
  2. Are calendarized action plans put in place to achieve the goals, and attainment assessed on a regular basis?

I might be missing something, but I seem to see a lot of  loose goals like “attain optimal…” or “be patient-centric” or “maximize access.” I suppose that goals of any kind help focus energy. But such goals aren’t measurable; there’s no “Yay, we did it” benchmark. If nobody quite knows whether results are great or below par, I wonder how it’s possible to celebrate successes or continuously improve performance.

Say a goal is to offer “healthcare solutions.” The premise of such a goal is that being customer-centric will produce larger eventual returns than the instant gratification achieved by brand-centric hard selling. Is management really willing to gamble the brand on this proposition? And how long are they willing to wait for the TRx bounty to be realized?

In franchises without SMART goals to frame out the gamble concretely, I wonder if the real point is that the only thing that counts is today’s NRx/TRx.

SMART goals establish benchmarks beyond sales numbers. In the absence of SMART goals, only sales numbers can be measured, and therefore only sales numbers can count. Is Going-Straight-for-The-Kill-Every-Day a strategic plan? If tenures are so short and moment-by-moment sales reports so scrutinized, possibly longer-term strategic planning isn’t in a brand manager’s best interest anyway.

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