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Eli Lilly's depression treatment Cymbalta encountered various obstacles on its 13-year journey through a regulatory review process that culminated with the drug's approval in 2004. Faced with a small window of exclusivity, Lilly used the approval delays to sharpen its marketing plan to reflect deep customer insights. Using these insights, Lilly created a strategic plan - for not only Cymbalta's market entry but also its initial years on the market - that revolved around multiple tactics that helped differentiate it in a crowded marketplace.
These tactics included establishing a clearly defined target patient population, differentiating on pain relief while touting comparable efficacy, following a lifecycle plan that included multiple indications that increased reach, expanding selling power through a contract sales force, and using DTC advertising and online tools to increase patient and physician awareness. These tactics and others helped Cymbalta quickly break into a crowded antidepressant market and hit blockbuster status in its second year and $4.2 billion in sales by 2011 - eight years after launch.
Using secondary research and interviews with a Cymbalta product team director, Best Practices, LLC created this case study to highlight how using market research to develop customer insights can dramatically affect a product's marketplace performance. Executives can use this study to understand Lilly's approach to using customer insights to help a product that's entering a crowded market.
- Executive Summary
- Market Environment and Business Challenges
- Market Entry and Brand Building Strategies
- Market Results
SAMPLE KEY FINDING
- Differentiate Yourself from Your Competition: Cymbalta was able to differentiate and build a strong brand image through a series of approvals for additional benefits and expansion on pain.
- Engage Customers through an Expanded Field Force & Targeted Electronic Communication: Through a strategic agreement with a CSO, Lilly was able to increase its field forces by approximately 50% upon initial approval for Cymbalta (these numbers were then gradually reduced over time). In addition to having more people in the field, Lilly could execute parallel messages on depression and pain. It further differentiated medical education to reflect segment differences.
Insights were drawn from extensive secondary research and an interview with a Cymbalta Product Team Director.