Client was launching a new Actinic Keratosis treatment into an already crowded market. The overarching goal was to claim a strong, differentiating position through marketing materials across international markets. These goals were achieved with a multi-phase research program

Multi-Phase Research Plan for Pre-Launch

Phase One: Positioning

Critical first step to develop strategic platform from which all marketing communications flow

Phase Two: Unbranded and Branded Campaigns

  • Unbranded Campaign: Determine most thought-provoking creative concept that will disrupt current perceptions and the way DERMs treat the condition
  • Branded Campaign: Establish the most emotionally resonant creative concept that ties to positioning strategy, differentiates the product, and motivates action

Phase Three: Message Testing

  • Evaluate a series of messages based on a set of standard parameters to establish which messages that express the intended strategy for each bucket
    Determine the most compelling story that aligns with the strategy and addresses unmet needs or specific motivators

Phase Four: VisAid & Simulated Selling

  • Explore reactions to vis-aid and sales call presentation
    Identify the most motivating story aspects and presentation/page optimization for long and short call formats


  • Positioning: Unlike common tolerability or efficacy-based positionings for AK, the recommended positioning addresses a deeper issue facing Derms: the dilemma of having to choose between efficacy and patient experience during treatment. By making this tradeoff front-and-center, the new product would differentiate itself and fill an existing gap in the marketplace.
  • Unbranded Concept: Recommended creative concept tended to score low on the “agreeable” scale yet was more disruptive and thought-provoking than other concepts tested. While DERMs stated the concept didn’t fit their current thinking and made them uncomfortable, it prompted them to rethink their ‘freeze-first’ approach and provoked consideration of sub-clinical lesions.
  • Branded Concept: While the research identified a winning concept that would successfully garner attention and announce the new treatment, it fell short on alignment with the positioning strategy. A two-pronged approach was recommended: An “introductory” campaign to capture attention post-launch, followed by a campaign more closely tied to the “no tradeoffs” positioning strategy.
  • Messaging: Research highlighted that while it is important to establish key qualifier messages (efficacy data), the motivator messages (superior tolerability and differentiated dosing) needed to be prioritized. Importantly, none of the messages were sufficiently motivating on their own and therefore needed to be grouped in a compelling story flow to have optimal impact.
  • Vis-Aid: Simulated selling indicated that HCPs often missed key messages, except when mock reps were very bold and repetitive in directing them to specific data points. When the patient experience was set up early, and reiterated multiple times in the call, post-VisAid anticipated use increased substantially.