Firstly, I would like to say it took me at least 4 months to churn out this article. This is in part due to my busy schedule and the Attention deficit issues I’ve been dealing with lately. I haven’t written a deliberate article in around 7 years and my pen has been in an unfortunate rusty smudge but we wing it.

I would also like to state that I recently completed the marketing and digital strategy module in fulfilment of my Level 6 Professional Diploma in Marketing program with the biggest professional marketing body in the world —The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM-UK) —wherein I made a merit grade. I also have around 3 years’ experience working as a pharmaceutical representative with one of the top 3 indigenously owned Pharma marketing companies in Nigeria.

So, the insights I would be providing in this article are well thought-out, researched, practical and as much as possible expert.

Now, let’s start with some background information.

Strategy, as a word, is derived from the Greek word “strategos” originally intended to mean “the art of the general”. Those generals would never have engaged in hand-to-hand combat meaning that your pharmaceutical marketing strategy, similarly, defines how you will deploy your armies and resources just the way the executive arm of a company would develop processes for those at the bottom of the chain to implement. The strategies listed in this post are prime examples of this at work in the pharmaceutical and related industries.

Marketing to patients and doctors requires distinct strategies, just as it would between organizations within the B2B supply chain, but pharmaceutical marketing, in general, involves the same principles that you find in any other industry regardless of where they sit within the supply chain —whether they focus on a B2B or B2C audience, they will need to adapt a particular marketing strategy to effectively sell their products and services.

However, there are several confusions/misconceptions between the term’s strategy and tactics. For instance, when strategy is discussed, blogging is mentioned but to me, blogging isn’t necessarily a high-level strategy, rather more a digital strategic tactic or put simply, a tactic to undertake the strategy or the strategic direction of the proposed marketing campaign.

Another way to put it; The strategy is the overall campaign plan and the tactics are the actual means to achieve the objective of the strategic plan. A football team with a defensive strategy would likely adopt a “Park-the-bus” tactics wherein 90% of its players remain within its half. The strategy is the planning, where the latter is the doing. For this post, I will be examining “strategy”.

When we look to define a pharmaceutical marketing strategy or a range of strategic marketing options, we need to ask ourselves the following questions in accordance to our marketing/organisational objectives:

  • How will our marketing activities help make sales?
  • What market trends are emerging that we need to respond to?
  • What position will we strive to achieve?
  • What pharma market will be targeted with which propositions?
  • What communication strategies will be used to support customer acquisition?
  • What experience will we look to create for our audiences?
  • How can we differ from our competitors?

Basically, we try to justify our strategic options. You may consider the SFA model to do this. At this stage, we’re not so much looking to reach an audience per se, we’re actually looking at how and what we will be saying to that audience once we reach them. In the most basic language, a pharmaceutical marketing strategy looks at the objective of a marketing team or organization and defines how to get there.

Now Lets dive in;


A product/market development strategy concerns developing new products or modifying existing products and offering those products to current or new markets. These strategies typically surface when there is little opportunity for growth in an organization’s existing market.

The four most common strategies in this category are derived from the Ansoff Matrix:

  • Market penetration (growing sales of an existing product in existing markets)
  • Market development (launching an existing product in a new market),
  • Product development (introducing an existing product into a new market) and
  • Diversification (introducing a new product into a new market).

Existing markets above refers to market segments where the company has stranglehold —good coverage and acceptance.

Pharmaceutical products like regular products are promoted in accordance with the Ansoff’s Matrix almost every time. However, marketers also use the Porters strategy/Generic Mix which involves Cost and differentiation focus, differentiation and cost leadership strategies.


For example, Pharmaceutical multinationals GSK, Sanofi and Novartis who have their base originally in the UK, France and Switzerland respectively deciding to break into the African market with market leader products like Augmentin®, Tarivid® and Coartem®. This is a classical example of Diversification in Ansoffs.

Direct sales which is the traditional method of employing sales personnels and then deploying them to regions and markets where you are looking to generate new customers is a tactic that thrives using this model. This is certainly the case in the B2B pharmaceutical market in Nigeria where face-to-face contact is still a large enabler of business. This strategy usually needs guidelines on how to recruit salespeople who understand how to sell products in new and often emerging markets.


A revenue model strategy (or more casually, a business strategy) is a strategy usually focused on forming a product or service system whereby advertising or licencing revenue can be generated subsequently, or more broadly, a strategy focused on generating revenue. MLM’s like Max, Pure, Longrich fall within this category. Multi-level marketing companys like pyramid schemes sell their products primarily to consumers and to its members who must recruit new members to buy their products.

Affiliate marketing – a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts – broadly falls within this category. This is the case as an affiliate program’s sole purpose is to sell products with minimal marketing spend waste as affiliates are paid on a per-sale basis.

I would complete this article in another part, i’m going bonkers already. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. You can share your views in the comments section.



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