By Leslie Sandberg Orne and Lindsey Acampa, Trinity Partners
Planning for the launch of a new product is one of the most difficult tasks for a forecaster, but accuracy and contingency planning are more important than ever. The forecast provides crucial information to key stakeholders throughout the organization, enabling resource planning and other decision-making for the brand. Moreover, the expectations set in the pre-launch (0-2 years prior) timeframe from a forecasting perspective provide critical bounds for the longitudinal performance of the product, against which it will be judged during launch.
The following key stakeholders use demand forecasts for launching products in different ways:
Accurately forecasting new launches is a tricky endeavor, much more so than strategic planning or in-line brand forecasting. Several factors contribute to the difficulty associated with this exercise: the lack of historical data to trend, unknown marketing and selling execution, as well as unpredictable market access and limited insights from market research. Nonetheless, launch forecasts are intensely scrutinized with close comparison to the actual performance of the product in terms of units and sales on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis, providing real-time feedback on the accuracy of the forecast very early in launch phase.
The performance of a product in the marketplace results from a combination of several components, each crucial in creating accurate projections.
In order to improve accuracy in demand planning for launch, it is helpful to understand the main drivers impacting uptake and utilization of a new product, summarized below as the “4Ps”:
The quantification of these levers can aid in predicting uptake more accurately, as well as providing greater understanding of where uncertainties lie. It is crucial to take these factors into account in demand planning in order to provide the most accurate estimates of future market demand to influence brand planning across stakeholder groups.
In summary, despite the inherent difficulties in projecting the future performance of a product, in the pre-launch (1-2 years prior) and launch (1-2 years after) periods, there are several resources and tools that can be utilized to provide the best chance that the actual forecast will fall within the guardrails set during this period and be the correct basis for the organization’s longer-term planning.
About The Authors
As partner, Leslie Sandberg Orne co-leads the generalist consulting group and is responsible for Trinity's pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device clients. Leslie is an expert in strategic marketing, asset valuation/forecasting and assessments for pipeline and licensing/acquisition opportunities. She has particular strengths in conceptualizing and quantifying complex biopharmaceutical markets and has helped clients identify novel business opportunities to expand their businesses. Leslie has contributed to multiple billion-dollar acquisitions and major brand launches, spanning an array of therapeutic areas including virology, pulmonology, rheumatology, CNS/neurology, metabolics, gastroenterology and oncology/hematology. Leslie graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College with a BS in Biology.
Lindsey joined Trinity’s consulting group in August 2007. Since then, she has been involved in a number of projects spanning corporate strategy, licensing and acquisitions, pipeline and portfolio optimization, and brand/launch planning. Her primary areas of expertise include forecasting, primary market research (qualitative and quantitative), and data analysis. Her therapeutic area knowledge encompasses numerous markets, including central nervous system disorders, hematology/oncology, respiratory conditions, endocrine disorders, and cardiovascular disorders. Lindsey is a graduate of Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in the Biological Sciences.