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Cipher recently commissioned a survey conducted by Forrester Research, one of the world’s leading market research organizations. The research set out to explore the field of market and competitive intelligence (M/CI) in the life sciences industry, and featured surveys of more than 200 CI decision makers from the leading life science organizations across North America and Europe. 

Peter Grimm, President of Cipher, recently hosted a webinar with Cinny Little, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, to explore the findings of the research and highlight key takeaways. The webinar, a recording of which is available here, went into great detail on the implications of the research findings on product management and product marketing. These are surmised below. 

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Product Marketers have a very complex role: they’re responsible for anticipating customer needs, developing relevant products, positioning products for success, and for bringing new products to market. And that’s before we even discuss monitoring competitors, the market, and macroeconomic trends that could have major strategic implications on the products they are responsible for. It’s a tough job, and with the amount of data out there today, it’s not getting any easier. 

We’re confident these five key takeaways from our research survey will assist product marketers in their everyday roles, empowering them to make better decisions, work more effectively, and ultimately, ensure the products under their remit are successful. Let’s explore the five key takeaways:

1. Product Marketers Should Leverage M/CI Technology to Automate Low Value Tasks

One of the clearest findings from the research was the extent to which M/CI leaders at some of the world’s largest organizations rely on technology to benefit their M/CI efforts. 

When an organization's human capital spends too much time on low-value tasks like data collection and organization, they have less time to spend on analyzing the data, generating insights, and formulating strategies. And besides, modern AI technology is far more efficient than humans when it comes to these types of tasks.  

An overwhelming majority of respondents relied on an M/CI technology platform, with 83% already using a platform in their organization, and a further 15% planning to implement a platform in the next year. In the eyes of our respondents, a sophisticated M/CI platform is a prerequisite for success. 

A sophisticated M/CI platform is a prerequisite for success. 

For product marketers to free up more time to spend on analysis and support decision making, it’s important they embrace this trend, and consider implementing an M/CI platform in their organization. Not sure where to start? Check out our guide to selecting the right M/CI platform

2. Product Marketers Face Challenges in Managing Third Party Vendors

In addition to relying on technology, the organizations surveyed also outsource much of their low-value work: 79% of organizations reported their primary research and intelligence collection process is handled by third party vendors. But at the same time, 70% of organizations find managing third party vendors difficult. Organizations rely on third parties for assistance, but in many instances, it’s this relationship that delays the speed at which organizations can access critical intelligence.

70% of organizations find managing third party vendors challenging.

Organizations struggle to manage vendor progress, review deliverables, and to effectively centralize and share knowledge with third party vendors. All of these processes take significant amounts of time and energy, which could often be spent better on more valuable activities. 

It’s important for product marketers to seek better ways to manage third party vendors. One way to do so is to use an M/CI platform like Knowledge360Ⓡ. Knowledge360 has built-in vendor management features that enable users to automate much of the process associated with external partners, from defining the scope of the project to managing vendor deliverables.

3. M/CI is Important Across Multiple Stages of Product Life Cycle

Product development in the life sciences industry is often a multi-year process, and in some sectors like the pharmaceutical industry, it can take more than ten years to bring a new product to market. Competitive intelligence plays an important role throughout this process, and is in fact more prevalent at earlier stages of the product life cycle. For product marketers managing the product development process, this is a key insight.

74% of respondents reported working with third-party partners to supplement internal M/CI activities.

74% of respondents reported working with third-party partners to supplement internal M/CI activities during clinical research, with 73% reporting they did so even earlier in the life cycle, at the preclinical research stage. In fact, as new products move closer to market, more of the M/CI effort is brought in-house, with less than half of respondents relying on third party vendors to augment M/CI initiatives after a product has launched commercially. 

If you’re responsible for product development, consider incorporating M/CI initiatives at an early stage in the process. The insights yielded can help your organization plan for everything from adoption rates to market sizing. 

4. Centralizing Insights Represents a Major Challenge

One of the greatest challenges experienced by product marketers is centralizing knowledge and information in one platform. For an organization to buy into the intelligence process, it’s crucial that individual stakeholders across the organization have access to a centralized platform. 

Failure to centralize insights frequently results in duplicated work, a lack of resources for the M/CI team, and ultimately, major limitations in the effectiveness of M/CI initiatives in any organization. It’s important that stakeholders across the organization use an M/CI platform to collaborate and ensure they are not duplicating existing work and making decisions using relevant, up-to-date competitive and market intelligence. 

The role of a centralized M/CI platform is to act as an intelligence hub that synthesizes the knowledge of the organization into one place.

The role of a centralized M/CI platform is to act as an intelligence hub that synthesizes the knowledge of the organization into one place. Intelligence from internal and external sources, as well as projects completed with third-party vendors, should all be visible in one location, and it should be easy for stakeholders across the organization to collaborate on important decisions and projects. 

5. Firms Predict an M/CI Platform Would Solve Their Biggest Challenges

It’s clear that teams across the life science industry face many issues in managing their market and competitive intelligence efforts. But the participants in our research were confident that a sophisticated M/CI platform would solve their greatest challenges. 

61% of participants felt that an M/CI platform would improve the quality of their data.

61% of participants felt that an M/CI platform would improve the quality of their data, while 57% said that it would give greater visibility of insights across the organization. A further 52% stated that it would improve the way that they work with and manage their third party vendors.

A sophisticated M/CI platform has a lot of potential to unlock a wide range of tangible benefits that help not only product marketers, but the entire organization. The majority of organizations surveyed were willing to invest in an M/CI platform, with 56% of organizations exploring a move to a more advanced platform, 15% planning to implement a platform for the first time, and an additional 7% of respondents exploring upgrades to their current M/CI platform. 

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How Product Marketers Can Leverage M/CI

The research produced some compelling insights, and served to draw back the curtain and reveal how product marketers in some of the world’s largest organizations can leverage M/CI in their work. It’s clear that these organizations grapple with problems, notably navigating relationships with third party vendors, finding tools to automate low-value tasks, and centralizing insights across their organizations.

But it’s also clear that the organizations we studied are taking proactive steps to address challenges by investing in M/CI technologies and infrastructures. Virtually all the firms involved in the survey made use of an M/CI platform, and many were seeking to expand the scope of their usage in the next 12 months. 

If you’re considering implementing an M/CI platform to augment your product management and product marketing functions, consult our guide to the role of M/CI in product development.

If you’d like to learn more about Knowledge360, schedule a demo with our team.

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