Marketing of the Life Sciences: a New Framework and Research Agenda for a Nascent Field

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Stefan Stremersch & Walter Van Dyck

Marketing of the Life Sciences: A New Framework and Research Agenda for a Nascent Field Although marketing scholars often seek to contribute new knowledge that is applicable across industries, some industries have unique characteristics that require industry-specific knowledge development. The authors argue that this requirement applies to the life sciences industry, defined as companies in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and therapeutic medical devices. Marketers in the life sciences industry face novel and unique challenges along eight decision areas in therapy creation, therapy launch, and therapy promotion. In therapy creation, they face therapy pipeline optimization, innovation alliance formation, and therapy positioning decisions. In therapy launch, they face global market entry timing and key opinion leader selection decisions. Therapy promotion mostly revolves around sales force management, communication management, and stimulating patient compliance. The authors qualify these decision areas according to their practical importance and academic potential. The article derives preliminary generalizations and propositions from prior research and practice and steers further research in specific directions. The authors believe that marketing of the life sciences offers a fertile area for further research because, among other things, its potential impact transcends any problems typically investigated by marketing scholars.

Keywords: life sciences, marketing theory, research agenda, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, marketing, sales lthough marketing scholars often seek to contribute new knowledge that is applicable across industries (Stewart 2002), some industries have unique characteristics that require industry-specific knowledge development (Eliashberg, Elberse, and Leenders 2006). Examples include the services industry (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 1985; Rust and Chung 2006; Vargo and Lusch 2004), the entertainment industry (Eliashberg, Elberse, and Leenders 2006; Eliashberg and Shugan 1997), and the high-tech industry (Bourgeois and Eisenhardt 1988; Glazer and Weiss 1993; Heide and Weiss 1995; John, Weiss, and Dutta 1999; Stremersch et al. 2007; Weiss and Heide 1993). In this article, we argue that this requirement also applies to the life sciences industry. In our definition, this

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Stefan Stremersch is Chaired Professor of Marketing and Desiderius Erasmus Distinguished Chair of Economics, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Visiting Professor of Marketing, IESE Business School, Universidad de Navarra, Barcelona (e-mail: stremersch@few.eur.nl). Walter Van Dyck is Associate Professor of Technology and Innovation Management, TiasNimbas Business School, Tilburg University and Eindhoven University of Technology (e-mail: w.vandyck@tiasnimbas.edu). The article was written when the second author was on the faculty at Erasmus University, and both authors contributed equally to this article. The authors acknowledge the research assistance of Christiaan Bakker, Christian Van Someren, and Jo Sinjorgo. They also thank Jacco Keja from Quintiles and Servaas Buijs from IMS Health, both business partners of the Institute for Life Sciences Business Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam, for their support. They are grateful for the comments on preliminary versions of this article by their colleagues Nuno Camacho, Eelco Kappe, Vardit Landsman-Schwartz, Isabel Verniers, Sonja Wendel, and Stefan Wuyts. Finally, they thank survey respondents in the business and academic communities, as well as the anonymous JM review team, for their valuable suggestions.

industry spans companies in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and therapeutic medical devices, and it forms the innovative producer side of the health care industry. Two fundamental dimensions underlie the life sciences industry: science-based knowledge (know-why) and quality of life. Life...
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