Successfully optimizing co-promotional agreements relies upon governance, brand management, and performance management. Yet, despite good intentions from each party, challenges can arise in a co-promotional agreement that threaten its longevity and overall success. In our experience, preventing or overcoming challenges in existing co-promotions usually requires assistance from a third party like RxC International. Below are the nine most common challenges we have encountered during our extensive experience with co-promotion programs.
Common Co-Promotion Challenges
1. Size Disparity
Size disparities, especially when one co-promotion partner is significantly smaller than the other, can lead to tension over resource allocation, company cultures, and a host of other issues that must be worked out in order for the co-promotion to succeed.
2. Clash of Company Cultures
Poorly-managed co-promotions can quickly devolve into an “us vs. them” situation. To prevent or remedy this situation, the governing body should foster a culture that reflects and communicates the shared values of the two partner companies.
3. Decision-Making Process
A slow decision-making process can prevent the timely resolution of operational issues and negatively impact daily operations. The joint steering committee (JSC) should establish good governance practices to develop efficient and effective decision-making processes.
4. Operational Misalignment
Co-promotion partners may have difficulty aligning on all tactics. Leadership must evaluate any key differences between partner companies to ensure that differences in tactics do not result in value destruction.
5. Resource Allocation
Resource allocation quickly becomes a complex task in the absence of adequate planning due to stakeholders with different objectives competing for resources from the same limited pool. Optimal resource allocation must consider near-term financial objectives, long-term objectives around brand life cycle management, and risk management.
6. Poor Performance Management
Diverging performance expectations can cripple an existing co-promotion. Leadership should clearly outline performance expectations and measures that are tied to producing successful co-promotion outcomes.
7. Leadership Transitions
A co-promotion that relies upon the leadership capabilities of a few individuals can be imperiled during a leadership transition. The co-promotion team must develop effective communication plans for releasing information promptly, facilitating smooth transitions, and on-boarding new team members.
8. Good Faith Agreements
At the beginning of a co-promotion, good faith agreements often take the place of legal documents. Once the co-promotion has evolved, challenges beyond the scope of the good faith agreement can arise, which may require external support for troubleshooting and realignment.
9. Lack of Outside Insight
Perhaps the largest mistake made by existing co-promotions is failing to bring in a third party to assist with co-promotion optimization. Experienced third-party organizations can evaluate the co-promotion and provide valuable insights on better alignment and planning across departments, resulting in more successful co-promotions.
How RxC International Can Help
RxC International has extensive experience working with biopharmaceutical companies seeking to maximize the value of existing co-promotion programs. We leverage our proprietary co-promotion effectiveness diagnostic framework to identify areas for realignment and develop an action plan for overcoming co-promotion challenges. To learn more about our co-promotion services, request an evaluation of your co-promotion partnerships, or download our newly published co-promotion white paper, please visit us or email Frank Koos, Head of Business Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Authors
James Hoyes is an Executive Partner at RxC International where he specializes in corporate development and commercializing pharmaceutical and biotech products. Prior to joining RxC International, Jim served as President of EMD Serono and held other leadership positions with several leading biopharma companies.
Subbarao Jayanthi, Managing Partner of RxC International, has over 20 years of strategic consulting and operational experience in the life sciences sector. His areas of expertise include corporate strategy, life cycle management, and M&A. Subbarao has authored several books to help biopharma companies navigate the complexity of each stage of the value chain.