Labour Intensive Competitive Intelligence Studies

Labour Intensive Competitive Intelligence Studies


Executing a Pharma Competitive Intelligence study is anything but straight forward. It’s a combination of investigation, intuition, blending, synthesizing, quick study, obsessing and number crunching. Let’s spell out the steps  and time that goes into a typical pharma Competitive Intelligence study.


1. Finalize Questions (10 Hours)

Not only do you need to put together a list of questions that are precise, but the assumptions behind the questions have to be tested as well (If, e.g., one of the questions is, “What do other national diabetes associations besides The Canadian Diabetes Association feel about a national diabetes strategy?”, you’ll have to check out if there are, in fact, other Canadian Diabetes Associations).


2. Conduct Secondary Research (45 Hours)

At the very least you’ll check out websites  (e.g. competitor’s, patient associations, trade newswires such as CISION, investment newswires, clinical trials) as well as social media. You’ll also need to blend market research relevant to the subject you are investigating with the online findings. Then you have to synthesize the data, analyze and interpret.


3. Primary Research Set-Up (25 Hours)

A number of tasks: putting together a plan of attack, interviewer Competitive Intelligence guidelines, survey, sample survey and contact list. This means doing a pre-test (in order to provide a sample survey). You’ll also need to obtain the names, titles and phone numbers of employees at the competitor for your interviewers to target. From there you’ll likely revise the interviewer instructions for the survey based on the pre-test results, and then brief your interviewers.


4. Primary Research Execution (30 Hours)

Besides briefing your interviewers, they will need to read up on the competitor’s drug (e.g. press releases, product monograph, etc.) before reaching out to at least 3 respondents to get one who will provide useful information. You’ll need to complete at least 6 interviews per competitor.


5. Analysis, Write-Up and Revisions (90 Hours)

My approach is to create summary tables from the information collected, do a preliminary analysis, go back to the data to fill gaps and then complete the analysis. Assume you’ll have to prepare slides in addition to the report. Between a subcontractor (former pharma marketing manager) and myself, we clock at least 90 hours for analysis, write up and proof reading.


6. Debrief (10 Hours)

While the debrief meeting usually takes an hour or 90 minutes, there usually is a follow-up to-do ( e.g. providing clarification of the findings, completing 2 or 3 more interviews to answer an additional question, etc.)



How many hours go into a pharmaceutical Competitive Intelligence study? Over 200!

Competitive Intelligence is very, very labour intensive. That’s why my wife doesn’t worry about me carousing in bars.