SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

April 24, 2008 07:28 ET

Effective Thought Leader Relationships Maintained Through Diligent Communication

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - April 24, 2008) - According to a recently published study by Cutting Edge Information (http://www.PharmaOpinionLeaders.com), mutually beneficial thought leader relationships are the result of ongoing relationship-building strategies. The report, "Pharmaceutical Opinion Leader Management: Cultivating Today's Influential Physicians for Tomorrow," examines the ways that pharmaceutical companies are managing these relationships.

Establishing a thought leader relationship is relatively simple -- pharmaceutical companies offer consulting or research-related opportunities to encourage influential physicians to work with their products. However, maintaining that thought leader relationship requires diligence from pharmaceutical companies.

Growing pharmaceutical companies must work especially hard to maintain this relationship. At smaller companies, brand leaders often recruit and develop thought leaders for commercial purposes. However, as pharmaceutical companies grow and their thought leader relationships tend to become more clinical in nature, a thought leader's point of contact may change from the brand director he or she may have worked with for several years to an unknown medical science liaison (MSL). Companies must find ways to make this transition as smooth as possible for a thought leader who does not understand the necessary shift.

The most effective way to manage this shift is to recognize that communication between parties must be consistent and informational. The most common means of communication is through e-mail, but smaller companies, especially, believe that face-to-face communication is more beneficial for their purposes. No one form of communication is practical for every company. Many times, a combination of e-mail and face-to-face proves more effective.

"Each pharmaceutical company must look inside itself to determine its own needs, as well as the needs of their thought leaders. Only then can companies establish programs to effectively communicate with their thought leaders and therefore grow their thought leader relationships," says Elio Evangelista, research team leader at Cutting Edge Information.

"Pharmaceutical Opinion Leader Management: Cultivating Today's Influential Physicians for Tomorrow" is a study of 41 pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies' thought leader management structures, resources, processes and activities. The report includes detailed segmentation and funding data collected from top companies, such as Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Schering-Plough and Novartis.

Download a free summary of "Pharmaceutical Opinion Leader Management: Cultivating Today's Influential Physicians for Tomorrow" or purchase the report at: http://www.cuttingedgeinfo.com/pharmaopinionleaders/index.htm#body

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