Launching in rare: It requires care like no other

November 2, 2023
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After 6 years of launches in rare diseases, Orchard’s Group Business Director, Tamsin Ridgwell, presents her musings on the topic…

Rare diseases affect less than 5 in 10,000 people, which means there 2 million Australians living with a rare disease. I appreciate that means most of us won’t know anyone with a rare disease, but I do. It’s my personal connection that keeps me closely monitoring this rapidly changing field.

With the increasing precision of genomic testing, it means that patient diagnosis and development of potential treatments for this patient pool is growing. So, what have we learnt that we can apply to future launches?

While there are many different rare diseases, they share countless commonalities. I’ve learnt that launching in the realm of rare requires more than just a generic playbook. It demands a unique perspective, a strategic mindset, and a heartfelt commitment to making a difference.

1.     Small is big: Navigating the rare disease landscape means embracing a unique set of challenges, and for marketing teams, it's all about maximizing every player's strengths. Each member is a crucial cog in the wheel, contributing diverse skills that span from creative genius to data-driven insights. You’re not just marketers; you’re strategists, storytellers, and problem-solvers all in one. Collaboration isn't just a buzzword; it needs to be the beating heart of your approach. In the world of rare, every team member's contribution is a vital ingredient in the recipe for success.

2.     Make every dollar multiply: Lean budgets might be the reality, but they're far from a roadblock. In fact, they're an invitation to innovation. Operating within tight financial constraints isn't about limiting potential; it's about refining our focus. This is where the art of laser-targeting shines. Every allocation counts, and each strategy is a well-calibrated move in a carefully choreographed dance. The mission is clear: make every cent not just count, but multiply in impact.

3.     Embrace the nano influencer: Welcome to the world where influence isn't measured in quantity, but in impact. In the realm of rare diseases, the circle of influence might be smaller, but it's incredibly potent. Targeting isn't a numbers game; it's about forging meaningful connections. This is where the physicians who diagnose and treat these unique conditions take centre stage. And let's not forget the physicians who refer patients; they're part of this intricate puzzle too. Our aim is sharp: to create a network that's compact but effective, where every interaction reverberates far beyond its initial impact.

4.     Understand the patient, not just the disease: Amidst the intricacies of launching in the rare domain, there's a voice that mustn't be overlooked – the patient's. Establishing the patient voice isn't just an option; it's a necessity. In the rare landscape, patients aren't just cases; they're the heart of the mission. Listening to their needs, experiences, and challenges becomes the foundation upon which you need to build your strategies. Solutions aren't just imposed; they're co-created, hand-in-hand, with the very people we're here to serve. It's a reminder that your endeavours aren't just about marketing; they're about making a tangible, positive impact on the lives that matter the most.

Launching in rare requires not just marketing finesse, but a profound understanding of the ecosystem we're entering. From our tight-knit teams and savvy budget management to the strategic connections we foster and the patient voices we amplify, your approach cannot just be about promotion; it's about meaningful engagement that shapes the future of rare diseases. So, here's to the rare kind of care that this rare world demands!

Acknowledgement of Country

We respectfully acknowledge the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation and the Muwinina as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which our workplaces stand to date and extend this respect to all First Nations peoples, including Elders past, present and emerging.


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