Skip links

Measuring what matters in Pharma / Biotech

This month, Vanessa Burrow and Stephanie Hall from the Uptake team are exploring ‘Measuring What Matters’ in Pharma and Biotech, the first of four parts of our Measurement Research.

Working with multiple brand teams across a variety of pharma and biotech companies on brand planning and marketing capability projects, one of the most frequently cited ‘challenge areas’ is measurement, metrics and KPIs.

There is a clear disconnect between accepted marketing measurement theory and the definition and use of KPIs and metrics in practice. Part one of our latest industry research on ‘Measuring What Matters in Pharma and Biotech’ tackles this by focusing on how to create the right KPIs for your brand, launch and portfolio. From our recent audit of 10 brand plans across 10 different pharma and biotech companies from 2015 – 2018, we found only 4 out of the 10 brand plans contained KPIs and only 1 of these brand plans contained KPIs with a clear timeline and target. Part one tackles the topics of what makes a good KPI:


Contributing clearly to the balanced scorecard of the business, enabling each function to demonstrate their contribution to the overall business strategic objectives.


A good metric must provide information that can be acted upon – a metric that merely measures finite or completed actions, not ongoing activity, is only of forensic interest; metrics must be regarded as a trend and must trigger appropriate action.


A good metric is consistent in what it measures – make sure that the data included in any metric you use is defined at the outset and remains consistent, otherwise, the value of its comparison is useless.


A good metric must be able to be tracked over time, it is not a snapshot of an activity at one moment in time.


In addition to analysing internal performance, good metrics should be able to be compared to external benchmarks among a peer group. That peer group may be another business unit within your company, another company similar in size or location, for instance, or an industry benchmark.

Every brand plan should include a set of strategic KPIs aligned to SMART business objectives and strategic imperatives with clear targets and timelines. Our research helps scope out what is important in creating strong brand plan and how to navigate the complex world of measurement.

If you would like to receive a copy of Part One of our Measurement Research ‘Measuring What Matters in Pharma / Biotech’, please email