By Dr Susan Hewlings
First, do you have a solid mechanism of action behind your product concept—one that it is physiologically plausible and supported by sound science? Understanding how your product works, and having quality scientific evidence to support its efficacy, is a critical first step. At this stage it is also important to decide who your target audience will be. Will your marketing be aimed at men, women, athletes, active people? Knowing this ahead of time will help you better position the product and develop effective messaging that resonates with the target market.
Next, what claims do you intend to make about the product and where do you intend to promote those claims? This includes everything from the packaging to social media to banners at a trade show. Choosing an effective claim involves careful consideration of your sales objectives and marketing strategy, as well as regulatory risk and available scientific evidence.
Once you have decided on your product claim(s), then comes the big one: how are you going to substantiate those claims? Do you have a budget for clinical studies? Do you have other studies from outside parties to support the product formulation or the various ingredients in the product? The key here is to develop a step-by-step plan.
If you decide to conduct studies, a solid and carefully planned study design can be the thing that sets you apart from your competitor. The study design should reflect your vision for the product by addressing the marketing strategy and claims you plan to make so you ultimately know you are using only well-substantiated claims.
In addition, ideal demographics for the target market, safety, and dosage questions can be addressed within the properly designed study. By incorporating all these critical issues, which are also part of the marketing statements, you can obtain as much quality data for your investment as possible and avoid investing in data you don’t need.
Of course, running alongside every step of the way is regulatory. Considering what markets you plan to target—the U.S., Canada, Europe, or all of them—and potentially consulting a regulatory expert to help you navigate the logistics will save you a lot of time, money, and back-stepping.
The bottom line: envision your final product, claims, and marketing strategy and develop a well-designed, scientifically substantiated plan within regulatory guidelines to achieve your plan. That is what will set your product up for success.