Recent research shows KOL lifecycle involvement. There are a significant number of surveyed organizations – 39%, as shown in the figure below – reported that initial engagements with thought leaders start during phase 3 of a product’s lifecycle. Two percent begin at launch, but starting to cultivate thought leader relationships so late in a product development phase will most likely not yield the desired outcomes for companies.

Waiting to involve thought leaders when a product is close to or under regulatory review reduces the potential efficacy of hiring thought leaders. Thought leaders worthy of hire will very likely have important insights at every stage of development, meaning to fully maximize a thought leader’s expertise, companies should engage them as early as possible, perhaps at or even before the investigational phases begin. Close to 25% of surveyed executives indicate engaging with KOLs during early and pre-clinical phases, securing the advantage of developing thought leader relationships and their knowledge of the product for several more years than companies that begin their efforts later in the lifecycle. 

KOLs with timely exposure to early research and development efforts will better understand the science behind the potential product, leading to a higher commitment and interest in its scientific outcomes and benefits. Regardless of how the product turns out, approved or not, thought leaders involved in early and pre-clinical phases will provide valuable input to the research and subsequent patient trial phases.

Finding from our full research on Thought Leader Utilization report, available here: