Avele Marketing Plan

Informing the Public of Aleve's Advantages over Competition and Prescription Medication

Bayer AG's produce, Aleve, is a naproxen-based pain medication that has seen a high level of success in the past few years as an alternative to ibuprofen-based competitors like Motrin and Advil because of the nature of naproxen to last longer than ibuprofen.

Because of Aleve's strength, it is on par with formerly available prescription drugs like Vioxx and Bextra, it is a good alternative to the more dangerous prescription drugs, and the less effective competition. The target market for this campaign is broad, including anyone who suffers from arthritis pain or menstrual pain, and has been widened by the number of people who can no longer use Vioxx or Bextra. The competition provides a similar product, so marketing is designed to stress the strengths of Aleve in comparison.

This marketing plan is designed to appeal to the public by stressing three aspects of Aleve: its safety in comparison to some prescription drugs, its effectiveness when compared to its competitors and its wide availability. These three aspects lead to an overall message for former Vioxx and Bextra patients, while taking advantage of the availability of this already established product, and its existing advertising.

Company Overview

Bayer HealthCare is the subgroup of the Bayer AG Company that operates the worldwide pharmaceutical industry and produces Aleve. Bayer HealthCare is further divided in to Bayer Schering Pharma, Bayer Consumer Care, Bayer Animal Health and Bayer Medical Care. Bayer Pharma is the element that handles the production of Aleve and other medicines.

Target Market

The target market for the ad campaign is the population of people in the United States who previously used Vioxx and Bextra and are seeking similar levels of relief without the side effects of the now unavailable medications. To understand the market, it is necessary to understand the applications of the medications that Bayer Pharma is seeking to replace in the lives of patients, as well as the dangers and side effects.

Roecoxib, which was sold as Vioxx, was an effective pain medication that was used largely in the treatment of osteoarthritis, arthritis, and severe menstrual pain (Doyle 2009). Vioxx was a prescription medication that was used to alleviate serious pain from these conditions, and was used regularly by physicians in treatment plans. Vioxx was pulled from the market in 2004 when evidence of increased instances of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes, arose. The manufacturer, Merck, removed the drug from the market voluntarily after the dangers became apparent.

Similarly, the drug valdecoxib was sold under the name Bextra to treat similar issues. It was a commonly prescribed medication that would treat rheumatoid arthritis, menstrual pain, and osteoarthritis. It was removed from the market in 2005 because of side effects like skin irritation, angina, and increased risk of heart attack and stroke (Wolfe, 2004).

The removal of these two drugs has left people who formerly had prescriptions for them without the same pain medication that they once relied upon.  With this opening in the market, it will be possible to reach groups of people who have not found a good substitute for Vioxx or Bextra, and those who are seeking less dangerous, over the counter medications like Aleve.

This leads to various groups in our target market. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis sufferers are typically older. Osteoarthritis targets older women who suffer from bone degeneration much more frequently than older men. In addition, the treatment of painful menstruation is something that is only necessary in females. The target market, therefore, consists of the elderly and female consumers.

This is a broad market. More than 40 million people suffer from arthritis in the United States alone (Clough 2009), and nearly all women have suffered from some form of painful menstruation at one time or another. Vioxx and Bextra were prescribed to approximately 15 million patients.

The main value driver for these groups is safety and effectiveness in the relief of pain. The decision process for them will be based on finding a medication that is both effective, and safe to take. If a medication is inefficient or poses health risks, then this market will turn away. It is important that marketing focus on ensuring the safety of the product, and promising its effectiveness.

Description of Competitors

The main competitors for this market are producers of similar NSAID pain medications like Motrin and Advil.

The McNeill Consumer Health Care is the manufacturer of Motrin, and holds a 12.5% market share, while the Pfizer Corporation holds a 5% market share. These are the biggest competitors, with Motrin and Advil having strong name recognition, and effective products. These products have appeals that are similar to that of Aleve, with relative safety and effectiveness that makes them similar to Aleve in the minds of consumers. However, these companies have branched out, creating secondary products that treat various other symptoms, such as colds and the flu.

These companies are strong because they carry strong name recognition. Everyone knows that Motrin and Advil are effective anti inflammatory drugs. Vioxx and Bextra patients may default to these medications just as easily as they would default to Aleve just because they are unaware of the differences between the drugs. An uninformed consumer might pick up Motrin or Advil instead of Aleve, mistakenly believing that all three medications are the same outside of a price point.

They are weak, however, because ibuprofen does not last as long as naproxen for pain relief purposes. While the quality may be similar, Aleve has done a good job with its "All day strong. All day long," marketing slogan. When reaching out to Vioxx and Bextra users, Aleve can rightly play up the effectiveness and length of effect that is superior to Advil and Motrin.

The competition would like to vie similarly for the patients who have been unable to use Vioxx and Bextra since they have been removed from the market. However, the ibuprofen products are less effective than the naproxen in Aleve. Other naproxen products are less likely to impact Aleve's market share because they are less well known.

Description of Product

As stated before, Aleve is a naproxen product that is an NSAID pain reliever. Ibuprofen found in Motrin and Advil are, similarly, NSAID pain relievers that are less effective and last for a shorter period of time. Aleve, as a naproxen product, will last anywhere from 8-12 hours, while ibuprofen lasts 4-6 hours (US National Library of Medicine, 2011). This is the main strength and selling point of Aleve, which is similar to Motrin and Advil in terms of pain relief.  In short, Aleve provides long lasting pain relief without the need for a prescription. Patients who are between medications, or who have not found an over the counter medication to replace Vioxx and Bextra can be assured of the safety and effectiveness of Aleve.

Vioxx and Bextra were drugs that would effectively treat symptoms that Aleve can also treat without the risks associated with Vioxx and Bextra, and without the notoriety of those two drugs. Aleve is a safe alternative to prescription medication, and a longer-lasting alternative to Advil and Motrin.

Marketing Budget

The plan would include magazine and television ads that emphasize the effectiveness of Aleve in eliminating pain from arthritis and menstruation, along with the fact that it is safer than prescription medications, more effective than Motrin and Advil, and easily obtainable over the counter. These three components together present a picture of value to consumers and set Aleve apart from its direct competitors as well as the dangerous Vioxx and Bextra.

The budget would need to be a small percentage of Bayer AG's profit. Less than one percent would be enough to produce ads for magazines, but more would be necessary to produce for television and to purchase ad times. A round figure of 2% of Bayer AG's pharmaceutical profit would be acceptable and give plenty of revenue to achieve the goals of the marketing campaign. The marketing expense to sales ratio should remain strong because of the open market created by the expense and danger of prescription drugs like Vioxx and Bextra.

Description of Location

Because Vioxx and Bextra were nationwide products, it is necessary to launch a nationwide marketing campaign. Location is important in the sense that Aleve should be demonstrated as an easily-obtainable product. Simply reminding consumers that they can pick up Aleve over the counter at their local pharmacy is enough to both encourage them about the safety of the product and remind them about the convenience of the product, and that there is no need for a prescription for the benefits of Aleve.

The widening of distribution is not necessary because Aleve is already available in most locations. However, in marketing, it is important to point out this availability in order to remind consumers about the availability of Aleve, and the fact that it is available over the counter.

Pricing Plan

Currently, Aleve products match those of Advil and Motrin for price. For 100 capsules, it costs around $10, which is the same as Advil and Motrin in similar doses. It is important to keep the pricing on par with competitors in order to maintain the perception of value for the consumer. In conjunction with the marketing campaign that will paint Aleve as a better, safer medication, the similar price point will ensure that consumers will see a maximum value in its purchase.

Currently, there is an online coupon program for which consumers can save two dollars off of the price of Aleve from the website. The website, however, wastes a good opportunity to tout the benefits of Aleve. By revamping the website to act more as an overt advertisement, consumers could be persuaded of all three of the major benefits that are touted in this marketing plan when going to print off their coupons. This is a fantastic opportunity to tout Aleve and increase the value by providing the coupons.

Final Implementation Plan

The implementation would take place by revamping the website and purchasing ad space on television and in print to push forward the three points that will appeal to former Vioxx and Bextra users. Every one of these ads must explain that Aleve is safer than some prescription medications, more effective than the direct competition, and easily available over the counter at any pharmacy or store that sells medication.

These ads must be purchased in places that appeal to the key demographic, which is a very broad group. News stations and women's magazines will be the best way to focus on older people and women who suffer from menstrual pain.

Once these ads are rolled out, there should be an increase in web ads on sites like WebMD, which are visited by those in pain, and women's sites, touting the merits of Aleve. These ads should readily link to the website, which will inform the reader of the three elements of the ad campaign, and provide a coupon to increase value even further.

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