Service firms in the drug development chain too often try to differentiate themselves on service levels. Unless you can prove that your service is somehow superior (through the use of an independent metric that is verifiable before purchase) this won’t really help. Making an unsubstantiated claim that your service is superior typically just devolves into a race to the bottom that can best be expressed as: “We have the brightest smile and will bring you the warmest cup of coffee.”

In contrast, these firms should be making claims that are based upon differentiating factors that are authentic, truly unique, verifiable before purchase, relevant to the audience, sustainable and believable.

One set of claims that meet all these criteria is a differentiation based on expertise. This is not the only solution, of course, but this is what sponsors will gladly pay a premium to obtain.