Differentiation in the CDMO space You don’t need to be better; you just need to be different (1)


Canada/Marketing & Communications

MarketChemica Inc.
68 Cloverlawn, Toronto, ON, M6E1H5, Canada


Making your voice heard over the cacophony of global offering in the CDMO space is becoming increasingly difficult. With customers coming under relentless pressure to increase profitability the only viable alternative to low pricing is differentiation. Pharma Horizon interviewed 20 CDMOs leaders on their market differentiation strategies in an effort to understand how market research, market communications and the internal marketing & sales interactions underpin the differentiation efforts. We found that the industry is transitioning quickly from a product driven to a market driven culture. Companies competing in the same market space are quickly learning how to differentiate not only through their physical product but also through their services around the physical product. Differentiation comes in many shapes forms and sizes but generally speaking follows a more structured path in global organization while defying academic rigour in smaller, entrepreneurial companies. Clearly, not all aspects could be captured in this short review. This is why I encourage you to read the individual interviews following this article in order to get a deeper understanding of how CDMOs create differentiation today.

Pharma Horizon reported recently on the 2nd European Sales & Marketing Effectiveness in Chemicals workshop where some of the best marketing and sales professionals in our industry launched the Tilt to Market Manifesto. This was a call to adapt the existing product-driven culture in the chemical industry to the modern market-driven business models (2). 


It is harder and harder to keep up with the continuously changing competitive pressures and differentiate your offering based on “hardware” capabilities alone as competitors can easily replicate this. Even traditional tenets like technology access, regulatory capability and even professional competence have increasingly become a common denominator in the CDMO (3) space. People, money and knowledge are cross-pollinating at lightning speed the global chemical industry landscape and do not provide the barriers to entry they once did. 


In this context, CDMOs are in a situation where even small and medium size enterprises need to monitor and react promptly to the changes taking place in the global markets. Glass-lined reactors, low-temperature capabilities ...