Danish insulin producer Novo Nordisk A/S is one of the leading transnational corporations in the sector. Thus, this paper provides the research of Novo Nordisk’s marketing mix. It includes exploring its products, price, distribution channels, and promotion system.

Product and Price

Novo Nordisk has two product lines: diabetes care and biopharmaceuticals. Novo Nordisk’s modern insulin, also called insulin analogues (Levemir®, Novo Rapid®, Novo Mix®), is the newest kind of insulin in the market (Novo Nordisk, 2012). Their action is more predictable and safe for patients. Human insulin (Insulatard®, Actrapid®, Mixtard® 30) is made by recombinant DNA technology. Comparatively to modern insulins, it is less similar to human physiology (Shah, 2009). Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (Victoza®) and oral antidiabetic agents (NovoNorm®, PrandiMet®) are used for diabetes type 1.

Diabetes devices are represented with prefilled insulins delivery systems (FlexTouch®, FlexPen®, Innolet®), durable insulins delivery systems (NovoPen®), needles delivery systems (NovoFine®, NovoTwist®), glucagon (GlucaGen®). Changes in diabetes devices are increasingly dynamic nowadays; thus, it is a key sphere for Novo Nordisk (Novo Nordisk, 2012).

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There are three groups of biopharmaceuticals produced by Novo Nordisk. They include haemostasis (NovoSeven®), human growth hormone with DNA origin (Nodritropin®), prefilled multidose delivery systems (Nodritropin®, FlexPro®, NordiFlex®, NordiPen®, NordiPenMate®), automatic needle insertion (NordiFlex Penmate®, NordiLet®), and hormone replacement therapy (Activelle®, Estrofem®, Novofem®, Vagifem®) (Novo Nordisk, 2012).

Novo Nordisk uses a differential pricing policy based on preferences. The prices for insulin vary depending on the region. The company applies 20% reductions from the average prices in western countries as a part of its pricing scheme for the poorest nations (Novo Nordisk, 2009). Moreover, Novo Nordisk deals with World Diabetes Foundation in order to provide funding for the low-income countries (Morsing & Oswald, 2005).


Novo Nordisk’s products are distributed from Danish and six other production facilities to other countries mostly by trucks and ships, but also aircrafts. The company works with private wholesalers in different countries, as well as offering insulin on governmental tenders. However, wide wholesaling network sometimes leads to not using Novo Nordisk’s pricing policy since the company cannot guarantee the final price set by wholesalers. It is explained with certain autonomy of local wholesales (Novo Nordisk, 2009).


Insulin production is a specific sphere, which requires ten or more years for developing a product. Therefore, marketing and sales have a responsible task to ensure the realization of investments in R&D. The company has a global marketing approach. Hence, marketing strategies are different for various locations. The company has regional sales and marketing teams in a number of countries. It allows Novo Nordisk to cope with products local adaptations and to develop local marketing strategies (Novo Nordisk, 2012).

Corporate Marketing system at Novo Nordisk consists of New Product Planning team, the Global Marketing team, and the Victoza® team. They are responsible for enlightening customers about the company and its products by using various advertising methods like meetings and events organization, advertisements, direct marketing, online marketing, strategic partnerships, networking, and public relations (Novo Nordisk, 2012).

Novo Nordisk’s customers are diabetics, national governments, and health care providers. However, the peculiarities of insulin market explain Novo Nordisk’s advertisement orientation on healthcare professionals, who prescribe medicine. Thus, the company educates professionals about its insulins, demonstrates production facilities, holds international endocrinology conferences, and provides promotional materials (Novo Nordisk, 2012).

Competitive Comparison

Insulin production is a segment with tough competition. The main competitors of Novo Nordisk are American company Eli Lilly and French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Aventis. All three companies work in the segment of `high quality-high price`. Multiple researchers state that Novo Nordisk is a world leader in insulin market by the innovativeness and quality of products. Pricing policy of Novo Nordisk is better developed than at Eli Lilly and Sanofi Aventis. Novo Nordisk offers lower prices for similar products than its rivals. Additionally, Eli Lilly and Sanofi Aventis do not apply differential pricing policies (Schwartzkopff, 2005).

Novo Nordisk’s distribution system includes 179 sales centers abroad. Eli Lilly and Sanofi Aventis have 143 (Eli Lilly, 2012) and 100 sales offices (Sanofi Aventis, 2009) respectively. It states higher efficiency of Novo Nordisk’s distribution system. Promotion of Novo Nordisk and insulin quality made it a leading company in the sector (Schwartzkopff, 2005).


Therefore, marketing mix of Novo Nordisk can be described as a well developed, efficient, and sustainable system. Novo Nordisk overtakes its competitors by products characteristics, level or prices, broadness of distribution channels, and efficiency of promotion.

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