Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Marketing Executive Salaries

"Everything is numbers" is the tagline of the hit TV show "Numb3rs". "People lie, number don't," says Charlie, the main character of the show.

I often use numbers to gain insight into pharmaceutical marketing issues. For example, all the hew and cry about too much risk in DTC ads (included print ads) -- see, for example, "
WLF: A No-Risk Ad is a Good Ad," "DTC without the Risk," and "Marketing 'Acceptable Risk'" -- shouts out for a quantitative analysis of how much space is allocated to risk vs. benefit information in print DTC ads. What are the numbers saying?

Well, you'll have to read the article "
Print DTC: How Does It Measure Up?" to find out. [Reprint fee or Free Subscription required.]

MM&M's Career and Salary Survey

This month, the venerable publication Medical Marketing & Media -- affectionately called MM&M -- published its annual salary survey, which you find
here. Lot's of nice numbers!

But what can we learn from these numbers other than the fact that most of us are not sharing in the wealth?

For one thing,
salaries are increasing for all employers (from an average of $122,300 last year to $127,100 in 2006) except for publications. Salaries in that sector decreased about 15% to $99,760 -- the only salary average under $100,000. Bummer!

That's surprising because publications are reaping DTC advertising rewards from the pharmaceutical industry this year (see "
Pharma eMarketing in a Slump"). Maybe the ads just sell themselves and talented marketing execs are not needed. Success breeds contempt!

MM&M's survey claims that the average salary for VPs of Marketing is $179,000. This is based on only 29 survey responders, 23 of whom are employed by manufacturers (Rx, OTC, Biotech, devices, etc.). The high was $310,000. All VPs also received an average bonus of $48,600.

In contrast, Peter Rost, whose new book "WHISTLEBLOWER: Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman" is reviewed in the September issue of Pharma Marketing News (click
here), claims his Pfizer salary was $600,000 when he was VP of Marketing at Pfizer.Salary Chart

Biotech on the Rise?
According to the MM&M survey, salaries in the biotechnology sector (chart on left; third pair of bars from top) are now higher than those in the Rx sector (chart; top). In fact, it's the only sector in which salaries have increased over the past year.

Rx drug company salaries are decreasing while biotechnology company salaries are increasing.

What are these numbers saying?

I think that biotech is really gearing up to market their products heavy duty style and they may be draining the marketing brains from the Rx sector, which is currently demoralized by mergers and management changes.

This trend is evident at PhRMA, the industry's trade association, which
just announced that Kevin Sharer, president, CEO and chairman of Amgen, the world's largest biotechnology company, became chairman of the board upon the resignation of Peter R. Dolan of Bristol-Myers Squibb. Peter, you recall, was ousted from BMS recently (see "Another Pharma CEO Bites the Dust!").

The numbers don't lie: expect much more biotech marketing in the years ahead. If nothing else, these VPs have to justify their salaries!


  1. Anonymous11:04 AM

    Wow, no shit huh?

  2. Anonymous11:40 AM

    Hey, easy does it. I appreciate the conclusions, even if you think they just state the obvious.

  3. Anonymous2:54 PM

    I read the report and the most interesting item not mentioned was the average age of each position. with over 25 years experience in pharma marketing, I have noticed that most companies only look for younger, less experienced marketers. As this industry is heavily regulated, past experience in understanding the changes and nuances of the FDA would seem to be increasingly important. However, it seems that pharma marketers let their agencies drive positioning, strategy and tactical implementation that leads to award winning programs (i.e. Rozerem in the recent MM&M article) that don't seem to lead to sales results.

    It seems that over the past ten years that the education level of pharma marketers has increased but the qulaity of marketing has degenerated into a agency driven numbers and awards game.

    There seems to be a 'churn and burn 'em' approach to marketing. Sorry to say that pharma companies are not interested in experienced marketers rather than project managers of their tactical programs.

  4. That's a really good point and I'm sorry that I missed it in my review.


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