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Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Drug Industry Needs Constructive Criticism, Not Pugilistic Put Downs

Every once in a while I like to survey readers of Pharma Marketing Blog to learn more about who you are and what topics you are interested in. You might have seen the survey pop up when you came here today.

If you have a minute, please fill out the survey and help me make this blog more useful to you. If you haven't seen the pop-up, you can take the survey by clicking here.

What I Have Learned
Preliminary results of the survey lead me to believe that this blog is addressing an umet need among pharmaceutical company insiders. Here's a summary of the reults so far:
Professional Affiliation of Readers
  • 41% are employed in a pharmaceutical, biotech, or drug device company
  • 11% are employed in a marketing communications company or advertising agency
  • 14% are employed in another type of company that services the pharmaceutical industry
Support for the Pharmaceutical Industry
  • 66% are somewhat or very supportive of the pharmaceutical industry in general
  • 19% are somewhat or very critical of the pharmaceutical industry in general
Some Topics of Interest to Readers
  • 55% chose "new ideas for drug marketing"
  • 49% chose "questionable marketing practices"
  • 43% chose "physician marketing"
  • 43% chose "FDA and regulatory/legal issues"
It's interesting that although almost 60% of blog readers feel that Pharma Marketing Blog is somewhat or very critical of the industry (see Pharma Blogosphere Survey Summary), two-thirds of our readers are themselves on the "other side of the fence"; ie, somewhat or very supportive of the industry! And 40% are employed within the industry.

Constructive Criticism Lacking in Trade Press
I interpret this to mean that industry insiders and supporters want to learn from constructive criticism, which I hope is what I am providing.

Constructive criticism may be a great unmet need that most of the mainstream trade publications like Pharmaceutical Executive Magazine, MM&M, DTC Perspectives are NOT satisfying.

These great publications are highly esteemed by industry insiders and often read cover to cover. They have great reach within the industry and among the very top leadership of big pharma companies. It's a shame they tend to repeat conventional wisdom and stick to the industry's PR playbook.

Recently, I had a chance to speak with Anne Devereux, CEO, LyonHeart and TBWA\WorldHealth, in a Pharma Marketing Talk Podcast. The topic was: "Questioning Conventional Pharma Marketing Wisdom. How Disruption Can Lead to Game-changing Ideas." The disruptive technique her agency employs includes bringing ideas from "outsiders" into the mix to "challenge conventions in an environment that has become less about risk taking and too often about risk management." (Listen to the interview here.)

My Proposal to PE, MM&M, et al
If ad agencies can bring in ideas from "outsiders," then I think PE, MM&M, et al can do the same.

I propose that these great publications consider providing a few "column inches" of space to commentary from constructively critical bloggers like myself. You can call it "A Contrarian POV" and disclaim responsibility for the comments so that your advertisers won't be pissed off!

I would be glad to contribute to such a column.

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