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Monday, March 17, 2008

Is the Pharma Industry in a Recession?

The U.S. has finally slid into recession, according to the majority of economists in the latest Wall Street Journal economic-forecasting survey (see "Most Economists Say Recession Has Arrived as Outlook Darkens").

Drug sales in the U.S. grew at their slowest pace since 1961 according to IMS Health Inc. (see "Drug Sales in U.S. Grow at Slower Pace").

Just how how mild or strong or long this recession will be is any body's guess!

Like everyone else, I'm wondering how the recession may affect my business, which depends upon how well my clients -- i.e., you -- are doing.

Many of readers of Pharma Marketing Blog service the pharmaceutical industry (see "Who Reads Pharma Marketing Blog"), which is not growing as fast as it did in the past. Usually, that means cutting back on expenses -- especially labor expenses. But will the industry also cut back on advertising and promotion, which is our bread and butter?

What can we do?

First, do we believe that there will be cutbacks in ad budgets? You can give your opinion by taking this little poll.

Is the Pharma Industry in a Recession?
Yes
No
Not sure
Not yet, but soon
May not be a recession, but it's hurting!

If you think there is a recession in the industry, what should we do? Should we stop criticizing the industry and let it do its thing? Maybe. But I think it's more important that we help the industry be more effective with whatever budget it has.

We also have to think of ourselves.

BusinessWeek magazine has this to say:
"...while hunkering down at work is a natural reaction, a few bold strokes on the job front—raising rather than lowering your profile—is the wiser course of action. The job-saving mantra we've heard before is one that bears repeating: Network, network, network." (See "Strategies for Surviving the Slump".)
What's your strategy for surviving the slump?

Now more than ever we need to get the word out about our business and do it cost-effectively. Online and e-mail based marketing, which is what I do, should fare very well in that scenario (knock on wood).

One thing IS certain. This is no time to sit back and wait for opportunities to come to you!

You must get out there and network if you expect to keep your job, keep your current clients, find new new clients, and generally CREATE opportunities rather than wait for them to come to you! That is why I am AGAIN hosting a networking event for pharmaceutical marketing professionals.

I have done this in the past via Pharma Marketing Network with great success. The last networking event I hosted in April, 2006, was attended by over 100 people! (See photos, sponsors, and attendee list here.)

I expect this year's event to be as, if not more, successful. In order to ensure that, I encourage you to take a few minutes to answer the Networking Event Preferences Survey that will help me design a networking event that is perfect for you and me!

At the end of the survey you will have the opportunity to get your name on the short list of people I will contact PRIOR to announcing the event. I will also offer you a 15-25% discount for early bird registration.

Your response to this survey is strictly confidential and no identifiable information you provide will be shared with third parties unless you give me permission to contact you.

Access the survey here: Networking Event Preferences Survey

Whatever your slump survival tactics are, Good luck!

P.S. if you wish to share your survival strategy, please consider posting your ideas and suggestions to the "Networking Opportunities" online discussion board/forum I have set up over at the Pharma Marketing Network Forums site.

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