What happened to the great DTC marketers?

New Photodigitized Passport SystemI talked last night with an agency person who attended the ePharma conference last week and she was somewhat amazed at the turnover in DTC/digital marketing people within the industry. She felt that the turnover was as high as 80% and that a lot of the new people were really struggling to develop DTC marketing that drives conversion.  There are some great DTC marketing people out there but they can’t be identified through a normal hiring process. 

I moved to the Boston area so my wife could take a great job in Cambridge.  Because of my digital marketing experience and successes, I am picking up new biotech work, but I have been looking for a full time position and trying to get past the companies hiring website is both antiquated and doesn’t communicate the value I can bring to an organization.


I thought this might be my perception but I called 3 high ranking people in Biopharma and they said that they are having serious issues getting really talented people to work in pharma marketing.


(1) Mind-numbing meetings, overflowing inboxes and urgent projects that require you to drop everything and it takes forever to get anything done have driven talented people away from the industry.  A company’s biggest investment is in its people, but organizations are often disconnected and don’t use this resource appropriately

Fifty percent of meetings are considered a waste of time, and 74% of workers do other work while in meetings.

(2) Fifty-four percent of employees have felt frustrated about work and 40% say they don’t understand the company’s vision or have never seen it.

(3) From spreadsheets to presentations to memos and reports, the amount of paper organizations generate can be overwhelming. Managers gather information for meetings and to justify their jobs while they should be concentrating on empowered patients.

(4) It takes 16 minutes to refocus after handling incoming email, and 94% of workers feel overwhelmed by the amount of information they receive each day.  Too many emails flowing between groups.

(5) It’s hard to get through HR or HR doesn’t have a good understanding of what hiring managers are looking for.  Biogen Idec is right down the road from me and I would love to work for them but even when they had an open digital marketing position that was a great match for my background it was impossible to get to the hiring manager.


(6) Frustration of marketing programs that have been trimmed by M L R teams has led a lot of people to leave to go to CPG companies.

(7) Procurement has limited the agencies they work with or made it impossible to work with really creative agencies because of company requirements.

(8) Loss in confidence.  Fewer than one in three (30%) workers strongly believe that if their company was going through a major organizational shift, they’d trust their managers to tell them everything they needed to know. This in turn has led to working in an environment of fear.

(9) Waning Interest. Less than half of employees today can assert that they have felt committed (46%), fulfilled (28%), or excited (26%) about work in the last month.

(10) Lack of support. Nearly two in three (67%) American workers can name at least one thing that would prevent them from taking any kind of risk at work. Topping this list for 46% of these employees is not having enough support from supervisors.

If you want to hire people who just fit in then you're not hiring the right people.  You want to hire smart people who can challenge the status quo and bring new capabilities to the organization.

If you want to hire people who just fit in then you’re not hiring the right people. You want to hire smart people who can challenge the status quo and bring new capabilities to the organization.


1 thought on “What happened to the great DTC marketers?

  1. Rich: Havng worked with you at Lilly and Medtronic I believe that you are head an tails above any people we currently work with. You proved yourself time and time again and I’m sure you will find something great in the Boston area.

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