Since the Internet bubble burst sometime around 2000-2002, eMarketers inside pharmaceutical companies have been systematically purged — either they have been “integrated” into brand teams and effectively stymied or they have been laid off or forced into early retirement. It became very difficult to find anyone inside pharma with “e” in their job titles. In fact, having such a title was considered detrimental to your career within pharma.

I have pointed out that recently several friends inside pharma who have lead eMarketing campaigns have left their positions (see “Friends in the Pharma Industry are Losing Their Jobs“), which I attributed to the current recession within the industry (76% of respondents to my poll — see left sidebar — agree that the drug industry is in a recession).

Yesterday, however, my pessimism about eMarketers inside pharma was tempered somewhat when I met several members of this dying breed at exl Pharma’s 2nd Annual Digital Pharma conference in Princeton, NJ. Some are even hiring!

The audience was chock full of pharma people, which is rare at industry conferences these days. That is, most often vendors far outnumber pharma people.

Many people recognized me from my photo on this blog and came up to me to say hello and how much they enjoyed reading this blog. Most were pharma people and a couple of them admitted that one or two things I said here caused quite a discussion among their team members. They meant it as a compliment and I am gratified to learn that I am helping bring forward important issues that deserve discussion within pharma.

I’ll have more to say about the Digital Pharma conference later. Meanwhile, I am heading off today to moderate a roundtable discussion of ROI and Closed Loop Marketing at the Pharma Force conference in Philadelphia. If you are attending that conference, I hope to meet you there!