Last month I attended another black-tie awards ceremony in New York City — the Manny Awards — hosted by MedAdNews.

Three things about this ceremony struck me:

  1. The awards were focused solely on the work of agencies producing professional (ie, physician-focused) advertising for the drug industry, and
  2. I was a stranger in a strange land!

Oh yeah! #3: Many of these agencies were doing quite well and were hiring! MedAdNews published the financials of many of these agencies and I noted that a good number of them had substantially INCREASED their headcount AND their incomes in 2007 vs. 2006

Obviously, pharma spending on physician marketing is alive and well and probably growing.

Spending on direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising, on the other hand, is DECREASING.

The recent May issue of MedAdNews lays out the facts in its 14th Annual Report on DTC: $5.37 billion was spent on DTC in 2007 vs. $5.61 in 2006 (a 4.2% decrease; see Table below).

Media-DTC Advertising Expenditure 2007 vs. 2006 (Source: MedAdNews/Neilsen Monitor-Plus; includes promotion via Website — not including search — and non-branded advertising.)

AbelsonTaylor (AT), which won Mannies for the “Most Admired” as well as the “Most Feared” agency, increased its headcount from 325 in 2006 to 252 in 2007.

You may remember AT as the agency responsible for such DTC classics as Abe Lincoln meets beaver in those Rozerem ads (see “Rozerem Ads Dis Lincoln, Show Beaver“). But you may not know that AT really specializes in professional promotion and its Rozerem ad debacle (see “Rozerem Ad Spending Exceeds Sales!“) was its first foray into DTC advertising. Better stick to your knitting AT. Who knows, maybe the new hires are meant to beef up its DTC division.

Cline Davis & Mann, LLC, which won the Manny for Agency of the Year, increased its headcount from650 in 2006 to 735 in 2007.

The list goes on.

Need to Learn More About Physician Marketing?
It appears that I need to learn more about the professional side of pharmaceutical marketing because that’s where the smart pharma marketing money is going. And a good place for me — and you — to learn more about that side of the business is at this year’s Pharma Marketing Networking Dinner Reception at the Princeton, NJ Marriott on Wednesday, June 4.

Approximately 50% of registered attendees have indicated that physician marketing/education is their primary focus and another 14% say it’s their secondary focus.

At least 2 presenters — Paul Boidy from ReachMD and Shaun McIver from StreamLogics — will speak about alternative ways of reaching physicians. For more information, please see the agenda for this meeting. I hope to see you there!