Source: Medical Marketing & Media April 15, 2010
Something’s wrong somewhere. How can so many marketing managers lack the leadership skills that industry requires of them? We believe it is due to the internal trial by fire culture that exists in the market today -- individuals who want to get to the next level in their careers in 18 months or less. Remember when the industry had “Product Champions” in marketing who brought the product through development to a commercial model and was committed to the product/service till the end? They made a career out of being a “respiratory marketer” who senior leadership relied on for answers.
Through this assessment of more than 500 industry execs who supervise marketing managers, one can see the lack of investment in people that industry once held as a hallmark, an investment that would pay dividends. In this survey, conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership, 16 skills that the execs considered important for their marketing managers were compared with actual competency levels, as assessed by the managers' co-workers. Five of the skills the execs said were most important – leading, motivating and involving staff, staying cool under pressure, effectively driving change – were at the bottom of the actual skill sets. More than 4,600 co-workers responded.
You see this today very clearly as companies are adding to the level of pressure because most workers are now remote. Teams of experts do not gather together face to face to resolve conflict because everyone is on live meeting. We believe change occurs at a much slower pace and while decisions are often immediate, there appear to be a lot more failed projects today than there were 6, 10 years ago in the industry. When was the last time you talked with one of your friends in Pharma who really enjoys being in the commercial world? They are more the exception than the rule nowadays.
Not all the news from the survey was awful. The co-workers said that the marketing managers do what it takes to get the job done, are decisive and are resourceful – all excellent qualities, considering the tasks that lie ahead for industry. However, if this survey is on target, we think it raises a few questions:
- What does this tell us about the commercial personnel and the business model in the industry today?
- How will the industry evolve its marketing model to deliver customer value?
- How did the situation get this way? Was it neglect or a conscious effort that lead to this approach?
- Have individual firms gotten so big that individual performance is being overlooked and goes unrewarded?
- What can leaders in industry do to correct performance?
We think this is an excellent article that should stir some debate in organizations like PHRMA, BIO, and AdvaMed. With all the right sizing going on, we believe a lot more talent is flowing out of companies than into them at the moment. We are interested in your thoughts.