My esteemed colleague Marilyn Mann, who has been a great help in highlighting items for my attention, was so kind as to send me the 8-brochure for this conference:
--to wit, eyeforpharma's Sales Force Effectiveness Summit, to be held May 4-5 in Princeton, NJ.
I wanted to give you the link to the brochure itself. But when you click on "download brochure" on the homepage above, you are asked to fill in a series of questions, including name, position, and company you work for. Only then can you access the brochure. I am not sure if that is designed to keep out snoops like me, who are not really part of Pharma marketing, or of it's just part of their own marketing campaign to expand their e-Rolodex. Anyhow, being sufficiently paranoid that I did not want to tell them who I am, I did not access the brochure myself and will rely on the copy Marilyn kindly sent me.
First thing that jumps out at a pore ole academic like me is the price tag-- if you want the Platinum package, which gives you access to the most bells and whistles, this 2-day event will cost you $2295--it goes up to $2695 if you miss the "early bird" window. (If you're a skinflint, you can make do with the Silver pass for a mere $1795.)
More seriously, though, I scanned the program to see if I could find any clues about what impact efforts at reform of Pharma marketing, such as the new PhRMA code of conduct that bans pens and coffee mugs, etc., is having on the way that the marketers themselves think about their work. Answer--not much, apparently. There are a number of vague references to the "changing climate" (for instance, "Understand how the role of the rep has altered in light of economic and political change to refocus your targets and objectives"). But for the most part it seems to be business as usual.
Sessions on "Sales Tools and Technology" and "Physician Access," for instance, will instruct you on how to "teach your reps to 'target within their target' at key sales periods to further optimize sales and establish relationships"; "recognize the barriers to entry that reps face"; "learn to communicate with your physician demographic to understand their thought process"; "web based promotion, e-detailing and tele-detailing."
What industry outsiders like me learn from this program, mostly, is the way that big fleas have little fleas to suck their blood and so forth. Pharma wants to sell drugs to patients, meaning that physicians must write scripts, so they have to sell to physicians. In turn, marketing know-how companies (like eyeforpharma, and most of the companies that are putting on panels at the conference) want to sell their consulting services and technologies to the Pharma firms. It would all be laughable if all of this blood-sucking (including the exhorbitant conference registration costs) did not end up on the tab of the poor patient who has to pay for the drugs.