With journal spend taking a dive, many agencies have jettisoned internal media buyers, outsourcing to the big network shops among others. What do you see as the potential for employment and career advancement?

Dora P. Shankman
Shankman Marketing & Media Resources

Although journal spending is decreasing, journal advertising will always remain a tactic in the overall media plan’s campaign, but not be the core of a career competency. Clients are seeking cross functional, synergistic plans that complement each other. Unless one becomes a “specialist” in other forms of advertising promotion such as the web, patient and physician marketing and alternative media, and really understand how the marketing objectives will be achieved, professional media will be absorbed by the brand team’s and their digital agencies. If you look at the industry now, very few agencies have media departments. Professional media alone is no longer a career itself. It is not that the media function has changed, it is the media tactics itself that changed. A true media professional takes their blinders off.

John Marchese
EVP, director of account services,
Sudler & Hennessey

For starters, the future of professional media is already here! Physicians are looking for content that matters to them, so it will be very important for future media personnel to understand what type of value their brands can lend to physicians, and what mediums offer up the best way to share that information. Clients are looking for innovative, integrated programs that ensure consistency of messages, build physician relationships and create efficiencies. It will be critical to understand channels that help clients interact with their customers and make data-driven decisions. Industry professionals must understand how to link the value needs of the physician with the integration needs of clients. They must then apply those needs to the wider range of channel options we currently have.

Rebecca Frederick

Over the next two to three years, only a few publishers will survive and controlled print will virtually disappear due to lack of revenue and audience demand for flexible content formats. The new landscape will include consumer channels capable of targeting the HCP and promotion within medical applications, such as iAds that deliver a richer audience experience while addressing regulatory challenges. The new “media bazaar” potentially elevates the role of the HCP media professional from commodity buyer to channel planner whose job it is to keep planning holistic and integrated. These “gatekeepers” will need to think strategically, apply fiscal rigor to channel mix allocation and employ the science of analytics. Pharma companies will demand media agency partners that operate on this level.

Beth Gray
SVP, media strategy,
inVentiv Communications

The future of professional media is bright. “Professional media” should more appropriately be named “non-personal promotional planning” in 2010. Pharma Sales forces are on the decline and now is the moment for the media planner to expand their value within ad agencies. Curiosity and understanding of  new engagement channels will put planners at the center of the communications channel mix recommendation. Digital fragmentation of our audience demands experimentation and smart strategic perspective. For those willing to learn and grow there is no better time to be in media.