Welcome to the Real Life Series. In this section, GlobalMBAcareer brings you real life experiences of various MBA professionals who work across various roles from around the globe. Through this series, we intend to share with you what it means in real life to have a certain role and what it takes to be successful in it.
In this series, Robert – Director of Commercial Analytics of Actelion shares what it takes to have a successful career in the Commercial Analytics field through a 3 part series.
Commercial Analytics – Dr. Robert Siegmund (Part 2)
Challenges in Commercial Analytics and Commercial Insights
Commercial analytics has a larger number of challenges.
- You need to master the skills of several disciplines: strategic marketing, market and social research, competitive intelligence, data analytics, forecasting and strategic planning
- You need to be comfortable to deal with large data sets “big data”, all the while not losing the view of the big picture
- You need to have a deep understanding of the pharmaceutical product and market, as deep as your marketing and brand management colleagues, if not better.
- If you work on a not-yet launched product, you need to know the key clinical phase II and III (if they exist) data and of all the competitors. Only this way, you can estimate the potential of products correctly and design the right competitive analysis and competitive intelligence programs.
Apart from these technical points, you need to be a good, clear and persuasive communicator, as you will be often asked to present the results of your strategic analyses to marketing leadership and also other members of senior management. Instead of overwhelming senior management with data, you should focus on what the “big picture” is and what they key elements of “analytics story” are.
In this role, you will be working with many outside partners, consulting firms, market research firms and analytics outsourcing firms. So you need to be very good at translating your internal customers (marketing and senior management) needs into requirements for projects. You also need to be very skilled in project management as you will manager 3-6 big project simultaneously.
Another challenge i see is to act like an internal consultant, it is quite difficult to calculate the Return on investment of market research or competitive intelligence projects. It is not like sales where you can link activity and output or return directly. Therefore one has to be skilled at developing the relevant performance metrics for a commercial analytics team and be in constant close contact with marketing and senior leadership to ensure that the internal client’s needs are understood and met. Once there is a success story, it is worth celebrating and documenting it to have it for future resource and asset allocation discussions. Make sure to be not just a “services department”, but a strategic partner to marketing and senior leadership
Opportunities in Commercial Analytics and Commercial Insights
I believe that working in commercial insights should be part of every marketer’s career path, just as much as sales, product and brand management. By working in commercial analytics, you gain a much deeper understanding of the market dynamics, the brand, the customer and the competition.
Working in commercial analytics also sharpens the analytical, logical and strategic skills. While I saw this function originally as starting point into marketing, I have managed to turn it into an international career. The MBA has been a key prerequisite for me in order to carry out this job as it has provided me with most of the analytical marketing, management and strategy tool that I use in my job every day.
The typical career path post-MBA is to start in a local affiliate or regional headquarters as a market analyst or commercial analyst, afterwards you proceed to a line management role in market analytics managing a team of analysts locally or you proceed as a market analytics project manager in a global headquarters. After that, it is pretty much a functional career with the aim of becoming head of the market analytics and insights function for the company globally.
A different path out of a regional or global market analytics manager role is to join marketing and sales in a local affiliate company, depending on your local knowledge and language capabilities. This could be a sub-national sales manager position or head of account management or a local brand director position. After that you can proceed through the classical pharma marketing and sales career path that leads to local and global marketing and sales roles of increasing responsibility.
Yet, others decide to move from a market analytics manager position into a global business development and licensing position. Some companies have analytics type entry level position in global business development and licensing or in the merger and acquisition department. Following on from this first BD&L role, a full career in BD&L may follow or one can move into the marketing and sales career path described above.
A fourth development path is to move from market analytics manager role into consulting in a market research consultancy or analytics consultancy. Others decide to move in the other direction from a consultancy in a corporate role in analytics.
So as you can see it is all quite flexible, marketing analytics can be both a career in its own right and an entry point for a marketing and sales career that can lead all the way to the executive boardroom.
To access Part3 click here – Commercial Analytics – Dr. Robert Siegmund (Part 3)