What does the industry have in store for aspiring marketers? We ask last year's New Marketer of the Year, Thom Renwick

What is your background and current role?

I studied at King's College London and Cranfield School of Management then took up a graduate role in the sales team at Roche. This was a great platform for pharmaceutical marketing as it gave me an understanding of the healthcare professional from an on-the-ground perspective, and insight into how to add value for them.

I'm currently a brand manager at Roche, working on prelaunch brands in oncology. One of the great things about the role is that it's given me wider exposure to the business, working closely with global and cross-functional colleagues.

My day-to-day work is to develop and implement the strategic plan, and ensure alignment and collaboration with key opinion leaders, as well as being the brand champion internally.

What are the main challenges facing pharma marketers?

Our biggest challenge is also our biggest opportunity (I know that sounds like a cliché, but I believe it holds some truth within pharma marketing). In a world where information is constantly pushed at healthcare professionals, as marketeers, we must cut through the noise with relevant, timely and convenient content.

What are some of the biggest trends right now?

We're putting much greater emphasis on understanding both the healthcare professional and the patient, which is starting to deliver really tangible benefits allowing us to offer solutions and services that go beyond just our medicines.

For example, apps to help patients monitor themselves or for doctors to monitor their patients are opening up a new world of how we can add value to the community. It goes far beyond just providing a medicine and marketing around that product now.

At Roche, our mission is to do now what patients need next, with a real focus on personalised medicine. This is an area that aligns with my personal values of focusing on the patient and has given me a platform to flourish and continue my learning development.

What advice would you give to people entering the industry?

My biggest piece of advice would be to seek a mentor – somebody who can observe, who can offer insight and who can guide you. I found this to be incredibly beneficial; I'm really fortunate that this type of working relationship is encouraged in Roche.

Why did you enter the Marketer of the Year competition?

I entered because it's one of the few competitions that focuses on head-to-head, time-pressured challenges. I've always been very competitive by nature and combine that with a genuine passion for marketing and I jumped at the chance to benchmark myself against peers in the competition.

How was the competition process?

Although the process was tough, it was realistic; having to quickly translate insights into a compelling story is a common task for all brand managers and one I particularly enjoy. The benefit of having industry experts judge the work really challenges your thinking, and it's certainly given me a fresh perspective with which to return to my day job.

Do you have any advice for those entering this year?

Don't be scared to try something different; the pharma industry's backbone is innovation and this competition represents a safe environment where you can debate your ideas in front of a panel of industry experts.

Has winning impacted your career?

Apart from the competition giving me considerable recognition both internally and externally, it's also pushed me to share some of my marketing expertise. For example, I recently became a business mentor for the Virgin StartUp initiative.

What are your ambitions over the next few years?

I'm looking to gain significant experience in emerging markets. I'm really eager to learn about new ways of working and how to improve the standard of living for patients in less developed regions. I believe it will be this diverse work experience that will help me make a significant contribution to the industry we all work in. q

To enter this year's PharmaTimes Marketer of the Year competition, visit pharmatimes.com/moy