PharmaTimes talks to Sabina Syed, managing director, Visions4Health and co-chair of the Marketer of the Year steering group about the importance of the competition against an ever changing landscape.

Marketer of the Year is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. How has the role of the marketer and the environment they work in changed in that time?

Today the marketer is challenged much more to ensure a multi channel approach to their activities. Historically the emphasis may have been on the sales force and paper based tools but with access to customers dwindling, more innovative and digital approaches to communications has become critical.

In addition, the marketer has a more complex and differentiated customer environment to communicate with. Historically marketers considered the clinical aspects only and budget holder conversations were limited and tended to view the NHS as one organisation. Now a national marketing approach to the NHS as one customer is dead. The NHS could be considered as different shoals of fish that marketers need to work with and ensure they target the right ones and tailor their messaging in order to get the business outcomes they desire.

How do you see it changing in the future?

The power of the clinician will become more diluted through increased protocol and use of AI technology , we will see an increased focus on patients' choice and there will be new customers to communicate and engage with (e.g. pharmacists and nurses making prescribing and procurement decisions). In addition, marketers will need to contend with an NHS that is becoming more commercially savvy and respond with commercial outcomes based approaches/solutions to doing business with their customers.

Why is this competition so important?

It's the only competition that supports professional development and independently tests candidates on their marketing and communications skills against their peers across the industry. The judges are from a number of companies which allows for that extra rigour to the competition process.

This competition remains important for our industry which is constantly evolving to meet the demands of policy makers, healthcare systems, patients and speed of technological advances.

Categories include: Aspiring Marketer of the Year, New Marketer of the Year (0-3 years), Marketer of the Year (4 years plus), Market Access Lead of the Year, Aspiring Business Unit/Marketing Director and Commercial Cross Functional Team of the Year.

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