We sat down with five of 2010 winners of Trailblazer Brand Manager Awards to talk about how the recognition has affected their careers, what they expect of themselves, and how to make the program better. Stuart Davis, Jeff Dierks, Jennifer George, Joe Shields, and Andrew J. Watson tell us what it’s like to win.

Stuart Davis
2010 Brand Manager Award in the Dermatology category, for Sculptra Aesthetic (sanofi-aventis)
Stuart Davis is head of Aesthetics Marketing at sanofi-aventis.

I’ve benefited from being announced as a Trailblazer Awards Brand Manager Winner in several ways. Some of the recognition has come recently—with people now becoming aware of my having received the award—even though it was last year. I’ve also received positive peer and industry recognition.

It’s always nice to be recognized, and the award indicates that I’m a good pharmaceutical industry marketer. The award recognition complements my other marketing experience and skills from Proctor & Gamble.

I think the award process can be improved by ensuring that the agency, which did a great deal of the work, gets recognized as well.

I also think PM360 could improve the award name to have a more “senior” connotation. When I hear “manager,” I perceive “junior” rather than “senior.” “Marketing leadership” would more accurately describe the people I saw represented as Brand Manager Award recipients.

In terms of the event marketing and sponsorship, I would like to see another component added, such as an industry luncheon honoring Award recipients. I’m sure this would increase industry awareness and event mindshare. An event such as the annual DTC conference would be a great place at which to announce winners, and have them speak about their experiences. Longer term, I think that PM360 could create a product manager “Hall of Fame,” wherein you recognize the people who’ve made life-long and/or significant contributions in pharma marketing.

Jeff Dierks
2010 Brand Manager Award in the Pain/Inflammation category, for Lidoderm (Endo)
Jeffrey Dierks is Senior Director, Topical Pain Solutions Marketing at Endo Pharmaceuticals.

Winning the Trailblazer award has been a great way to reconnect with colleagues from the industry. I received a number of e-mails of congratulations from past mentors and peers, which has allowed me to maintain a broad network of colleagues in the industry. I have been asked to participate in a number of speaking opportunities on patient adherence and compliance. Maintaining this contact has enabled me to get different insights into industry trends, opportunities in the market and share thoughts on how to overcome challenges we are all facing.

The Award has reinforced the impact we can have as individuals and motivates me to continue to do more for my brand, the organization and ultimately the patients we are serving. Knowing that challenges still exist with the patient-physician dialogue in every disease category with respect to compliance and persistency, my goal is to continue to search for new and innovative ways to empower patients and healthcare professionals that will ultimately lead to better patient outcomes.

Two ideas I have around the Trailblazer Award process: Develop a communication to the Senior Leadership and subscribers at the companies of the winners to let them know that a member from their company has won an award. And invite past winners to get together at future PM360 Award dinners for a “PM360 Trailblazer Award Winner Alumni” gathering—great opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and share, learn from the future leaders in the industry.

Jennifer George
2010 Brand Manager Award in the Medical Device, for the Cavity SpineWand (ArthroCare)
Jennifer George is a Medical Marketing Consultant who has driven product development for ArthroCare, Covidien, and Kaiser Permanente, among others.

Being recognized as a Trailblazer award winner has opened doors for me to work with innovative companies in both the medical and technology sectors. Such companies are looking for an expert in the medical marketing segment. When I am selected for a project, it is due to my background of fifteen-plus years in medical marketing, and consistent top-level results, coupled with industry recognition.

Companies really look for the “entire package”— especially in this market—and that is where I feel this award really has added value and differentiated me from others. In addition, the ability to kickstart a project with established industry recognition and credibility greatly assists me in ensuring that they are comfortable with the project strategy and deliverables. Interestingly, I’ve also been able to leverage the recognition into opportunities to discuss elements of successful branding in seminars directed at hospital administrators (with a larger industry group). You never want to miss the opportunity to educate!

I am proud to be honored as a recipient of the award as it has given the experts in medical marketing an opportunity to be recognized for passion, hard work and dedication—which entails long nights and, many times, weekends. All in an effort to move the sales needle.

[Concerning the Trailblazer program itself,] I would have appreciated the ability for the magazine management to communicate with my management about the award and recognition, rather than it coming from me (when I worked at ArthroCare). Reaching out to C-level about staff that are being recognized for their contributions has a ripple effect in terms of adoption, and interest in the publication itself throughout the rest of the organization.

Joe Shields
2010 Brand Manager Award in the Autoimmune category, for Enbrel (Pfizer)
Joe Shields is Associate Director, Marketing at LifeScan, Inc.

I have found that public recognition like the PM360 Trailblazer Awards usually creates a virtuous cycle for someone’s career. If you are seen as an innovator, you will attract people with new and interesting ideas, who in turn will help you become even more innovative. Being a Trailblazer doesn’t mean you have the answers, but it may provide introductions to people who do.

Professional recognition and feedback from one’s peers can be a fantastic motivator in maintaining your day-to-day momentum, sometimes almost as much of a motivator as helping patients. I feel fortunate to be part of a community of talented industry professionals, and I am honored to work with and learn from them every day. For me, learning is like oxygen.

Andrew J. Watson
2010 Brand Manager Award in the Respiratory category, for Bromfed DM (Wockhardt)
Andrew J. Watson is Director of Marketing at Wockhardt USA.

Receiving a 2010 Trailblazer Award was a pleasant surprise and an honor to be recognized among the other therapeutic area winners. The recognition should really be shared with the entire commercial team—Wockhardt, Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals, BroadLeaf, and Quintiles.

The award and article in PM360 reminded me how important it is to think outside the box. Too often we are bound by perceived limitations. By exploring alternate and creative ideas with my agency, we were able to explore some nontraditional ways to drive business. The award led to some internal recognition via the Wockhardian corporate newsletter published in India. I received many congratulatory emails from Wockhardt senior management and colleagues from around the globe who were able to put a face with my name. The newswire press releases also resulted in the welcome reconnecting with quite a few industry friends, and even some new business contacts.

In addition to my responsibilities for setting the strategic direction for the brand, my role has expanded and I am now also charged with leading the sales efforts through our CSO sales team.

It is always nice to be recognized by your peers…plus my kids, wife, and Mum are proud. While the award validates my creative thinking, truthfully my focus remains on the bottom line of Wockhardt USA. My expectations remain as high as ever. As a business unit we strive to exceed our performance from 2010. Our team remains customer-focused with respect to serving the needs of patients, while educating and raising awareness of unapproved medicines putting children at risk.

[As to improving the Trailblazer program,] we could be sent on a lavish trip to discuss the benefits of the awards. Potentially even some cold hard cash would be nice. All kidding aside, I am honored to have received this award and look forward to attending the 2011 PM360 Trailblazer Awards ceremony.


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