Applying for co-op, I knew what I wanted from my third work term – an organization that would provide me with distinctive marketing competencies to help build my career. When I came across the opportunity to be a Marketing Associate at LifeScan Canada, it looked like the perfect company with which to gain valuable co-op experience. After the three-phase interview, I was ecstatic when I found out I had succeeded and was receiving a job offer.
My work term began in January 2013. The first step was to learn about the organization, the marketing department and specifically, my role. LifeScan Canada is a Johnson & Johnson company that manufactures the OneTouch brand of blood glucose monitoring products for people living with diabetes. At LifeScan, the marketing department is structured to target each of our stakeholders: Healthcare Professionals (HCPs), Pharmacists, and Consumers.
Looking at this, we have three different teams working in the marketing department: The Professional team for HCPs, the Retail team for Pharmacists and the Brand team for Consumers. Each team works by specifically keeping their end consumer in mind and understands the needs of the different segments that each category holds.
My position is within the Professional marketing team (medical), which involves developing go-to market tools and programs to drive OneTouch recommendations among their HCPs. The HCPs we target include Nurses, Diabetes Nurse Educators (more specialized), General Practioners and Endocrinologists (doctors specializing in diabetes).
Diving Right In!
The first week went by in training – from learning about the parent organization Johnson & Johnson, to understanding the processes that were involved in every decision. It felt like a storm of information, information and more information. The next few weeks went by in a flash. I was introduced to our third party agencies and vendors to begin refreshing existing marketing materials.
In marketing, it’s all about the end consumer. I’m sure everyone who’s ever taken a marketing course has heard this multiple times. When you understand your consumer, you better market your product. Learning more about diabetes and the patient journey helped me to understand the marketing programs we currently have in place, as well as the direction we are heading in as a department and organization.
The Marketing & Sales Connection
In the first month, I had the opportunity to partake in the company’s semi-annual Sales Conference. The purpose of the conference is to provide the Sales Reps with Sales direction and to launch the new marketing tools and programs. Since I was so new to LifeScan, this conference was a great introduction to the world of marketing and to the company. With that, it also showed the connection between the sales force and the marketing team. This collaborative relationship is so essential and almost forgotten in a lot of marketing textbooks! For the sales team to do their job well, they need to be equipped with the right tools. One of my responsibilities is to ensure that marketing materials are up-to-date and in stock for the Reps to order from our distribution center. If the content or branding is not up-to-date, the Sales Reps cannot service their customers with the tools they need.
As the Professional Marketing Associate, I am responsible for refreshing any material that needs to be updated. I am also responsible for developing various programs such as the Youth Packs. This program aims to provide education and support to children newly diagnosed and to ease them into the world of diabetes. Managing these programs and marketing materials requires working with many third party vendors such as our design agencies, print vendor, and payment management company. I also work with the in-house Supply and Logistics team to ensure the delivery of items to the distribution center, as well as the Regulatory team to ensure my marketing pieces are compliant to the legal and regulatory requirements.
As a medical company, LifeScan Canada has to be more sensitive to healthcare regulations. If any of our marketing materials initiate a negative impact, it not only damages the company’s reputation, it (more importantly) puts the patients at risk. As a company who is grounded in Credo, this is very important. In order to regulate, we have many processes in place that help us control our actions. Sometimes, these processes can be very tiring; each process takes time and effort to complete. However, when you’re working with such a large organization, these processes are essential in achieving high compliance.
The Learning Curve
Getting a chance to lead these programs has been filled with an enormous amount of learning. You really have to prepare yourself for a very steep learning curve if you are starting out at LifeScan Canada. I learn every single day, and trust me, I’m not exaggerating when I say this – I really do learn something every day. This, to me, is the best part of the job. It just means you can never get bored of what you do. Now, that it’s been a few months at this company, I feel that I’m ready and better prepared for the job market. Conversely, there is still a long road to more learning!
With my second article, I’ll be walking through my summer semester and how I have developed as a Marketer working at LifeScan Canada.
Beyond the Blog
Find out more about the Business Co-op program.