Grooming the next generation of healthcare marketers

Dudnyk employees speak to Temple advertising students

Two Dudnyk employees had the opportunity to speak with Temple University students interested in the field of healthcare marketing. John Kennard, PhD, Associate Scientific Director, and Michael Small, Copywriter, paid visits in October to Professor Laurie Harrington’s "Intro to Pharmaceutical Advertising" class. The 14 students in the class are majoring in various aspects of advertising, from account and art direction to strategy and creative.

John introduced the students to his role and responsibilities as a scientific director in a healthcare advertising agency. His transition from lab research to healthcare marketing was of particular interest to the students. The students were fascinated with John's description of the marriage between science and creative to create scientifically sound, effective, and impactful messages for clients.

John led the students through several discussions ranging from what different disciplines bring to a project to what drives changes in physicians’ behavior. John explained the implications of the Food and Drug Administration’s 2014 statement on social media marketing and what the future may hold, which ignited a lively conversation on the sensitivity and direction of social media regulation when it comes to healthcare marketing.

Michael brought his creative perspective to the class by discussing what makes a great brand concept. Touching on the collaboration of art and copy, Michael asked the students to dissect several pharmaceutical ads in various disease categories, picking out what worked and what didn’t. Many students were curious as to how great creative is produced in such a regulated industry. Through different exercises, Michael was able to shed light on the subject while taking students through the creative process from insight mining to positioning to concept development and finally, to execution.

Students were also interested in the day-to-day experiences of both agency employees. As John and Michael explained, there are never two days alike in the advertising industry, a point that intrigued their audience.

John Kennard, PhD said, “One of my favorite parts of this industry is that every day brings something new and engaging, with a fresh set of challenges to tackle head on.”

A subject of particular interest was the regulatory review process. The students were interested to hear about it from both the scientific and creative perspectives. John and Michael described the collaboration that needs to exist between the client's regulatory department and the advertising agency to best navigate the world of fair balance (clearly describing the risks and benefits of the drug for its intended disease). Students learned about the process as a whole and all the moving parts associated with taking an ad from concept to print.

In the ever-evolving advertising industry, it’s important to help engage and educate the next generation of healthcare marketers. John and Michael thoroughly enjoyed the time they spent discussing their roles with this class of Temple students. The students walked away from each presentation feeling pleased with their career choices and with a new appreciation for the creative and scientific roles discussed as well as the industry as a whole.

“It was wonderful to see these students so engaged and interested, and to know that this [pharmaceutical advertising] is a subject that has garnered enough traction to be included in Temple’s advertising curriculum. The industry is moving forward at such an astonishing pace that it’s key that the next generation be ahead of the curve,” said Michael Small.

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