Fourteen Committee members met on the 14th September for the PM Society’s quarterly Committee meeting led by Co-Chair Rachel Farrow. The team welcomed David Clarke from Ethical Reach who was attending for the first time. In addition to updates on the awards, PriMe and the two interest groups, key topics for discussion included how the Society should be adapting itself over the next 5 years, how we can maximise the value of participation for volunteers and how we can best communicate to our members.


Committee members present:

Becki Ahmed (PharmiWeb Solutions)
Vivien Bennett (PM Society)
Hassan Choudhury (Heath iQ)
David Clarke (Ethical Reach)
Gavin Coetzee (Health iQ)
Jonathan Dancer (redbow consulting)
Rachel Farrow (PM Society)
Kate Hopkinson (11 London)
Rosie Humphries (Radical Departures)
Adam Jeffrey (Pharmaphorum)
Dominic Marchant (DJM Unlimited)
Ram Patel (Brainsell)
Calum Shaw (sanofi)
Colin Williams (PharmiWeb Solutions)


1. PM Society Awards 2016

VB advised that the PM Society Awards 2016 had now launched with the call for entries.

One notable change to the list of categories is the change of name of Digital Interactive to Interactive Communications which it is believed will broaden its appeal. The event will also see the inauguration of the Best of Show Award which will replace the Pro Bono Award. The team was delighted that Dean Woolley, Executive Creative Director of woolley pau gyro, had agreed to act as Head Judge.

It was pleasing to note that two additional people had been recruited to join the planning team and anyone else interested in supporting the group should contact

RF commented that the website had been updated to coincide with the launch – the new site has been developed to better handle usage on mobile devices and is being populated with additional content – both with reports and articles from the interest groups and a monthly committee member viewpoint.


2. Digital Awards

RF advised that, following on from a discussion at the last committee meeting, the date of the 2017 event has been moved to 6 September in order to avoid clashes with other awards events taking place in June and early July. The first meeting of the Digital Awards Steering Group will take place in Q4 and anyone interested in attending should contact or


3. Patient Engagement Interest Group

RH advised that the team is currently working on gathering examples of best practice and, from these, will produce an article for the website which will showcase award winning projects. In October, an online forum, to include pharma representatives, patients and patient advocacy groups, will discuss the challenges they face and this will be followed by a live workshop in November. The ultimate aim is to produce a best practice guide to patient engagement.

DM suggested that Health Unlocked, a group aggregating all patient groups, could be a source of help and that their Commercial Director, Phil Golz, would be a good addition to a speaker panel. RH requested anyone interested in joining the group to get in touch.


4. Market Access Interest Group

It was noted that the group had been meeting regularly and moving forward with their initiatives. In the lead’s (Craig Bradley) absence HC advised that the main focus of the last meeting was to develop a survey to create awareness of the interest group, establish the current needs of the audience and to develop an MA 101. RP had been advising on the survey which will be issued in the next few weeks and there is a plan to share interim questionnaire results before year end with a plan to generate enough content which could be utilised online or lead to an event to take place in early 2017.


5. PriMe

JD advised that a few new courses had been developed, including two launch excellence courses – one aimed at pharma and the other at agencies. A pilot course around account management had been well received and will be added to the offering. A course on multi-channel marketing is at the early stages of development.

JD commented that the courses were all very well received but the challenge is getting enough people to attend. The ratio of pharma to agency attendees is 60:40 with some pharma companies regularly sending their staff and the plan over the next few months is to develop a plan to reach additional pharma companies in particular.

The team will be developing a pricing structure for in-house training as this is being asked about more often. The team will also consider a discount structure for agencies, particularly one to incentivise people to the next level of courses.


6. The Future of the Society

Three break out groups individually discussed three major areas of interest to the Society in developing future plans:


a) What is the PM Society’s value proposition for agencies and pharma benefiting from our services?

(what should the Society be doing? Are the three objectives of recognising excellence, networking and education still fit for purpose?)

Led by JD the group agreed that the Society needs to explore and agree its purpose and its values. The current mission states that the Society ‘seeks to promote marketing excellence’ but the group felt that excellence was only being recognised, by acknowledgement at the award events, but was not actively being promoted. Ideas for the future:

  • The group believes that the Society’s core purpose should be to ‘lead excellence in pharmaceutical marketing’ over all its activities

  • The Society needs to look at how the awards can link to best practice throughout the year – following up with best practice case studies, films from the event etc, with CME always in mind

  • PriMe training should be linked to the standards of excellence and any gaps in training filled so that PriMe training becomes a rite of passage for all marketers

  • Consider a name change from Society (large social grouping sharing the same geographical or social territory) to Institute (an organization having a particular purpose, especially one that is involved with science, education, or a specific profession)

  • The Society’s values should be promoted as being inclusive, proactive, purposeful, meaningful, connected, passionate

  • The Society should have the vision of being known as “the organisation recognised internationally as setting the standard in pharmaceutical marketing”


B) What is the value of the PM Society to its volunteers?

(how do we create sufficient value for our volunteers and what do we expect of them?)

Led by RF the group considered the current committee and their interest and involvement with it and noted the following:

  • People engage with the Society when invited to become involved in an activity that resonates with them – an area where there is connective value in becoming involved, eg, Digital Awards, market access interest group.

  • In addition to education, networking is also important as it gives members an opportunity to meet and share views/experiences. Consider building in more social elements to meetings.

  • Promote the benefits of volunteering.

  • Try to encourage more pharma to become involved – perhaps focus on the interest groups as an incentive to join

  • Consider the different perspectives of pharma and agency and target accordingly


C) How should the Society better promote its services?

The group, led by CW, considered that the Society has a promising future and should be seen to be proud of its offerings:

  • The Society needs to be bold and should re-launch perhaps with something like a punchy, high impact video

  • Consider employing a dedicated marketing person who can develop and carry out a marketing strategy

  • Develop partnership strategies with members

  • Develop partnership strategies with outside parties and channels (Cannes Lions?)

  • Be aspirational as well as inspirational


It was agreed that, in order to achieve such a bold plan, a long-term business plan should be initiated with agreed steps to achieve our goals.


7. Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting will take place on Thursday, 8 December from 3-5 pm at the offices of the ABPI.