Q&A: Kate Pain – PMLiVE


Gemma Jones interviews Pfizer’s digital marketing lead

Kate Pain

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My daughter. She is a ray of sunshine and makes me laugh every day. Plus she is constantly singing and dancing – it’s like living in a Disney movie. But if I don’t wake her up early we never get to school/work on time.

What’s the best thing about working in digital marketing/ healthcare for pharma?

The feeling that you are all working together for the greater good. At Pfizer we are reminded daily of the importance of putting the patient first. It keeps everything real and grounded. It is the best motivator.

What’s the worst thing about working in digital marketing/healthcare for pharma?

I lead the UK digital marketing team for Pfizer’s innovative health division and at times, due to the regulatory environment in which we operate, certification of campaigns can be complex. On the flip side, these parameters challenge us to maximise our creativity and shine regardless. My team has delivered some powerful campaigns this year, and when we gain traction the results make our efforts seem all the more worthwhile.

What buzzwords/office-jargon/ concepts get on your nerves?

‘Landing’ messages and ‘reaching out’ were phrases that used to sit awkwardly with me but I fear I probably use them myself now. A bigger frustration is attending meetings without agendas. Time is so precious and meetings can coast if attendees are not clear on what the end goal is. We can all fall into this trap, especially with recurring appointments, so it pays to check our diaries in advance and question why we are meeting.

What’s your favourite bar or eatery?

We love Coast Café right on Worthing Beach. It’s very rustic, little more than a wooden shack in places, but they do the best cheesy chips.

Which book/film would you recommend above all others and why?

Randy Pausch’s book, Last Lecture. Randy was an American professor who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006 and given between three to six months to live. The book is his account of this time. It sounds depressing but it is actually incredibly enlightening and inspiring. He reinforces the value of living in the present and achieving your childhood dreams.

Which person, living or dead, do you admire the most and why?

Nelson Mandela. I admire him for so many reasons, but perhaps most significantly for his capacity to forgive.

Who’s your healthcare comms hero/heroine?

I hold one of our business leads in very high regard. In addition to a very demanding day job he also leads Pfizer’s Diversity and Inclusion team. There have been so many incredible outputs from this team, not least a thriving women’s network, led by another hero of mine in our legal team. We all need ‘villages’ like this to make us feel we belong.

What has been your career highlight to date?

Joining Pfizer. I love it here; the culture is incredible. Every voice is heard, considered and nurtured.

What’s your golden rule/piece of advice for someone starting a career in healthcare comms?

When you are reviewing campaign ideas ask yourself, ‘Why?’. Staff retention is high in this industry, so it’s not always easy for long- standing colleagues to look at things with fresh eyes. Challenge yourself to be a change agent and try not to fear failure. If you do fail, make it fast and have a Plan B in your back pocket to keep you moving forward.


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