Career Advice from a DHC Advisory Board Member

By Melissa Saw, Digital Transformation, Associate Director, Bayer

DHC: You moved from “carrying a bag” to marketing, an experience that you have previously referred to as initially daunting … what advice would you now give to others who find themselves moving from sales to marketing?

Well, I say do it. You know, it gives you a holistic picture of the entire ecosystem, from patients, caregivers, office staff, physicians, as well as the distribution network whereby it complements the role of the marketeer really well. He or she will be able to implement and activate the marketing strategies much more effectively as opposed to people who do not have the experience in a sales role.

DHC: As a recognized thought leader in digital marketing, what do you see as the biggest opportunity for innovation in the coming 24 months?

I’m personally very excited for this healthcare space in the next 24 months. In terms of innovation, I would like to cite Amy


. She’s a futurist and in the recent South by Southwest keynote presentation that she actually shared, she said like tech and healthcare is coming together really nicely, converging very nicely in the space. So example, tech company such as Amazon, Google, IBM, Apple, you name it, as well as in China, Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent are our leading various initiatives in this healthcare space. So for example, health, Alphabet, Inc., and this umbrella of Calico, Deepmind, and Verily are ramping up their mission to develop new technology and to advance AI to improve human health.

Amazon, for example, is partnering with Berkshire Hathaway as well as JP Morgan, to re-imagine insurance and healthcare. Last but not least, Alexa. Alexa will be able to tell you whether you’re having a cold and what medication you need.

So you see, the big nine companies are working together in this space, having ambitious healthcare strategies, and aggressively looking into how they’re unfolding in the coming years. So I would say watch this space.

DHC: We are hearing a lot recently around the importance of agility and proper structure for innovation. What, if any, barriers do you see in the current industry structure to achieving that innovation? What would you most like to see change?

So in terms of the main barrier that’s stifling innovation, I really think the first one is how do we quantify innovation? What is the definition of innovation? How do we perceive innovation? Many companies put a number into it in the sense that how many intellectual properties have I found, trade secrets, patents, but we all know this necessarily transcends into commercial success. In fact, we all know that 99% does not really see the light in terms of commercial trials.

Now secondly, what I would like to see change is I would like to see everyone to have a seat on the table, meaning those who are actually have a role in healthcare as well has the power to influence the space. So be it you’re manufacturer, a provider, a physician, patient, we all should come to play our part because by collaborating our different strength together, we be able to actually face all this hurdles together and to bring truly exceptional healthcare to those who really needs it, which at the end of the day is the patients.

DHC: How do you stay inspired in your role?  What motivates you to keep pushing boundaries and encouraging others to do the same?

So I really like this question: How do I draw energy? Three things: firstly, surround myself with like-minded individuals in the companies were external, you know, be present, contribute to events, meet-ups, you know, all the conferences so that we can network, learn, and most importantly, share the knowledge within this community. Last but not least, you know, always benchmark yourself, your company, and your role to those who are really crushing it. For example, e-commerce space, there are many great brands that are really killing it. For example, Heavenly, Bonobos, Amazon, Away are really some good brands that you have to take a look.

Of course, last but not least, how do I keep on this momentum? I think I tell myself that, you know, knowing there’s still so much more to be done in this space, not to actually strive for perfection but to stay relevant and where the conversations are so that, you know, for a company like Bayer, we can pass on the legacy of 155 years to the next generation.