Take the time to make connections throughout your career, it’s about results, but also about people.
Aimee Amann is from Pennsylvania and spent most of her life in the PA, NJ, NYC tri-state area. Aimee’s undergraduate degree is in French language and culture and she studied linguistics as a minor at Penn State. Aimee Amann believes that going to Penn State was a wonderful experience and in addition to enjoying the University culture, she spent 6 months studying business in Paris at L’Ecole Commercial de la Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris. After working for about 10 years in the pharmaceutical industry Aimee graduated from the Executive MBA program at the Stern Business School at New York University. She was working full time in International Marketing for Pfizer during that time and was attending graduate school in an accelerated program full time. It was a great experience and allowed her to see the world and gain an in depth understanding of international business and cultures. Amann started her 25+ year career in the Pharmaceutical industry as a medical sales representative and spent more than 20 years leading marketing strategy for all aspects of the product lifecycle including 10 product launches, and 3 re-launches. Aimee Amann has worked in marketing with strategic responsibility for product marketing in both the US and Globally with therapeutic experience in Immunology and Inflammation, Oncology, Neurology, Rare Disease, Dermatology, Cardiovascular-Metabolic, and Women’s healthcare. In addition to spending her time supporting patients, Aimee Amann balances work and family life by having multiple hobbies such as knitting and enjoying cultural activities in the New York and Philadelphia metro areas.
Most recently, Aimee Amann successfully accomplished two ‘firsts’ for Sun Pharma, launching a direct to consumer marketing campaign for ABSORICA LD, called Move Beyond the Breakouts, and a Direct to Consumer multichannel marketing campaign to tackle the stigma of acne “eruptions” with the launch of the Take on Acne Campaign.
Some of her career accomplishments include Re-setting the acne strategy at Sun Pharma based on market insights, re-positioning, and re-branding resulting in the Move Beyond the Breakouts and Take On Acne campaigns.
While at Pfizer, she led the development and implementation of a new strategy that enabled REBIF to surpass $1B in revenue through large-scale change initiatives driving sales growth of >25% from 2008 to 2010 and exceeding budget in 2010. While at Pfizer, Aimee and the team working on REBIF won a Commercial Excellence Award for their work on the strategy that took the brand to blockbuster status.
During her time at Merck, Amann developed the launch plan in 2006 for IMPLANON, a single-rod contraceptive implant and presented the launch plan to senior management which resulted in endorsement for a ‘go to market’ decision. This was particularly meaningful as a way to support the contraceptive needs of women in the US by providing a unique, new option for family planning. One of her first accomplishments in marketing while at Merck was successfully turning around the MIRCETTE brand with a re-launch that re-positioned the product to produce 45% growth YOY, exceeding the sales budget and moving the product from being a double digit ranked product to competing for the second place against two competitors who promoted with direct to consumer advertising and additional indications.
Committed to serving patients, Amann was promoted three times within the last 6 years while working at Pfizer and for Aimee Amann that was a significant accomplishment because there are lots of talented people there and opportunities for promotion are highly competitive. While at Sun Aimee was promoted within a year and a half from being a Director to a Senior Director and given responsibility for their largest product at the time, ABSORICA.
Currently Aimee Amann is the Senior Director, Head of Acne Marketing at Sun Pharma leading both HCP and consumer marketing strategy for their acne portfolio.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
One of my role models is my father who, like my mother, is a self made professional. My father was a salesperson for decades and he embodied a work ethic and optimism that encouraged me to go into sales. I chose the pharmaceutical industry because it was a way that I could add value to society and provide meaningful solutions and information to customers seeking health and well being. My marketing career was a natural extension from sales and I enjoyed it immensely from day 1.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day usually involves many diverse meetings and projects. One of the gratifying aspects of my job is that I am able to find meaning in supporting patients and experience a wide variety of marketing throughout the day. For example, my typical day may include working with market research to outline our data and analytic needs for the business, meeting with our promotional agency to discuss various projects and ways to best support our customers, leading team discussions and working groups, and liaising with our sales team to understand the market and ensure they are supported in their commercial efforts with health care providers. Those are examples of some of the ways my days are filled. The structure of the day may include up to 8 meetings, which wouldn’t be unusual. In order to be most productive, I plan the details of my day, including scheduling time to tackle high priority projects or conversations.
How do you bring ideas to life?
One of the exciting aspects of marketing is bringing ideas to life. As a data driven marketer who is passionate about patients, the root of all ideas come from customer insights. Once an insight is uncovered, the process of bringing an idea to life follows a logical flow which can look a bit like painting a picture, whereby specific ideas and concepts fit together in a natural, meaningful, and memorable way to create something new. Something that hasn’t existed before. An example of this is the Take on Acne Campaign which was entirely based on customer insights that were validated through multiple research studies and turned into something that could uniquely meet a need that was not currently being addressed. It was important to act on the market research insights and support people who are battling with acne.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’ve always been interested in predictive modeling. Predictive modeling is a process that uses data mining and probability to forecast outcomes. Each model is made up of several predictors, which are variables that are likely to influence future results. Once data has been collected for relevant predictors, a statistical model is formulated. Most often the event one wants to predict is in the future, but predictive modelling can be applied to any type of unknown event, regardless of when it occurred. It’s a neat way of analyzing and correlating events. As Peter Drucker once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” He also said that “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old”. Predictive modeling is a way to understand what might happen in the future and perhaps why it happened in the past so that you can take informed steps to shape what you want to happen in the future.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
It’s important to have an entrepreneurial mindset and in order to be most productive, I believe that self-care is important. I believe that self-care is now becoming more talked about in the workplace and professional forums. For me prioritizing self-care such as making time to exercise, getting a solid night’s sleep and dedicating time for hobbies and time with family and friends to unwind is important. In order to be the most productive, I encourage my team to unplug periodically and take time to think about things other than work. If you don’t discipline yourself to set boundaries and organize your time to have space for a life outside of work, it’s a recipe for burnout, particularly for people with a strong drive to succeed.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Probably not to stress and to be OK with letting go. As someone who wants to be successful, my persistence and drive has been a vehicle for success both personally and professionally, but I would tell my younger self to let up on the reins of perfectionism a little bit and savor the victories along the way.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
It may be an unpopular belief that compassion is more important than being right or wrong, but that’s a belief I subscribe to. I try to see the connection between all people regardless of differing beliefs and that may not be an altogether common principle. I’m more interested in who people are than whether we are the same. I don’t need to belong to a specific group as much I need to believe that we’re all human.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I make business decisions based on my professional priorities and I encourage my team to do the same. Specifically, the order of importance for me is always to first serve the patient, then the business, followed by the team, and finally the individual. The individual in important, but in order to be successful, it’s helpful to anchor the decisions and behaviors to that hierarchy of prioritization.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
When trying to grow the business, one of the first questions that I ask is what is most important to the end user, or customer. Sometimes that question is being addressed, but by uncovering deeper insights through market research and insight gathering, oftentimes the need could be met in a better or more meaningful way. It’s all about the customer and how-to best address what they are trying to accomplish.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
It’s natural for everyone to have setbacks and frankly, if you haven’t failed many times, you’re probably not stretching yourself enough. It’s a cliché but I do think that oftentimes it’s through our failures that we learn the most about ourselves and ways that we can grow. I would say that there are a lot of lessons I’ve been able to pick up over the years, although there probably isn’t just one thing I would pinpoint. As a general theme I always try to remember the saying that people don’t often remember what you said or did, but how you made them feel. Early in my career I had started out as a medical sales representative and had the opportunity to build strong relationships with direct customer contact. I really enjoyed that part of the job, and I would say that later, when I was deep into marketing and managing multiple projects and a demanding schedule, I had to take a step back and re-focus on the people in addition to the work. It’s easy to forget to take the time to nurture the relationships when you love what you do. The work itself can be very alluring, but building the professional relationships and mentorships add a meaningful level to the work.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One business idea is service to take photos of used items and products for resale. We live in a heavy consumer-based culture that results in people having a lot of extra stuff. Having personally re-sold garments online, I know how very time consuming it can be to stage, photograph, and describe the pieces. That would be my business idea, to start a firm offering that service to help facilitate recycling and upcycling of consumer goods.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently spent $100 taking a guided tour that started quite early in the morning, 3AM, and took me and a group of people to a mountain top that was over 9,000 feet to watch the sun rise above the clouds. It was an experience of a lifetime.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I suppose like most people I rely heavily on the MS Office suite. One of the important applications of course is MS Outlook because it enables me to organize my time throughout the day as well as interactions with others, both of which anchor many activities from which everything pivots.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Optimism and resilience are so critical to accomplishing professional and personal goals. There are a lot of great books out there, but I would probably recommend reading the Alchemist by Paul Coelho. There’s an aspect of humanity and optimism that I believe is grounding and energizing.
What is your favorite quote?
Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience. – Paul Coelho
• Pharmaceutical Marketing has been a great way to grow professionally over the past 20+ years and make a meaningful difference in the lives of people challenged with health-related conditions
• Deeply understanding the customer experience is the first step in developing any marketing strategy. In pharmaceutical marketing, direct sales experience and market research are fundamental ways to do this. Develop a marketing instinct, but make data driven decisions and continually evaluate your strategy and execution by looking at the business in both a micro and macro level to ensure you’re maximizing your business strategy. Measure the business from multiple metrics – something I call business hygiene.
• Take the time to make connections throughout your career, it’s about results, but also about people.
• I’ve found that stretching beyond your comfort zone, resilience and hard work are more important than perfection.