Marc Iskowitz: Our Own Golden Era Has Begun

How do you gear up one of the longest- standing media brands in the pharma marketing business for its 50th anniversary? With an eye on the future and a healthy respect for the past.

January marks the start of the 50th annual publication cycle of MM&M. As we ap­proach the magazine's actual half-century mark coming this October, planning how to acknowledge the milestone has been one of the most enjoyable privileges thus far in my tenure as editor in chief. We have several changes in store. More on those in a minute.

We're also witnessing the industry enter its own technological golden era. Check out the cover story—the second annual edition of MM&M 's Top 40 Healthcare Transformers list. Starting on p. 23, a crack team of writers, orchestrated with aplomb by Senior Editor Larry Dobrow, chronicles this megatrend and the people behind it.

Emblematic of this august group is GlaxoSmithKline's Michelle Crouthamel, who acknowledges that disrupting the current unsustainable model of drug development is not a solo effort but takes support from pharma, tech and regulators. “The good news,” says Crouthamel, “is that we're seeing more and more collaborative efforts.”

On the pages that follow you can read how these women and men are helping drive such collaboration between healthcare firms and a broader set of stakeholders. And it's not just about shiny technology (although you'll read about sensors in clinical trials, the first-ever so-called digital drug, even a bra that continually screens breast tissue for signs of cancer). It's also about confronting the myriad challenges of healthcare's often-dizzying complexity and about shifting from merely providing interventions to providing proof that medicines and related technologies benefit patients and that reimbursement will be tied to positive outcomes. 

This year's list is notable not only for its diversity and capable writing but also its design. Andrew Lathrop, MM&M 's art director, commissioned 40 watercolor portraits to accompany the profiles, to be displayed on multiple channels online and print, and set to be handed out at a special celebratory dinner.

In fact, all of this brand's channels—from social media to live events, our website and print magazine—will reflect the spirit exemplified by our Transformers. Because everyone in this industry has the power to effect change, we're embarking on a social-media campaign to foster an extended community comprising those who pledge to take on challenges in their own corner of healthcare. 

This is being done in the lead-up to the MM&M Transforming Healthcare Conference, slated for May 5, when the entire Transformers community will gather in New York City to network and share ideas, explore digital medicine partnerships and hear how some of the most successful tie-ups in the digiceuticals arena were accomplished.

Rest assured: Print is far from an afterthought in this effort. Subscribers will notice that the third M of our cover logo is now draped in gold. As for the next 11, we've arranged for them to take on a timeless quality, too, by allowing advertisers to have their creative teams reinterpret the third M with art and colors of their choosing. The first such logo takeover is due next month, along with a complete redesign of the front half of the magazine driven by our editorial team.

We thought this was a fitting way to celebrate the golden age of this iconic brand. I hope you enjoy our Transformers issue, including all of the changes in store. 

A happy and prosperous New Year to all.

The most recent MM&M Skill Sets Live event, "Personalizing the Healthcare Experience," surveyed a range of issues relating to some of the industry's hottest topics. This e-book conveys a wealth of information and opinion designed to help marketers demystify the challenges associated with the personalization of healthcare messaging. Click here to access.