Change is rapidly occurring in the healthcare industry, and so the goal is to stay nimble and flexible, said Pete Mehr, who was recently promoted to lead customer-centric marketing solutions at ZS Associates.

With a PhD in economics and econometrics from Rutgers University, Mehr believes that data and analytics are critical to any business. Early on in his career he realized the importance of getting comfortable with data and using it to drive customer insights.

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For seven years Mehr worked in both retention marketing and acquisition marketing groups at AT&T, where he eventually became a district manager. He made his way into the health industry in 1997 when he joined a small life sciences consulting company. “The field was tremendously exciting compared to telecommunications,” he recalled, “and I’ve been in the industry ever since.”

There was a lot of focus on sales when he first started out, but he noted how marketing and digital engagement quickly increased in the 2000s. Many life sciences companies began building up their marketing capabilities during that time.

Before ZS, Mehr also served as chief strategy officer at Merkle.

For Mehr, the main attraction of ZS was that many people in the company shared his view that “linking sales and marketing makes a ton of sense.” He has been with ZS for three years and on July 1 assumed leadership of the customer-centric marketing solutions business, which focuses on engaging healthcare providers and patients to help improve the overall customer experience.

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Collaborative and entrepreneurial are two words he used when asked to describe the working environment at ZS. “We can gain insights from and collaborate with just about any resource across the globe,” he said.

He predicts the biggest challenge will be the pace of change in the industry and keeping up with customers who are advancing at such rapid speeds.

“It’s dynamic out there,” Mehr said. “So one piece of advice I have for anyone who is just getting started in the working world is to get comfortable with change — don’t shy away from it. Embrace it.”