Cassandra Sinclair is global client partner of Wunderman Health.
What would you do if you didn’t work in healthcare?
Nothing is more personal than health and as the world changes to get more personal, health is in the middle of it. Today, food companies are rebranding themselves as nutrition companies, technology companies are focused on building devices to help people manage their wellness and there are so many more examples. I call this shift “healthification,” and it’s one reason I have trouble imagining working in a field that isn’t related to health.
That said, if I did not work in healthcare marketing, I would work at a startup to improve the quality of life for patients — perhaps by creating new devices or patient support programs. Then again, isn’t that what good healthcare marketing does?
Talk about the last time you experienced a fist-pumping victory moment.
While research shows silos hinder innovation and drive up costs, the healthcare industry continues to be extremely fragmented. One recent, truly fist-pumping victory moment was coming together with our colleagues who were previously at ghg and J. Walter Thompson to create a more comprehensive offering for clients and the consumers, from healthcare providers to patients, who they serve.
Being something of a nerd at heart, I am particularly excited about the depth of data and scientific insight we can now infuse into powerful creative for our clients. This means I can tell my clients exactly what they need to motivate a doctor to action; tap more than 60 Ph.D.s, M.D.s and Pharm.D.s on our staff to help make high science meaningful; build creative solutions that span the entire lifecycle of a drug; and so much more.
This is a big victory moment because it has given me, my colleagues and our clients a significant opportunity for growth and to improve health and wellness outcomes.
When was the last time you endured an “agony of defeat” moment? What did you learn from it?
In marketing, there are moments of disappointment, such as if we lose a new business pitch or if we do not do our best on a piece of work. But it’s important to keep what we do in perspective.
In healthcare, doctors and patients are the individuals who experience true “agony of defeat” moments. Instead of marketers, your question makes me think of the doctor who loses a patient or the parent who receives a cancer diagnosis for a child.
As marketers, one of our jobs is to understand the challenges doctors and patients face. The “agony of defeat” moments they experience are also important moments for brands to engage with them by supporting them, helping them and hopefully empowering them. The marketers who do this well earn their trust and will inspire them to action.
When was the last time you recharged your batteries? What did you do?
Having a work-life balance is critical, whether a person works in marketing or in any other industry. I enjoy my work, being a wife and being the mother of two children. I work to spread my time across all three and when I do it well, I feel recharged. Work is not a 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. job and neither is being a wife or mom, so it is a constant balancing act.
What do you find frustrating about working in healthcare marketing?
I find it frustrating when we are unable to partner with a client to create programs that support patient care and bring value. Over the years, I have worked with some clients who were focused on making short-term numbers rather than delivering long-term value. While the former can be easier, brands that earn trust over time and create solutions that really improve healthcare will be the most competitive tomorrow and into the future. Fortunately, I work with many clients who are committed to bringing people this long-term value and improving quality of life for doctors and for patients. Relationships such as these are the most fulfilling, both professionally and personally, and ultimately drive the greatest and most exciting business growth. We want to work with more clients like these.
To ensure pay parity and career advancement for women, I will…
Work to keep the discussion open and continue to be a resource for everyone. I will sit with people when they have questions or concerns — I am never too busy to listen. So many women have come before me and have worked to begin shattering the glass ceiling, and I thank them for that. Now, it’s my job to seize the opportunities I have been given and help others achieve their goals. We have an empowerment initiative for women at Wunderman called Pass It On and that name says it all.
What are your words to live by?
Always say “please” and “thank you.” All too often we forget to say these words, which are so important.
What is one thing you would tell young women starting their careers in healthcare marketing?
My message is be brave, recognize your value and go for it. There is nothing women cannot do, but we have to believe in ourselves. Once you recognize your value, others will too.
Water chased by red wine. Or is it supposed to be the other way around?
What three people, alive or dead, would you like to host at a dinner party and why?
Michelle Obama, Bob Dylan and my husband. Michelle Obama is a brilliant community builder, who knows how to take the high road while still doing what it takes to get things done. Bob Dylan is a poetic visionary. My husband is the most interesting person in my world, and he would kill me if he were not invited to dinner with Michelle Obama and Bob Dylan.