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Movers and Shakers of the Pharma Industry - Andy Sarfas

Movers and Shakers of the Pharma Industry - Andy Sarfas


Andy Sarfas is our mover and shaker of the week. He is the Global Internet Business Manager for Reckitt Benckiser.
Last Updated: 27-Aug-2010

Focus On: Andy Sarfas


Andy Sarfas is our mover and shaker of the week.  He is the Global Internet Business Manager for Reckitt Benckiser and is responsible for consumer portfolios ranging from household to healthcare, for example popular products Calgon and Clearasil.  Reckitt Benckiser’s values are summed up in four simple words: Achievement, commitment, entrepreneurship and teamwork, which Andy believes is reflected in their commitment to the development of online marketing.  Andy tells us how he enjoys the travel this role allows him to partake in, (but admits he is less thrilled with travelling to and from every day), and discusses the future of marketing online.

1. Where and when did you start out in the industry?

My first encounter with the industry was when I joined Crookes Healthcare in back in 1997

2.What advice would you give those just starting out?

To keep an eye on the fast moving consumer goods industry and to constantly think of the end consumer

3. Can you tell us something about yourself and your background?

·        Where you’re from: All over! But my heart is still by the sea in

·        What are your hobbies? When I’m not playing with my kids I enjoy gadgets of all sorts

·        Where did you go to university?  By the sea in

·        What did you study? Geography which sometimes helps me get the right airport!

4. If you had £10 in your pocket what would you spend it on?

A large Latte and an hour’s wireless internet access at Starbucks

5. What has been your best job role so far?

My current one as it lets me travel the world whilst developing global online marketing campaigns

6. Thinking about your current role, what do you enjoy most about it?

Everything – but I guess specifically the fact that our exec. are truly forward looking and are committed to developing online marketing.

7. And what are the downsides?

I am based in – need I say more!

8. What involvement do you have with e-business initiatives for your company?

I am heavily involved with all online marketing and sales initiatives.

9. Thinking about e-business, what are the main initiatives that your company is;


a. Currently involved in? I am working on a number of ground breaking online consumer marketing campaigns that are set to change the way Global consumer goods companies use online brand promotion.


b.Looking at for the future? I am investigating the way consumers are using video online and looking at how this is going to impact traditional TV advertising.

10. In particular, are you and your company either actively involved in or looking at e-detailing? 

E-detailing is interesting as we have to remember that HCP’s are also consumers and they are getting increasingly exposed to new and innovative uses of broadband. I believe that with better use of video, e-detailing has a much brighter future. There are many markets where the economics of using a large salesforce just do not make sense which makes e-detailing much more interesting.

11. What kind of positive impact do you think e-detailing will have on;

a. The industry? It should enable much broader and richer interactions between a diverse mix of companies and HCP’s  which should, in turn lead to better informed HCP’s and thus more satisfied consumers and patients.


b. On your company specifically? If used correctly it has the potential to increase efficiency.

12. And what do you feel are its limitations?

The main limitations are still the numbers involved, i.e. the number of HCP’s that have the time and are willing to sit in front of a screen to take part in an e-detail. Once there is critical mass then e-detailing will really take off.

13. To finish off I’d like you to gaze into a crystal ball…


a.What are your personal goals for the future? Short term, it’s to move house without losing any of the kids in all those brown boxes!!


b.Where do you see the industry heading in the next 5 years? I see more consolidation and globalisation and a move to a marketing model closer to that of the where direct to consumer advertising is much more developed.


c.In terms of pharmaceutical sales, what do you see the typical territory sales manager doing in 3 years from now?

I think the typical sales manager will be much more of a business manager advising on business and marketing initiatives. I see them as helping the HCP manage a retail business (pharmacy sales) alongside educating them on the product portfolio. This is already happening in many companies.