Goal for the week
This week my goal was to prepare my client, the marketing manager in Spain, for a presentation to the steering committee. We needed to make sure that his presentation, analyses, and action plan were solid.
A focus group with general practitioners changed our assumptions about who prescribes what medicines and challenged us to think through every detail of the marketing plan.
Impact on the client study
Working with the marketing manager in Spain helped us make progress on one of the most important aspects of this study—to build our client’s capabilities and help the whole organization develop a problem-solving approach to brand planning. The marketing manager made great strides in his presentation skills. He was an excellent marketing manager, but he simply needed to learn how to get his message across more effectively.
Flight from Brussels to Spain.
Meet with marketing manager
We took stock of the to-dos we had discussed last week and created a plan for Thursday’s steering committee meeting. I called the agency running tomorrow’s focus group to check that we had a full panel and a completed questionnaire.
Talk to medical affairs
I discussed the recommendations to be presented to the steering committee with the client’s medical affairs department to make sure that the proposed brand plan was feasible as well as medically and legally sound.
Work on final analyses
The marketing manager and I did some data crunching. We wanted to make sure the projected market-share numbers in his presentation were ambitious, but fact-based. We ended the day around 19:00 and checked on our to-dos for the week.
Work with client
If our commercial transformation was to succeed, the client had to own the action plan. Nearly every time I worked on a presentation, I worked directly with the marketing manager of the Spanish organization to make sure he agreed with every word I wrote. We had long debates about what it takes to change doctors’ behaviors. The marketing manager is a lively guy, so our meetings were a lot of fun.
I met with the entire client team, including representatives from field sales, analysis and forecasting, and medical affairs, to go through the presentation documents and make sure that everyone was on the same page.
Join focus group
We held a focus group with general practitioners. We wanted to test our hypotheses about whether general practitioners or specialists usually initiate prescriptions for their patients. We had not found much data on the subject. The focus group made it clear that general practitioners do initiate prescriptions, but they mostly prescribe generics. That meant we had to rethink our action plan.
Work with client
The marketing manager and I worked until late in the evening revising the presentation based on the outcome of the focus group. He agreed to prepare for a mock session of the steering committee the next day.
While the marketing manager rehearsed his presentation, I thought about the extensive return on investment calculations we would have to do after the steering committee meeting. I started putting together an Excel model to estimate the sales impact of different types of investments on the brand.
Mock steering committee meeting
During the entire afternoon, our associate principal, engagement manager, and I helped the marketing manager prepare for the steering committee. That was a lot of fun. We fired all kinds of questions at him and also coached him on presenting top-down messages so he wouldn’t get lost in the details.
Coach candidate on phone
I am regularly assigned as a “buddy” to coach candidates who are interviewing with McKinsey for the Brussels office. I called one of the candidates to answer some questions, such as what we do and what my time here has been like.
Steering committee meeting
The meeting served as a good review of the work we’d been doing with the marketing manager. The country manager for Spain was present, as well as someone from the client’s global marketing division and a product manager from another country. It was very challenging, but the steering committee signed off on about 80 percent of the work we had done, gave us two or three new things to explore, and asked us to reassess one action. The model I developed on Wednesday would help with that assessment.
Lunch with client
After the steering committee, we had a nice, late team lunch, which in Spain means from about 14:00 to 17:00. We all felt a bit like we had just completed an exam–tired but happy. We still had a whole lot of work to do, but we could be proud, so we celebrated.
Flight to Brussels
We try to be in the home office on Fridays, so I left Spain for Brussels, my home base. On the plane, I summarized the steering committee’s feedback, created an action plan, and assigned people to each responsibility.
Call with client
I shared my action plan from the steering committee over the phone with the marketing manager. After we agreed on our next steps, he shared the plan with the team in Spain.
Work on impact assessment model
One of the actions assigned to me was to continue working on that model for impact assessment, so I pushed my Excel model further.
Talk to McKinsey research and information (R&I)
Another action assigned to me was to get information within McKinsey about running brand communication programs, so I contacted our R&I department. In Europe, we have a special research department just for pharmaceuticals. Two colleagues there did some research for me and gave me names of McKinsey experts internationally I could interview. I reviewed the research and summarized it for our client meeting next Monday.
Feedback and lunch with engagement manager
I had lunch with my engagement manager at the excellent restaurant in the basement of our office building. We got together for an informal team learning session every Friday, asking ourselves where we stood, what we could improve, and how the team was functioning.
Happy hour in the Brussels office
We have a happy hour in the Brussels office every two months. I had drinks with a few of my colleagues to round out the week.
*Karina is currently an Engagement Manager