Marketing in Pharma/Healthcare: Strategies for Success with Siji Nair Kaul | The Growth Genius

Siji Nair Kaul is the Head of Marketing in the Life Sciences – Pharma sector at Bayer. With an extensive career spanning over 13 years at Bayer, she’s showcased her exceptional abilities in various roles. Siji has previously worked at prominent companies like Lilly, Baxter, and Allergan, honing her expertise in marketing and leadership. Her activities reflect a passionate commitment to health, wellness, and productivity. She’s not only shaped markets but also impacted the field of women’s health at Bayer. Siji is dedicated to excellence and continues to inspire through her achievements. In

Marketing in Pharma/Healthcare: Strategies for Success with Siji Nair Kaul | The Growth Genius

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    Siji Nair Kaul, a healthcare veteran heading Women’s Health at Bayer Healthcare, discusses the evolving landscape of healthcare marketing in this interview. Key takeaways include the importance of creating awareness of women’s health, addressing common misconceptions, and empowering women to seek help. In the direct-to-consumer (D2C) aspect of women’s health, social media, and influencers play a significant role in reaching the audience. Integrated multi-channel marketing and content creation are essential, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, to engage with healthcare professionals and patients. Artificial intelligence (AI) is recognized as a disruptive force, with its potential to impact drug discovery and clinical trials positively. Siji emphasizes that health and wellness are fundamental, highlighting the importance of managing stress and the need for adaptability in a rapidly changing industry.

    Key Take Aways

    1. Create Awareness in Women’s Health: Recognize the significance of raising awareness about women’s health issues, including common misconceptions, to better support and educate your target audience.
    2. Empower Women to Seek Help: Encourage women to seek medical help when they encounter health issues, breaking the stigma associated with certain conditions and ensuring they prioritize their well-being.
    3. Utilize Social Media and Influencers: Leverage the power of social media and influencer marketing to effectively reach your audience in the direct-to-consumer (D2C) aspect of women’s health.
    4. Implement Integrated Multi-Channel Marketing: In the pharmaceutical industry, recognize the importance of employing integrated multi-channel marketing strategies to engage both healthcare professionals and patients effectively.
    5. Content Creation is Essential: Content is king. Focus on creating valuable, informative, and engaging content that caters to the needs of your target audience, whether it’s healthcare professionals or patients.
    6. AI as a Disruptive Force: Acknowledge the disruptive potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare, particularly its role in impacting drug discovery and clinical trials positively.
    7. Prioritize Health and Wellness: Understand that health and wellness are fundamental, and encourage personal and professional well-being among your team members.
    8. Manage Stress and Adaptability: In a rapidly changing industry, stress management and adaptability are key. Cultivate stress-relief strategies and embrace change with readiness.

    Read Transcript

    Siji Nair Kaul:- For the marketers what is helpful is that we are able to evaluate the metrics to a great extent because otherwise, it was pretty difficult to know you know if the message has been had reached the uh customer or you know whether it has been helpful how has been the impact content is King as you would also agree and unless one is adding value uh you know no one would want to consume uh the content be it patients or you know even Healthcare professionals basically the economy from an AI generative AI perspective will grow by around 13 trillion which is like huge by 2030. All Industries will have to move towards adoption.

    Mehul Ashar:- Hello ladies and gentlemen welcome to yet another episode of the growth genius where we bring to you growth stories in marketing and business the growth genius is powered by Infidigit the SEO specialists in today’s episode we bring to you a healthcare veteran who has played a major role in sales and marketing and is currently heading Women’s Health in Bayer Healthcare please join me in welcoming Miss Siji Nair Kaul to the growth genius episode Siji welcome to the growth genius it’s an absolute pleasure to have you here and thanks a lot for your time.

    Siji:- Thanks Mehul looking forward to this discussion and thanks for the opportunity.

    Mehul:- Great so Siji to start with you know you have been in Bayer for quite some time now so can you tell us more about your role?

    Siji:- Yeah sure Mehul so I’ve been with Bay for quite some time and it’s been into marketing So currently I’m into this role wherein I have the marketing for the Women’s Health division of fire it’s a stimulating role why I call it stimulating is because being in the healthcare segment whatever actions we take we know that it’s towards health for all and uh I know that the there’s tremendous potential whatever actions we take it would impact not just millions of women each us since I’m into women’s s but also their families now this is uh because you would agree that when a is unwell the it impacts the entire family ecosystem so the challenge is to go beyond conventional principles and to innovate to understand the challenges that are faced by the healthcare professionals and even the women especially in the therapeutic areas that they are operating in and this involves uh designing strategies um shortterm as well as long-term okay getting initiatives to address the needs that would support uh these strategies and which then gets executed by an inspired team everyday is a new day and with challenges and a lot of opportunities and there is so much to do beyond that there’s the people angle which is really interesting which is the cross functional effort that’s required the collaboration that’s required the team workor and also to work in small and large teams so yeah that’s that’s about the current role that I am a buyer.

    Mehul:- Quite interesting and yeah I mean women’s health is something that is actually picking up steam now uh so obviously a lot of things to do in that space I’m sure so having said thatSiji  I wanted to understand you know what are the burning issues in Women Health now and you know what are your insights?

    Siji:- So the top most issue that we have in women’s health I think is about awareness especially amongst women uh because women’s suffer from multiple health issues and many of times the symptoms are considered normal due to the midst existing in the society and you know which has been passed down from U generation to generation for example uh you know that pain during periods is normal is one of the common myths that’s there uh and because of this many women suffer in silence and there are other issues like PCOS as I mentioned pain during periods such endometriosis menstrual issues or irregularities uh like heavy bleeding anemia per and post menopausal issues so these are some of the issues uh you know to name a few and uh these vary through the reproductive cycle of women through the Journey uh that women have to go through so what’s important here my Outlook would be basically uh initiatives that work towards awareness which is the need of the companies are speaking out uh with the help of social media with Healthcare professionals women as influencers which who are playing a very important role in increasing the noise level and there are other ftech companies which have also players which have also come in who are building platforms for better access so educating women so basically debunking the myths reducing the stigma that’s associated these are very critical factors and uh more importantly once this is done I’m pretty sure this encourages more women to come forward and uh talk to their Healthcare professionals or seek help in diagnosis and even management of the condition thankfully for now like because of all these initiatives there are more and more women who are prioritizing themselves and their health and it’s heartening to see that this is happening so for women as well as for men probably you know I think I what I believe is we should all wear our oxygen mask first you know and then take care of others and this applies to our health very much so if there’s a health issue go seek help I think that’s what I would want to say here.

    Mehul:- Nice nicely summarized Siji and in buer you are actually in the d2c business as well right so in women’s health particularly how do you reach out you know to your audience because you know there are restrictions in advertising and marketing as far as your industry is concerned so how do you manage that?

    Siji:- True so uh d2c business as you rightly mentioned in general in women’s health currently is a growing business and with increase in Awareness as we just discussed there are more women who are seeking help and uh some of these d2c business uh business models in general uh include menstrual hygiene products like uh pads menstrual cups Period Panties Etc then in reproductive Health products are also there like pregnancy kids parity tracking devices uh Sexual Health products are available now and selfcare products including skin care and supplements so these are some of the common things for these businesses like you know we’ have seen a rise now and how these operate is through again I think mostly social media is a channel that’s uh widely used through influencers you know and bringing in Awareness about these issues that’s how it works and with pentech also coming in there are platforms available which talk about services like yoga consultation diet which kind of supplement the health issues so like while these these channels are using social media in prescription products you know it’s pretty different so we don’t have any direct to consumer like products at least but our d2c is primarily to see how we can bring in Awareness amongst the audiences so this would be from a public awareness perspective that how women can be empowered or you know the audiences can be empowered to seek U support or to ask go and consult the right doctor doctors would then decide the therapy based on what is best from the patient interest and then you know recommend a therapy that is manage the situation manage their condition thereafter so when the patient gets a prescription then they would go and buy it but right now it is through e pharmacies which would be done but otherwise there’s no direct company to Consumer in a prescription business because advertisements are not generally allowed for most of the therapeutic areas so it is through the doctors that that you know these are marketed.

    Mehul:- Got it and otherwise if you were to look at online platforms you know you talked about you know creating awareness as well which is I think the stepping stone you know in terms of addressing these issues how do you uh you know reach out to your audience can be women as well as men as you mentioned you know awareness is for all basically for Women’s Health but the awareness per se has to reach to everyone so how do you use online platforms to you know reach out to your audience?

    Siji:- So currently we are looking at a very I mean usually I mean considering these are not uh Mass you know kind of a reach uh so we looking at very targeted approach and these would be through awareness through social media uh through uh you know through doctors you know through in clinic uh education so these are some of the channels that are used but if I have to talk about uh our customers which are also the healthcare professionals so there we have a different approach wherein we look at integrated multi- Channel marketing that’s done uh to these Healthcare professionals uh so basically when I say integrated multi- Channel marketing these would combine multiple channels uh direct one is direct through our teams through digital uh through approved emails through remote calls and also through other educational platforms that are available for healthcare professionals this ensures consistency in messaging and also the frequency of messaging is kind of ensured and for for the marketers what is helpful is U that we we are able to evaluate the metrics to a great extent because otherwise it was pretty difficult to know you know if the message has been has reached the customer or you know whether it has been helpful how has been the impact so that is one thing that’s really good what is important I think is content okay content is King as you would also agree and unless one is adding value uh you know no one would want to consume uh the content be it patients or you know even Healthcare professionals so the role of a marketeer now is also more critical to bring in content that address the needs of these you know customers consumers and this would involve in a prescription product it would involve long scientific data real world evidences which are their latest updates and insights that can support the healthare professionals to design a journey for the patients which would aim at uh you know measuring the quality of life for them based on their needs and their condition and other than this for us reaching out also means garnering insides through market research customer interactions advisory meetings thought leader engagement ments understanding patient Journeys which are specific to the therapeutic areas and this is achieved through you know all the functions coming together like and using these channels to reach out uh to the customers so it’s basically an integrated approach and execution of understanding and execution becomes very very um critical for a successful engagement with the with the customers doctors or be it uh the public.

    Mehul:- Got that so there are multiple touch points not just one which actually help you to you know gather a lot of information in terms of you know how the market is responding to the product right right having said that CI I wanted to know if you can share any consumer insights you know based on whatever activities you have been doing at buyer?

    Siji:- Sure some of the consumer insights uh would be like one I had just mentioned like um patients think it’s normal to have pain during periods yeah women think it’s normal to have pain during periods and sometimes some of the challenges that they face is uh they might go to healthcare professionals and uh um you know not knowing what their issue is and many times it also happens that some of these conditions are not so easy to diagnose so therefore you know they would may not get a diagnosis immediately and then they would live with that condition and then this impacts the quality of life U you know in what work they are doing with lot of restrictions a lot of things that they can’t do a lot of professions that they cannot take so this is a pretty serious uh you know implication which is there which you know when we look at a woman who is suffering from such condition we might not know what all things go there are a lot of psychological issues impact which is there you know with women with their families you know with the doctors also that they don’t know what you know they may not come to know what the women is going through so these are some of the insights which are there which we you know built in or we try and understand and help the entire you know it’s not just sharing the you know insights with the doctors so the doctors also are sensitized women also become aware okay when we tell them that it’s not normal and we have campaigns towards it like you know one of the campaigns which is public that I can share that’s let’s talk endometriosis which is an initiative wherein you know we are encouraging more and more women to come forward and speak about their conditions so that it can increase the awareness amongst other women and also doctors also are you know sensitized to speak to their patients to try and understand if they are going if patients are going through these issues so this is like one example which is there there are similar such initiatives which are there for other therapeutic areas like one such public initi which is known is preserve the uterus you know which is related to heavy menstrual bleeding and uh women undergoing strict ofies so which may be avoided in many cases.

    Mehul:- Right right moving on I wanted to understand you know what is your take on AI because today everybody is talking about Ai and in your business in your uh profile you know how do you think uh you know AI plays a role?

    Siji:- So yeah it definitely is a disruption uh and uh you know some insights which are available like you know as for as study by PWC 78% of the CEOs consider they upbeat about AI and however like you know there are other reports as well like from the Bey Global Institute that AI’s might displace around 400 to 8800 million jobs by 2030 but it would also create 555 to around 900 million jobs uh so basically the economy from a AI generative AI perspective will grow by around uh 13 trillion dolars which is like huge by 2030 and all Industries will have to move towards adoption so same is the case with even the Pharma sector um and uh some of the things that are helping us in general in Pharma and which is anticipated as well that you know new drug Discovery might become more easier because you know it can get more predictable then clinical trials can become more easier uh because you know you would exactly know what are the protocols that can be done that can be helped through AI coming into picture and of course I think for every industry what is true is it would of course help in analytics it would help in uh content creation personalization of content some of it in our own lives we can see that it has already come in with personal assistance with Alexa or say other models which are available maybe in the near future we would also see self-driving cars in our own uh you know vicinities so the actual implication skip is you know holding and we will have to keep adapting uh to it I think that’s what our take is at our own level I think it would be AI would play a very important role as I said you know but it currently being in Pharma we using it very judiciously because uh we need to have the correctness of the data you know no infringements then also to look at from a compliance perspective since it’s a highly regulated Market.

    Mehul:- Got that I wanted to understand you know because you know your career is almost uh you know as long as or rather more than two decades you know you have you have spent in your career so the question here is that you know how has the role of marketeer changed over the years you have seen the transition yourself you know being uh a professional for more than 20 years so what is your take on this?

    Siji:- So I think absolutely has changed over over the years years and while the fundamentals haven’t changed but I think the way we work has drastically changed like if I have to compare a few aspects it would be number one is data like initially there was limited data support uh which was there no realtime data you know in many cases data there was lag in data and analytics were also not so easily available to support the marketing decisions but now we can see you know most of our decisions are data driven and that’s a big change uh real time access to data is possible so decisions can be faster and support given to the executioners or you know people who are working uh down the line it becomes easier and this I’m talking about a horizon of say the last you know 15 years metrics are more well defined now initially it was all traditional marketing you know with PRS and you know just print inputs and everything but now we have the digital marketing aspect also uh I mean like very very strongly coming in every you know every stakeholder that we are associated with approach to inside generation and you know identification of these insights is more pronounced now involvement of stakeholders uh like patients themselves is increasing now this is you know because as I previously mentioned this is to understand what issues they really go through and to design plans and outputs that would really help so that has become more better so definitely leading to a better quality of life uh for the stakeholders who are involved like you know the patients and offered by the healthcare professionals internally I think trainings to team have been you know different it’s digitalized earlier it was like you know maybe months and 3 months or you know months and 6 months meeting which used to happen but now we can connect with the teams more often and one of the challenges also which is there or one I mean it’s more like a learning the need for adaptability creativity and innovation has increased you know Paramount there there’s a Paramount increase in creativity and inovation um I think one thing that has not changed I’d like to add here is the approach to people or the consideration of the human angle I think that is constant because technology might come but ultimately it’s people we are you know talking about whatever initiatives whatever activities are happening are for the people and the patients so from that perspective that part Remains the Same but there are several changes for better I think.

    Mehul:- True I think and especially in your industry where you know you deal with the health of people you know empathy is something which is of Paramount importance so the human element can never be uh you know playing second fiddle to any other Factor that’s very true yeah true so Siji would you like to share any growth stories that you know come on top of your head from the illustrious career you have ran so many campaigns you have done so many things in your career anything that you would like to share?

    Siji:- Yeah sure so yeah it’s been like through the span of the Journey that I’ve had in my career I actually started with sales in my career and I think from a growth perspective it has to do with winning Awards you know which is a testimony to Performance uh right from the start of my career when I was in sales being among the top performers getting shortlisted for award events uh like being the top sales uh person in India you know top performer in APAC uh top business development manager you know when I was in a role of Business Development with aleran uh this these have been motivating things uh getting promoted and being the youngest uh you know area manager was one of the things early on in my in my career when I moved into marketing uh it was also to do with uh you know winning marketing excellence awards uh at a APAC level in years in you know through the years and also uh our marketing initiatives getting recognition externally you know has been one of the things so these are some of the growth things that has been really uh stimulating but when when we really see okay I mean maybe early on in the career all these really really matter but over the years what I’ve seen is that growth and expansion in therapy areas you know that we are operating in you know to see the shift the changes that have happened and which which impacts a lot of patients okay the way the practices done also changes so these coupled with market share growth for Brands and steering and strengthening leadership position has been a great great differentiator and I mean of course there are when it comes to growth challenges are always there and there are tremendous learning that came down the way from understanding and managing difficult customers managing teams and also difficult situations so looking at the big picture is something of a shift that has happened over a period of years to understand why you know why uh we are doing what we are doing which applies to even the marketing aspect and so the scale of impact is what it matters now you know what I’m able to channelize and Dy and keeping people at the center so these these are some of the growth aspects I think you know would be helpful for professionals uh in general and especially people in the healthcare industry.

    Mehul:- Wonderful wonderful I think we are uh you know now coming to the last leg of the podcast so I wanted to ask you self-awareness and managing energy and stress are important for every professional so how do you address this?

    Siji:- Yeah I think rightly said Mehul I think health and wellness self through self-awareness is very critical this is vital for one’s growth and what I believe is that health and wellness is the foundation for everything that we do we are able to do you know to have those life experience and also to enable fulfillment and while we are doing all this in the fast-paced life stress is inevitable and managing stress and you know need not be a daunting task uh understanding and being in the present how it is affecting one like you know in every individual can facilitate the release of stress and what I believe is every individual would have their own model that will work for them and unlike popular belief U it need not be very difficult so for me it it is at times you know it could be as simple as just breathing with awareness and movement of body just moving around a little bit whenever you feel the stress I am a meditation coach into medit meditation and SAA works for me and there are other activities I also get involved in like art travel and my ritual of you know prob whenever I get Time Forest walks in nature that rejuvenates me so these are some of the rituals which are there which would rejuvenate and also some very simple tips to manage stress I think find your two top actions is what I would say and you know that that really helps so may you may also have your own you know top to stress Busters I guess.

    Mehul:- Yeah yeah absolutely we all have to you know have something or the other you know which actually you know keeps you sane so to say true so yeah lastly I would like to ask you SII what are the four key takeaways that you would like to share with our audience before signing off?

    Siji:- Yes sure M I think what I’ll do is I’ll mix some of the professional and personal aspects because we are uh we are human and we are working in an environment it can’t be like you know professional is separate and you know personal aspects are separate yeah so I think very very simplistically put I think when it comes to understanding the needs of our customers and stakeholders now these need not be just outside world customers this could be even our family members right uh I think that is that is very important because uh then it helps us understand you know what’s going on and to react accordingly okay to kind of preempt what’s happening okay around so that is critical that would help in the professional career as well and as well well as in our personal lives other thing is incremental growth each day every day I think this is this is something that’s you know uh that’s important we’ve already I mean everybody would have heard about the you know power of atomic habits but when you implement it you can really see the difference and that is important I think it might seem like a small action but the kind of impact it can have is huge so I really believe in that you know to be one of the key things that everybody you know at least who are looking for growth should look for uh next is in this uh in this you know changing world how can we be ready for change I think that’s critical upskilling ourselves is going to be very very important I had come across a very very interesting um you know fact that that was shared in one of the programs that whatever change Chang has happened in the last century like 19001 to 2000 okay in the last 100 years happened in 20 years that is 20 2001 to 2020 right so you can see the change Quantum of change that has happened but post that it’s expected that whatever changes happened in those 100 years you know would start happening in 5 years and we can really see that happening now right between 2021 to now you know the kind of changes that we have seen is tremendous so which means we also need to change and adapt to the the rate of change that’s happening so being aware about it I think would be one of the important takeaways for me and lastly it’s about seeking support so be it family or be it you know professional help like from mentors from leaders from managers I think that’s going to be critical from a professional perspective you know that would really help in growth yeah so these are the four key things that I’d like to share from my end.

    Mehul:- Nicely nicely summed up Siji thank you so much so thanks again for being part of the growth genius thanks from everyone at Infidigit. 

    Siji:- Yeah thanks so much mul thanks so much for having me.

    Mehul:- So this brings us to the end of yet another episode of The Grow Genius Siji Nair Kaul is someone who believes strongly that awareness about women’s health should be made not only amongst women but amongst the public at large if you like our content do like share and subscribe across all the social media platforms and also across audio platforms the links to all of these are given Below in the descriptor so till the next episode of the growth genius keep learning and keep getting inspired thank you.

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    Marketing in Pharma/Healthcare: Strategies for Success with Siji Nair Kaul | The Growth Genius