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Hemofarm still Local and Regional Market Leader
What’s your assessment of the business success of your company over the past year?

In the year 2022, Hemofarm continued its growth, and we are completing this year with extraordinary business results. The greatest success for us in 2022 was operating in an exceptionally demanding environment, in which we delivered our products to all the markets on which the STADA Group operates, in the required quantities and with the quality that goes without saying. We are finishing this year with 306 million products manufactured, which means an increase of 6.8% in relation to the previous year.

Our portfolio has continued to grow, and most importantly, we have remained the local and regional market leader and the most resolute champion of people’s health.

What segment of marketing activities will be emphasised in the year 2023: new products, price policy, distribution or promotional activities?

Considering the dynamic market circumstances in which we are operating, we will be active in all fields in the following year as well. This, before all, requires agility of teams – especially when it comes to launching new products, but also persistent monitoring of the market itself, as well as innovation in promotional activities.

If I should point out one segment, an additional focus in 2023 will be on active communication and interaction with our customers.

What are the important promotional activities your company conducted in the course of 2022?

In our marketing activities, we always attempt to implement the 360⁰ integrated communication support. This is also what we did in 2022. We redefined the approach to our BTL promotions to certain extent, which was affected by the situation caused by the pandemic, but I am sure the focus on them will be greater in the following year. By utilising all the communication channels during this year, we succeeded in creating a good mix and in reaching different target groups that we were addressing.

In comparison with the year 2021, what type of promotional activities did your company give advantage to in 2022, in the sense of increased investing in them?

We have pretty much been focused on digital promotional activities and, on the activities regarding education and raising awareness of certain health issues. One of the interesting topics which we initiated this year was IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). This is a syndrome which is quite often present due to the modern way of life.

According to some surveys, as much as 80% of people who suffer from IBS never actually go to see a doctor. In addition, it is interesting that it is mainly the younger category of population – people between 20 and 40 years of age, who are facing this problem. Many of them live with those symptoms, negatively affecting their quality of life, while they are even unaware of having that syndrome, which can be successfully treated.

Therefore, as a socially responsible company, we initiated an educational campaign with the aim of informing the public as much as possible regarding this topic – to be able to recognise the symptoms, how to treat them and how to prevent them from occurring. The results after the digital promotional activities were excellent, which was among other confirmed by truly positive reactions of the public to the campaign.

What importance did your company place on the use of research data, as grounds for making marketing decisions in 2022? In what way does your company predominantly acquire the data important for making decisions – through engaging an external research agency and established databases, or relying prevailingly on internal databases that your company has created individually during its own activities?

In Hemofarm, we tend to combine internal and external data a lot. Internally, we have a developed the BI reporting system, with the aid of which we monitor sales data and movements on the market. In addition, we also conduct consumer opinion surveys, depending on what our focus is at that moment. In this manner, we obtain a very good market insight in habits and needs of citizens when it comes to consumption or groups of products.

Based on monitoring sales, behaviour of consumers, as well as dialogs with stakeholders – doctors and pharmacists, we are trying to identify future trends in medicine and pharmacy, in order to make best business decisions.

In addition, we participate at various international conferences which are often our inspiration for new projects. We tend to keep an ear to the ground a lot, both on local and on international markets. We wish to be at the source of information, which could steer us towards more successful business moves in the future. In addition, being a part of the STADA Group, we also have the STADA Health Report available, which was completed in 15 countries in 2022.

Specifically, the Serbian market was involved in this year’s Report, which studied attitudes and habits of citizens regarding healthcare topics, and which provided a very clear insight into attitudes of citizens about particular healthcare issues in different countries.

What are your predictions regarding future trends in marketing, advertising, and media over the next couple of years?

Speaking of trends ahead of us, I should before all mention the continuing of digitalisation of the media space, which will unmistakably influence the adjustment of marketing strategies and plans to these trends and generally to the generations of ‘digital natives’. We are increasingly seeing activities in the domain of VR and AR, and we are yet to see what impact they will have on perception of brands, communication, customer experience…

What we see in Serbia is that the position of traditional communication channels is still quite strong, yet on the other hand, brands are increasingly establishing communication with consumers via different digital channels. As regards our investments, the investments in digital channels are on the rise year after year.

Digital channels provide us flexibility, a higher degree of creativity and a more personalised approach, which is in line with the goal to have our communication as relevant and as focused on consumer needs as possible. The adjusted approach to the target group we are addressing in accordance with their media consumption habits remains very important for Hemofarm; therefore, we are closely following all new events and we are acting accordingly.

One of the most important trends is also sustainable development. Increasing number of people make buying decisions based on the degree to which certain brand is sustainable. I believe that this trend will be increasing with time, especially when it comes to younger generations. This year, Hemofarm published its 10th Sustainable Development Report, under the slogan: ‘Guardian of a Sustainable Present and a More Certain Future’.

Nowadays, Hemofarm is recognised as one of the leaders in sustainable development in Serbia and in the region. It is an important segment of business operation for us and we are going to continue nurturing it and developing it in the coming years.

Please, name the most common problems that encumber the work of company marketing departments, first on the national and on the regional market. What in particular creates problems in completing your activities, which we know are of crucial importance for success on the market?

The essence of marketing is to bring innovations all the time, in an effort to respond best to the dynamic environment and create as strong as possible bond between a brand and consumers. The business itself may appear as an obstacle here, if justifiability or unjustifiability of an investment is evaluated solely through short-term sales parameters, overlooking long-term positive effects for a brand. Moreover, the bigger the system, the bigger the challenge is to be agile and react fast, which can be demotivating sometimes.

As a department, Marketing is to a great deal in charge of the overall progress of a company. In my opinion, the brands, i.e. the companies that are ready to grant their marketing teams freedom to test new things and that are prepared for controlled risks are more successful. I am glad to be working in such an environment, since creative way of thinking is surely encouraged in Hemofarm, and we are ready to learn and improve through new experiences.

Could you propose some improvements, the implementation of which could result in an improvement of work of the marketing profession and all the company managers who work in the marketing department/function?

To follow up on the previous answer, my message to the colleagues in our profession would be to be braver, more open to new ideas. Obviously, all our plans or ideas must always be business-justified, must have a specific goal and a measurable result which would stem from such ideas. Work on your ideas, do not buckle under pressure since the role of marketing is to constantly move things forward and think about the future.

Even if you cannot put certain initiatives in motion because at that moment you may not have the desired budget, support of all stakeholders or such, it is often enough for a beginning to start even under limited conditions and to present and defend your idea through such examples. If you really believe, do not give up but defend your attitudes with arguments. Try, test, do – the key thing in our profession is to be able to ‘sell’ your idea.

What is your opinion of the activities of communication agencies on the national market; we mean, before all – advertising, PR, BTL agencies, as well as all other types of agencies?

There are some high-quality agencies on our market, which have demonstrated their quality both locally and globally. When it comes to collaboration with agencies, I always like to point out that it is important to find a good match between the needs of a brand and an agency, because it happens that in practice certain agencies have developed a liking towards particular industries over time.

Pharmaceutical industry is a very regulated industry which apparently makes collaboration with the agencies that have experience in this segment easier. However, this does not prevent us from constantly filling up our pool of agencies with which we collaborate, in search of fresh ideas.

In my opinion, developing a relationship of mutual trust is of crucial importance. In this manner, we get the best from both parties and at the end of the day, a product we can all be proud of. This relationship is extremely important for a collaboration to function over a long period of time.

To what extent are you satisfied with the work of media, regarding accomplishment of marketing activities of your company?

We find collaboration with the media very important, and as you can see through our campaigns, we are trying to create the most optimal media mix for each brand. Over the past several years, and especially since 2020, an important shift towards digital media has been evident in advertising. Considering our wide product range, which entails different target groups that we address, in Hemofarm we use all communication channels, with the share of digital channels having the most dynamic increase.

Do you personally, and your colleagues from the marketing department/function attend educational conferences, congresses and other forms of external education in the field of marketing? Does your department/function organise team building activities at any level? What kind of education does your company practice most with the aim of improving the activities of the marketing department/function?

This is a must in our profession nowadays. We do attend and follow these, because this is a very dynamic field. If we do not improve and if we do not keep pace with the latest events, we will not be good at what we are doing. Hemofarm, as a company, invests a lot in education and improvement of its employees in all areas, including the field of marketing. Internally, we have the practice of organising workshops as well as team gatherings, on topics we find attractive at a particular moment, because we like to share the acquired knowledge within our team.

What do you wish for yourself in 2023?

To myself, to you and your readers, I wish good health and many beautiful moments in 2023. I think the previous several years brought us lots of challenges, so I wish the next year to bring us many, many more reasons for smiles, lots of positive energy and quality time with our loved ones.

Make a wish for your colleagues from the marketing profession and for the people in the agencies and media you collaborate with.

To all my colleagues I wish lots of enthusiasm, motivation and courage, in order to continue moving boundaries in 2023 as well; to continue learning from each other and to present a great encouragement for all our customers.

Source: Advertiser-Serbia.com