Today’s podcast guest is Sara Lesina, global marketing lead at Lonza, a leading CDMO in the pharma and biotech space. She chatted with Carlota Pico about her international career trajectory, from her start in the world of marketing almost two decades ago to earning a business administration degree from Vlerick Business School. She also discussed the similarities and differences between B2C and B2B marketing, her passion for brand development and some tips for formulating successful campaigns through customer feedback and a human-centric approach.

You can watch the full conversation in the video above or on YouTube, listen to the podcast on Apple and Spotify, and read our recap below.

Key takeaways

  • B2B marketing requires you to substantiate your messages with technical expertise, as the people you’re targeting are experts in their field. You can still use basic psychological mechanisms to get their attention, but there has to be an extra layer.
  • As a marketer, working with the technical aspects of things is very important. It gives you a lot of knowledge and allows you to speak the same language as industry specialists, which is invaluable.
  • Customer-centric innovation is essential; you have to pay attention to the ultimate needs of your customer and address them. Unfiltered customer feedback can generate new ideas and inspire innovative campaigns.
  • When building a marketing team from scratch, first consider the actual needs of the business. Digital experts and demand generation specialists should be an integral part of any team today, but we can’t forget about product managers, content creators and regional marketers to address the needs of local markets.
  • The pandemic has increased competition for customers’ attention, and it’s also caused people to be more selective with their time and attention. The balance of customers’ lives has changed, making highly specific targeting even more vital for engagement.

If you want to get through to customers, stay true to your brand and message and get rid of everything else. Forget about the fluff and the flash and go back to basics: engaging people with a message that’s absolutely in sync with who you are as a company, brand or product.

Rapid-fire recs

A professional role model or influencer who inspires you?

One role model of mine is Marion Debruyne, the first female dean of Vlerick Business School and a professor of marketing strategy and innovation. She’s smart and incredibly accomplished, and a great marketer.

I also admire Michelle Obama for how she’s managed her career and professional life. She’s a powerful source of positive and elegant inspiration. Finally, ever since I was a little girl I’ve looked up to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a feminist and civil rights advocate who really made an impact on society.

A valuable book, group or event?

I’ll talk about books, because I read a lot! First, “Humanocracy” by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini. It’s a great book about running large companies and corporations in a human-minded way, and it shows how this approach drives business results.

Another good one is “Range” by David Epstein. He uses scientific research and data to show how being a generalist makes you smarter and more successful by wiring your brain toward flexibility and productivity.

Right now I’m reading “The Infinite Game” by Simon Sinek, which is really inspirational. Actually, I’d really recommend anything by Simon Sinek.

Also see: Top 8 content and marketing books to read right now

Your favorite app at the moment?

I’d have to say my favorite app right now is Deliveroo. Especially during lockdown when we couldn’t go anywhere, it was great to be able to order a meal for a nice evening at home. 

Check out our interview with Deliveroo‘s global content marketing and localization managers

Connect with Sara and Carlota on LinkedIn.

This post was edited by Jessica Farmer, a freelance content creator based in Madrid.

For more insights into the role of a global marketing lead, check out:

Really get to know your customer – Teodora Takacs, EMEA marketing director

Create content with a purpose – Jack Dyson, global head of content strategy

Prioritize your campaigns – Nushrinah Sadeer, global marketing manager

To see the full transcript, click on page number 2 below. 

Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Sara Lesina, global marketing lead at Lonza:

Carlota Pico 0:13
Hi, everyone, and welcome back to The Content Mix. I’m Carlota Pico, your host for today’s show, and I’m excited to introduce Sara Lesina who is global marketing director at Pharma and nutrition, capsules and health ingredients at Lonza. Wow, that’s a mouthful Sara. Welcome, and thank you so much for joining us today on The Content Mix.

Sara Lesina 0:35
Hello, thank you. Thank you for having me.

Carlota Pico 0:37
Okay, Sara. So tell me a little bit about your background experience. How did you get into the pharma industry?

Sara Lesina 0:43
Yeah, that’s a good question. Actually, I don’t come originally from the pharma industry, I come from the food ingredients and nutrition business and that was the link that brought me originally to Lonza, through a company called Capsugel, which was active also in the nutrition space. I really wanted to go into pharma. I discovered this passion when I was doing my MBA a few years ago. I realized that I wanted to work in the sector to basically contribute from a marketing perspective, to a sector that actually does a lot of good for society and for communities. I’ve been fascinated ever since and yeah, I was really lucky to have the opportunity to join Capsugel and then Lonza after acquisition, and I’ve been there ever since, about three years now.

Carlota Pico 1:30
Okay, excellent. So what’s your role look like now? What do you do in your every day?

Sara Lesina 1:36
So actually, you’re getting me at a really nice and interesting moment, because I’m changing roles, within Lonza. So my current or almost former role is head of marketing for one of the business units of Lonza, like you said, the capsules, pharma and nutrition business. Now I’m going to transition to the role of head of brand and advertising for the entire of Lonza. So it’s going to be a segment role supporting all the different business units and divisions of Lonza, still in the pharma and nutrition sector.

Carlota Pico 2:06
Okay, so you’re going from marketing to advertising?

Sara Lesina 2:09
It’s still marketing, it’s in the marketing team, but particularly dedicated to developing the brand, expanding the brand and working on the messaging to make sure that we increase the impact towards our customers and stakeholders at large, customers that want to work with us and want to continue to work with us. We need to make our messages very sticky to make sure that we stand out. Lonza is a famous company in the pharma industry, but it’s not so much about the brand awareness, but it’s really about continuing to create the value the customer is recommending. So it’s really an exciting role, it’s going to be a different role from the one that I’ve done for the past three years. So i’m really excited about it.

Carlota Pico 2:51
Okay, we’re gonna dive further into that as we get into the interview. But I still want to talk about your general experience as a marketing professional, can you talk to me about some of the experiences that have shaped you as a marketing professional throughout your career?

Sara Lesina 3:07
I’ve done a number of different roles in different industries, actually, I started in B2C, so working with the consumer products, and then I moved into B2B so business to business, which I find actually really challenging and interesting, because while the tactics and the techniques are different, I’ll be in the marketing role. Customers tend to be sophisticated, tend to know what they want and what to look for. So you need to really up your game, if you want to convince or wow customers, particularly in an industrial space. Experiences that have shaped me as a professional, there are many, I’ve been lucky enough to have an international career. So I’ve worked in different countries, Finland, Brazil, Italy, Belgium and US. I think what really gave me the measure of the impact that marketing has or can have in a business is basically going along sales calls with my sales colleagues in previous jobs that I’ve had, because that’s when you really get to hear directly from the customers, what is it that they want from you, what keeps them up at night. As a marketeer, having that first source of feedback that hopefully is not even filtered with anything, you know, any negotiation tactics or any promotional event that gives you so many ideas to come back to the office and either run a different campaign, a new campaign, create or launch a new product. So that’s literally my biggest takeaway, that has given me so much passion for the job. Another element that really shaped my thinking around customer centric innovation was in my previous role in a company called Cargill, I was working very closely with the r&d teams and we created a lot of new products and new innovation together with the customers. So with the Unilever or Danone of the world, for example, and by working together with them at the lab bench as a marketeer, not being a food technologist myself, I learned a lot about the solution. But as I said, I learned a lot about the ultimate needs that the customers had and that it would end up serving a consumer base. So that was a fascinating element. I can say I have that element now in pharma, because I’m not a scientist myself, by background. I think working with the technical aspect of things as a marketeer is very important. It gives you a lot of knowledge, it allows you to speak the same language as a specialist I would say, which is invaluable in my opinion.

Carlota Pico 5:54
Okay, Sara, I’d like to zoom into the sales calls that you use to participate in your other roles. Could you talk to me about some of the ideas that you generated thanks to those calls that you had with your customers?

Sara Lesina 6:08
I think there have been both good calls and bad calls in a way and by bad I don’t mean bad specifically, but customers have been tough or challenging with us, as sometimes happens. I think those are the ones that sparked the biggest ‘aha’ moments, right? When you go back to the office or home, and you really think about what the customers told you, and you think, really? I mean, it just drives me mad that they are showing how maybe some of our competitors are doing better for them. So that’s really when it sparked some of our campaigns that went a bit more bold, in the way we portrayed ourselves. Not in an arrogant way, but just by calling out what was the ultimate value proposition or the unique selling point of either the product or the company itself. I think a corollary to that was some of those calls when actually the customers are telling you, wow you’re doing it so much better than the competition. That again, goes back into fueling campaigns that are really highlighting, claiming that value you’re creating. Sometimes in B2B, we tend to be, I’m not saying shy, but we tend to hide a little bit, the concrete value and proof point that we can create for customers. B2C is a lot more direct, because you have the impact consumer base, which is very diverse, very wide and there’s a lot of noise. I think by either getting the permission from the customers to claim that value, or being pushed by them into developing that value more because we were not doing it that well before, that gave us the extra fuel for the marketing campaigns that we needed. So we ran a few that were quite successful and we’re very picky in that sense.

Carlota Pico 8:05
What about a B2B campaign versus B2C campaign that you’ve led? What were the main differences? Obviously, besides the clients. On the one side, you’re focusing on businesses, companies, on the other side you’re focusing on customers, but if you could zoom into the main differences when it comes to language, when it comes to visuals, when it comes to the type of content?

Sara Lesina 8:28
I think, maybe with the risk of like swearing in church, with B2B we created very customer friendly campaigns. The logic behind that was our customers are sophisticated experts in their field. Oftentimes, they’re technical, with a technical background, so they want to hear your technical arguments. Nevertheless, they’re still people, so they will still respond to those psychological mechanisms that marketing is actually rooted in. The power of just seeing something that sticks with you, that you will remember throughout the week or the power of looking at something that makes you pause and makes you want to ask more questions. So we tried to blend a little bit of the psychology aspects which is very heavy in B2C but then you need to add an extra layer to that. It’s not a bait and switch technique, so once you have their attention in B2B, then you have to substantiate with concrete messages. So that’s what we did and we’re doing right now. So it’s really making it very attractive and very memorable but at the same time, there’s always the, so what? There’s always the next step.

Carlota Pico 9:48
You’re tapping into the human element, regardless of if it’s a B2B or B2C campaign, you’re still reaching out to your customers as human beings?

Sara Lesina 9:57
Yes, I mean, I’m talking in general here of course. It depends very much on the industry, depends on the segment and it depends on the product you’re advertising. So I don’t want to make a blanket statement here, but if I’m looking at the trend so far in the way me and my team have worked, you could say that. You could say that still touching the person across the table or across the zoom call, is still one of the most effective ways of doing business, in my opinion.

Carlota Pico 10:23
Okay, excellent. What about the brands that you’ve admired lately during COVID-19 times? Spinning off of that response, of course, because those have been the brands that have grabbed your attention.

Sara Lesina 10:33
That’s right. I must say that they’re both B2C brands. So here I have my consumer hat on. One is the Nissan campaign, Ode to Empty Roads. I don’t know if you’ve seen that one? I thought it was brilliant. It’s a commercial that is shot in Dubai, on the road between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which is basically an endless highway, it’s a straight highway in the middle of the desert. Because of the lockdown, simply, there was no traffic and there was nobody to clean the road. So the road was half covered with desert sand. A beautiful image, but the message was stay at home, it’s okay, we can enjoy the empty roads, right? Because it’s more important for you to stay safe and stay home. So often with COVID campaigns I thought sometimes the message was a bit too much, too corny maybe, but this one touched the right note, in my opinion. It didn’t really touch much about the product, it was more about, let’s enjoy what we have at the moment. Then a second one, I’m Italian, by the way as a background. So when I went to Italy in June, I saw this commercial, it’s a Vodafone Italy. They made a nice commercial about the power of connection through their services, evidently, but it was about the fact that now we couldn’t really see people, or we could only see a small bubble, so your family and maybe one or two close friends, then you appreciate those interactions even more. Having the technology that enables you to feel like almost as if the interaction is happening in real time is invaluable. So it’s a nice commercial that shows people cooking together, playing music together, but it’s still through technology. So yeah, you can see the human elements coming back, so it’s something that is very dear to my heart. Then there’s an edgy one, that I thought I would mention. It’s not really a campaign or a commercial, it’s by a very clever guy by the name of Dan Kelsall, who’s a marketing guru, I would say in the UK. He works for and at the very beginning of COVID he did a couple of campaigns on his website and on LinkedIn. One on cutting marketing budgets, which is quite common at the moment across industries. So of course, he was vehemently against that, but in a very clever way. The second one, as I said it’s edgy, is basically against using Corona or COVID in every single campaign that you do. So not just because this is happening, and it’s a global pandemic, and it’s touching everybody in every aspect of our lives, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what you have to shove into every campaign that you do and I thought it was quite clever. So I thought I would mention that.

Carlota Pico 13:40
Okay, very interesting. Thank you for zooming into those examples. So Sara, I was on your LinkedIn profile and I read that you built a marketing team from scratch. Could you tell us more about that experience, what roles were essential for you and which ones were just nice to have?

Sara Lesina 13:58
Yeah, so that has been a wonderful experience that actually was connected with me getting the job at Lonza. The mandate was to create a team, build it and develop it and that was basically a work of labor and love over the past three years. What roles are essential, I must caveat that by saying that it depends heavily on the industry sector and culture of the company and the industry that you work for. I came with a set of ideas that I thought were absolutely right, dead on. Then by simply looking at how things were done by us, by competition, by customers, I realized that not everything was a good fit. So we had to pivot, we had to change, so my first word of advice to anybody who has to build a team from scratch will be first of all, try to understand what really are the needs of the business. Don’t bring the marketing textbook together with you, and start from there, because you may fall a bit far from where you need to be. However, having said that, you cannot do anything without digital experts and specialists. You could outsource them, there’s a lot of great companies who consult on that. But if you have somebody on your team who’s really skilled at anything digital, so web, SEO, SEM, digital campaigns, tracking, monitoring, evaluating, A/B testing, that is invaluable. That gives you the opportunity to test things in real time. If you want to be creative with your campaigns, you want to see what works, what doesn’t, it gives you the chance to really engage with your customers, wherever they are, doesn’t matter the timezone, doesn’t matter the language. So that is certainly the cornerstone where I would start now if I had to create a team from scratch. I think brand is also invaluable, even in the heavily industrial B2B segment. If you don’t have a strong brand, in the end, you risk becoming a commodity and that has all kinds of business implications, on pricing, on revenue, on the budget that you’ll be able to command as a marketing organization. So being able to show the return of your brand, the equity, measure the goodwill that you’re able to generate for your brand, is really invaluable. I think having a function that allows you to engage with your customers, in a way that is effective, is very important. So that blurs a bit into the digital realm because as I said, certainly because of corona but even before corona, having customers all over the world, you need to be able to have a platform to engage with them without having to hop on a plane every single day. But there it’s a slightly different skill set in the sense that you need to have somebody who can put themselves in the shoes of the customer and can really have somebody who is more like an innovation manager, but borrows to marketing, to basically co-create a space where you can innovate or coinnovate with your customers. It doesn’t matter if it’s in person, or through an innovation platform. So I would say those would be certainly the cornerstones. I mean, there’s many roles that you cannot do without I mean, the whole intelligence team, right? If you don’t know what the market is doing, where the market is going, what your competition is doing, that’s going to be a tough job, right? But if you ask me to pick three, you know, if I only have three spots to fill, then I would I would say those three.

Carlota Pico 17:51
Okay, Sara. So who did you end up hiring?

Sara Lesina 17:56
So, in the digital for sure, the intelligence team for sure. We also have product managers, which I was hinting towards that when I was talking about innovation and coinnovation with customers. We also had events management people. Before Corona, that was very important, now we’ve translated everything into virtual and content as well. So content generation, content creation across our platform, social media, our website, so that was the team. Also, because it’s a global company and it’s a global brand, it’s important to localize as well. So everything was managed centrally out of Europe because I’m based in Europe, Lonza is based in Brussels. However, in the team, we had people in the different regions, so Asia Pacific, in the different countries, Asia, Pacific, North America, South America, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, to make sure that you can translate those insights and those marketing initiatives in a way that not only language wise, but culture makes sense to your customer base because if you take a one size fits all approach, then often it falls flat in the ears of your customers.

Carlota Pico 19:24
Sara, let’s say somebody who doesn’t have a pharma background wants to be part of your team, is that possible?

Sara Lesina 19:32

Carlota Pico 19:33
Do you need to be an expert in the industry in order to work in that industry, or can you learn on the go?

Sara Lesina 19:39
In my opinion, no. Certainly you need to have curiosity and passion for learning, that’s for sure because you need to be able to carry conversations with your colleagues, technical experts and customers. So you need to understand what we’re talking about, but I am not a scientist myself, I don’t have a PhD in chemistry. So I would never require that of my of my team. I think what really matters is you have to have the right marketing mindset. So if you come from a technical background and you’ve moved into marketing and you have that passion, that’s wonderful. If you’re a pure bred marketeer, that’s also wonderful. As long as you have that right attitude on, I want to create, grow, launch brands products, initiatives, and I want customers to return, to come back and do more business with us. For me, that’s fine. That’s what I’m looking for.

Carlota Pico 20:37
Sara, I would love to learn more about Lonza, because we’ve mentioned it several times throughout this interview, but for our audience to know, just a 30 second elevator pitch, I think would be really good for them in order to provide them with more context. So what is Lonza?

Sara Lesina 20:54
Lonza is very large pharmaceutical and chemical compound business based in Switzerland. It was founded at the end of the 19th century, so it’s quite an old company. It has revenues of up to six billion and it’s basically one of the leaders in the CDMO space, what’s the CDMO space? It’s custom contract development and manufacturing. So basically what Lonza does, we manufacture drug products on behalf of customers like Novartis, Bayer, Moderna you might have heard of Moderna. So it takes really deep technical expertise, so I think what Lonza has is really top notch scientists and research and development, that is absolutely top notch. Then, of course, you need to translate that into operational excellence, because you need to produce the medicines for the world. So not only do you have to have the right science, but you have to have the right operations to actually do it well, with quality, safety, and ensuring that these medicines are produced according to specs and standards.

Carlota Pico 22:04
So during COVID-19, have you had a chance to unlearn anything about marketing?

Sara Lesina 22:11
Yeah, a lot of things actually, about marketing, about team management and people, I would say. Marketing, I think in a way we have to throw away the rulebook and start over because everybody’s talking about the digitalization, COVID did more for digitalization than all the CIO in the world could do in the past 10 years. And that’s true. So for marketing, that also means, we cannot go into this new world with the techniques that we were using before without pivoting, without changing. So we have to drop a lot of things, we have to drop a lot of the plans that we had for this year, that we had budget against, we had already created the content for. because simply it was not possible. There were other priorities. I think the flexibility of your planning is even more than ever, really, really important. Again, to go back to the digital, it might be a truism but if you don’t have the flexibility and strong capabilities in digital, it’s going to be very, very tough to run marketing, from now on. Particularly in engaging with the customers, another element that we learned the hard way, is we took for granted that we could go visit customers and we could meet them, you know, industry events, or conferences. There were all these spaces that were dedicated to seeing customers face to face, and that does a lot for your brand, because you’re always top of mind, you’re always present. With this COVID period, everybody’s at home, so you’re no longer front and center, you’re no longer top of mind. So how are you going to get there? Quickly, I don’t know if you have the same impression, but quickly, the space has become filled with a lot of content and activities and virtual events. So I would say even more than before, we’re competing for the attention of our customers. So for me, the learning here is don’t take for granted the fact that your customers are thinking about you, as you were before, because simply you had the chance to meet them very quickly and very often and because of the saturation of the space. Then you need to really be strategic in the way that you engage with them. So I don’t have answers to all these elements because it’s something that we’re still developing and learning every day. But again, if you think about the tried and trued marketing techniques that they teach you at school, I think a lot of it has to be revised into a new day and age. So yeah, it’s good because it keeps you on your toes. Right?

Carlota Pico 25:23
Okay, so in what ways have you been strategic within your team?

Sara Lesina 25:30
What we prioritized has been engaging with customers, but not in a spray and pray manner, they’re really very targeted. Regionally, on specific topics and on specific segments of customers because again, the competition for their attention has increased tenfold. At the same time, the attention span of customers has decreased because I think we can also say for ourselves, at least for myself, the balance of your life has changed. So what you’re focusing on, or refocusing on today, is maybe slightly different from before COVID. So what we saw as customers are maybe less available than before, or if they are available, they don’t put up with just about anything anymore, they’ve become very selective with their attention and their time. So if you want to get through to them, then you really need to make sure that you’re staying true to who you are and to your brand and your message and just get rid of everything else. The fluff, the polls, the flash, just forget about that, just go back to the basic of engaging with them with a message that is absolutely in sync with who you are as a company or as a brand or as a product. We saw the difference on those interactions that were true and honest, they capture so much more value and customers really want to engage. If it’s more the generic, high-level approach that would probably link to a trade show approach in a face-to-face world, then really, you have a tough time. Getting on, you know, getting a hold of your customers.

Carlota Pico 27:38
So Sara, more like account based marketing.?

Sara Lesina 27:41
Definitely, I think account based marketing is going to increase a lot more and within the same account, even carving out the specific functions or sub segments of the customers who need to hear from you. So make sure that your message is really targeted and as I said, really true, honest, core, just leave the polls, leave the rest. It simply doesn’t come through.

Carlota Pico 28:09
Sara, let’s talk about your new role. So it’s going to be in advertising, right?

Sara Lesina 28:15
And brand, yes.

Carlota Pico 28:16
And branding. So advertising and branding, what do you hope to achieve in the first six months taking into consideration the unstable times that we’re living in right now?

Sara Lesina 28:27
Well, of course, the holy grail is always to ensure ROI, to show the return on investment of your initiatives. So that will be certainly a big focus in the new role, make sure that we do initiatives that are targeted, make sense and will bring return on investment. So customers will want to do more business with us because at the same time, there’s an internal element, because this role is not linked to one specific business unit or division of Lonza. It’s across divisions, then there’s an entire element of change management and alignment of processes and ideas. Ultimately, what the vision is behind this team is to have one cohesive Lonza experience for our customers, instead of seeing 10 different faces, depending on which division or which department of the division they’re meeting. To have one seamless customer experience of Lonza as a brand, as a company, as a pharmaceutical player. So six months to achieve that maybe is ambitious, but the building blocks to get there have to be now, in these six months.

Carlota Pico 29:40
From from my background research, pharma industry is a pretty regulated industry, especially in Europe, when it comes to advertising it, right? So did you take a training course in order to understand what regulations are in what markets or how did you fall into this?

Sara Lesina 29:57
I would say I have been very lucky because we have wonderful regulatory and quality colleagues in Lonza and they are the experts. So yes, they actually give training and support. So again, be curious and just learn but I don’t pretend to be the expert on it. So basically, it’s always working together with our regulatory department to make sure that whatever we say, whatever we communicate outside is, according to standard. I mean, as I said, we don’t want to claim anything that is not even remotely true. We don’t like the bait and switch technique community. It’s a serious B2B industry that is dealing with people’s health. So be creative but at the same time, make sure to stay within the boundaries that are allowed by regulation.

Carlota Pico 30:55
Okay Sara, I would love to put some of this theory into practical examples. Could you zoom into a campaign or project that has really exceeded all of your KPIs this year? What was the purpose and why did that stand out?

Sara Lesina 31:11
So I think we talked about the fact that, because of COVID, we cannot leverage all the things we used to take for granted as marketeers like in person events, trade shows, conferences, which actually used to give a lot of demand generation ROI for us. So we have to be clever and my team came up with a brilliant idea, in my opinion, which is virtual events. There’s a million virtual platforms but we did it a bit differently, in the sense that it was, like you said, account based, specifically for certain accounts in certain regions, about specific topics. Then we created an entire virtual platform where basically, we recreated the interaction of an innovation day that you would have at R&D centers, in our plants, for example, where we had our technical experts, our R&D specialists and we met with customers on specific topics. So the one that comes to mind, is the one that we ran in Japan for a wonderful week about specifically our equipment and anything that we can do from a technical and technological perspective for them to help solve some of the bioavailability issues that they have in their pharmaceutical products. So it was really interesting because it was a complete virtual platform, so you could actually navigate and download pieces of content and watch videos and 3d videos of our equipment at the same time because we had the experts there, for one full week. You could really see these very technical conversations on going, just like you would in a real innovation day at your R&D center. So it was a really good success and it was very, very rewarding, to organize and to watch and participate in and customers loved it because they got answers, they got projects out of it and they also had the feeling that we just didn’t go awol, because of COVID. We were still there. You cannot come to our plant, you cannot come to our lab, but we recreate the lab around you so we still stay in touch and we still try to solve your issues. So that’s one of the things that I think worked pretty well this this summer.

Carlota Pico 33:29
Okay, very interesting. So we are coming towards the end of this section but before we wrap this section up, Sara, if you could do anything in this world, let’s say you’re given given 1 billion US dollars to do whatever you want in this world, would it still be marketing?

Sara Lesina 33:48
Oh, on a personal level?

Carlota Pico 33:51
On a personal and a professional level.

Sara Lesina 33:55
On a professional level, yes, it would still be marketing, because that’s my first love and passion. If I had unlimited budget then I would run really creative campaigns and I think, because of the situation we find ourselves in, I would love to run a global brand campaign that also gives back in one way or another. You know, I haven’t thought it through and I don’t have the means, but if I did, I would like to have that kind of impact. On a personal note, I don’t know, I guess I would like maybe to start my own business.

Carlota Pico 34:29
Very appropriate after business school.

Sara Lesina 34:32
That’s right. I think that’s still a little bit of a dream that is in a drawer but who knows? We’ll see.

Carlota Pico 34:40
Time will tell. Okay, moving into our set of rapid-fire questions, which are basically your recommendations for our audience. Sara, who do you admire? So someone who inspires you, a professional influencer or a role model?

Sara Lesina 34:56
Well, I have two people who may not be known to a wide audience, but one is the dean of my business school, Marion Debruyne, she’s actually a professor of marketing and strategy. She then became the first female dean of our business school so yeah, role model, and she’s wonderful, she’s really smart and a great marketeer. I would say from a famous celebrity, certainly I admire, like Michelle Obama, for everything, how she ran and managed her career and her professional life, and the really powerful sources of positive and elegant inspiration that she is. One that I had since I was a little girl, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she was an ante litteram feminist in a way that really made an impact on society, not really feminist only, like a civil rights advocate. So yeah, that’s one of the biggest influencers, on a personal level.

Carlota Pico 36:08
Beautiful. What about a book, a group, a community, or an event that you find to be particularly valuable?

Sara Lesina 36:17
I’ll talk about books, because I read a lot, and particularly now in COVID, because I cannot travel, I’ve been reading anything I can get my hands on. So I’ll maybe mention two or three books. One is Humanocracy by Hamel and Zanini which is a great book about running large companies and corporations, in a way that is very human minded. It’s a very interesting book, because it shows the return on the investment of doing it. So you don’t do it just for the sake of doing it or out of the goodness of your heart, but also because it drives business results. Another really good one is Range by David Epstein, who argues about the beauty of being a generalist in a world where increasingly, we’re pushed to specialize into a niche. He’s arguing with scientific research and data that being a generalist makes you smarter and makes you more successful, and brings a better contribution to your field of choice because essentially, your brain will be wired towards flexibility and handling the data points that you get from the world that input in a way that is more productive. So I thought it was interesting. Then The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek. Well, anything by Simon Sinek. That’s the latest one and I’m reading it right now and it’s great. It’s really inspirational and I think as a business leader, you need to take into account the human element everywhere you go, if you want to be successful.

Carlota Pico 37:56
Okay, all those answers tie in perfectly with your marketing strategy as well, a very humancentric marketing strategy.

Sara Lesina 38:04
Yeah, that’s right.

Carlota Pico 38:05
Okay. Sara, last but not least, what’s your favorite app at the moment? And why?

Sara Lesina 38:12
I have to say it’s Deliveroo especially during the lockdown, you couldn’t go anywhere so getting food delivered, you could still have a nice meal and a nice evening at home. So yeah, we use it a lot.

Carlota Pico 38:28
Very interesting. I actually just interviewed their global team of content and that interview is going to be released on Monday. So stay tuned for it.

Sara Lesina 38:38
I’ll tune in.

Carlota Pico 38:39
Awesome, thank you. Well, Sara, it’s been a pleasure to meet you, to learn more about the pharma industry, to learn more about your marketing strategy and to get to know you on a personal level. So thank you.

Sara Lesina 38:49
Thank you Carlota. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me,

Carlota Pico 38:53
Likewise, and to everybody listening in today. Thank you for joining us on The Content Mix. For more perspectives on the content marketing industry in Europe, check out The Content Mix. We’ll be releasing interviews just like this one every day. Keep on tuning in. Thanks again. Have a fabulous day, and I’ll see you next time.

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