The marketing community at Roche: Achieving more together

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From the first day onwards everyone takes responsibility in his or her function.
Markus Bärtschi, Marketing Director Roche Pharma AG Grenzach

You are responsible at Roche for Marketing Excellence. What is this all about?

Roche is comprised of the most diverse corporate areas. We work in very cross-functional structures and because the individual teams are also comprised of employees from the different functions the Marketeers and product managers are distributed throughout the organisation. But what unites them all are their activity and their goal. From this concept the initiative of the Marketing-Community was born. The Marketing Excellence-Initiative spreads an overarching professional umbrella over it.

What is this like in practice?

For us to be able to acquire and further develop specialist understanding we have created different formats such as the lunch club, the marketing conference or the "failed" events. Together with the European Business School we have even developed a comprehensive completely own marketing curriculum. Every employee who has something to do with marketing can utilise these opportunities for further training.

In the ideal case what should one bring along as marketing employee?

Today theoretical specialist knowledge is no longer quite so important. It is my opinion that scientific, medical or economic science understanding can be acquired during the first years at work. For me it is more important that the employees have a passion for their work and have the motivation to move something.
We in fact live our guiding themes - whether it is "We take cancer personally“ in oncology, or "Doing now what patients need next“ one level above it.
I cannot teach the enthusiasm. One has to feel it. And for the specialist understanding there are the programs and the Marketing Excellence-Curriculum.

Please briefly introduce the individual formats of the Marketing-Community.

The Lunchclub takes place six to eight times per year in continuously changing formats. It serves for the direct exchange among product managers, marketeers and associated specialists. The content is conveyed in the form of peer-coaching. Thereby topics such as Best Practice, Storytelling or Customer Experience are involved. But there is also the event series "failed“. There we discuss projects that maybe didn't turn out quite so well, but where the gained experience is no less valuable than Best Practices. To facilitate looking beyond the edge of one's plate we invite experts from other sectors or agencies. This helps to sharpen one's own perspective. The marketing conference in turn takes place once a year on a certain topic where one then engages in exchanges. Apart from this the Marketing Award is awarded there, which once a year distinguishes the best performance in marketing.

Is there a specified agenda for the different formats?

I do not determine the topics for the different formats myself but these are suggested by the marketeers. So these are nearly always bottom-up topics that are often directly taken from everyday working life.

Is there something like a philosophy amongst you?

We live according to the guiding principle of undertaking decisions on the lowest possible level. From the first day onwards everyone carries responsibility in his or her function. You of course have to actually like this approach, but then it is brilliant because one enjoys scope and degrees of freedom that one could otherwise only dream of. And also the boss doesn't turn up one week later and change everything again. Often the product manager is even the only person in the team with marketing responsibility. He can and must decide.

What kind of a boss are you?

Everyone who is new needs a certain amount of guidance. But after this I quickly try to get away from a "direct" leadership style and to develop the competences of the employee to such an extent that they have the security of being able to decide things for themselves. Therefore my leadership style is more like a coaching. But in the background I am of course there and strengthen the backbone of my team.

Interested in marketing at the company Roche Pharma AG in Grenzach? Find out more.

Tags: Career Blog, Germany