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Pharmaceutical Marketers DirectorySeptember 2013

Jon Sawyer, President and COO, closerlook, inc.


Q: What was your biggest break?

Getting started on the agency side of the industry with closerlook almost 14 years ago. We've been able to grow this quirky, smart firm into a powerhouse of talent full of passion to make marketing smarter and more impactful for pharma. It was a risky move for me at the time but it's one that I'm thankful for every day.

Q: What's the best and/or worst part of your job?

Working with smart clients and staff who collectively push for better and brighter ways to improve marketing. It just never gets old, it keeps us on our toes and it's a heck of a lot of fun.

Q: Who is the person you admire most in your area of work?

This is going to sound like pandering but it's the truth. I have a ton of respect for the courageous people within the pharma industry who work hard every day to improve their relationships with physicians and patients via more respectful and thoughtful marketing, services and support. It's incredibly hard work to pull through the hangover of the blockbuster era, but they're out there and I applaud them.

Q: What's the view like from your office/work area?

Well, we're growing and we have an open office environment so every day I see teams of people at their desks and in groups working hard on strategic, creative and technical solutions. Our office is full of activity, intensity and camaraderie. It's awesome and it's inspiring.

Q: How long is a typical meeting with clients?

It depends. We're in touch with our clients every day, but we also make the time to spend several hours together that are less task focused and more oriented toward ideas, thought and problem solving. A lot of our work is grounded in innovation and that process requires more time together.

Q: Does your office have a favorite lunch and/or after-hours place?

It changes as new places open up, but our mainstay has been our local Irish pub, Brehon, right across the street. Come visit, and we'll have a pint together.

Q: Where did you go to college? Did it help you prepare for your career?

I spent a couple of years at Colorado College, and finished at University of Wisconsin Madison. All I can say is that college was an outstanding experience. Stay in school kids.

Q: What books are you reading?

Two at the moment, both recommendations from a client: Innovation Diffusion and New Product Growth and Start with Why. I've got both the right and left brain covered for the moment.

Q: What was your greatest professional challenge?

Working through scale. Everything is at odds with quality and competence when you begin to grow quickly and it takes a lot of determination and steel to stay focused on providing exceptional service and to grow smartly and with humility. We're very grateful for our success, independence and our clients. Hubris is a killer and not very becoming.

Q: Where will you be in five years?

Most likely doing the same thing but hopefully with a bit more time sailing the Caribbean.

Q: If you were to write a book, what would the title be?

It’s All About Dating.


PMD ReFresh is the monthly newsletter of the Pharmaceutical Marketers Directory, providing a wealth of information, practical advice, human interest stories and personnel updates to the pharmaceutical marketing community.

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The drugs, Optistavin, Easovartis and Librylin, and names, results, case studies and specific information, referenced in this advertisement are fictional and were created solely for illustrating the digital marketing capabilities of closerlook, inc. Any resemblance to actual drugs, medications, treatments, persons, living or dead, or to actual events, is purely coincidental. closerlook, inc. does not assume and hereby disclaims any liability to any party for any loss, damage or disruption caused by such party’s reliance on the fictitious information contained in this illustration.

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