E4H is all about partnerships and working collaboratively with our clients, so it makes sense that the company is run by a partnership too. Husband and wife team Karl and Melanie Hamer founded the medical education firm over ten years ago and it continues to grow and expand today, with Pf magazine its most recent acquisition.
Pharmafield recently sat down with the Hamers for their insights on the business and how it has evolved over the last decade:
How has your first year as owners of Pf Magazine been?
Karl: It’s been exciting and challenging. We purchased the magazine as it is the ideal platform to keep the industry updated with knowledge, opinion, NHS updates and what each other is up to. We saw it as a blank canvas and initially met a number of people in the industry to get advice on what they needed from a publication that represented their industry.
Melanie: We embarked on a radical rebrand – embracing new audiences, changing the look and feel of the magazine and altering the direction of content. It is now more analytical and opinion-leading, taking on the issues of the day. Also, finding talented people and taking the magazine, and its associated products, forward, has been tremendously exciting.
Why did you start E4H?
Karl: We are both from a pharmaceutical background and observed a gap in the market. We understood the needs of the pharmaceutical industry and the NHS, therefore we were well placed to use our knowledge to support them by being the link to bring them together.
Melanie: Within six months of starting E4H the demand for new projects was so great that Karl came on board bringing with him his network of NHS and clinical experts.
How has the business evolved?
Melanie: As the business has grown so has our expertise in many more therapy areas. In addition, we have fully embraced the digital era and how healthcare professionals want to consume their education. We have invested in digital platforms, making sure we remain at the forefront of educational advances.
Karl: In the beginning, clients would present specific briefs. Now we are engaged earlier in projects, and clients utilise our expertise by telling us what their objectives are. We then jointly develop solutions tailored to their needs and those of their customers.
How has digital impacted on your overall offerings?
Karl: The advancement in our digital capability allows us to bring together clinicians and experts in a virtual environment to form webinars, advisory boards, e-learning programmes and forums. Our investment in developing an active network of over 14,000 healthcare professionals has really supported this activity and provides some of our clients with a great opportunity to connect directly with their audience.
Melanie: Although this year we celebrate our 10th anniversary, in some ways we feel like a start-up again; we have acquired a production, technology and creative side to our business in the last two years, meaning we can deliver an end-to-end solution for our clients, which is really exciting.
What have been your most rewarding projects?
Melanie: For me it has to be the Pf Awards – they are my third child and I’m passionate about them! We’ve had to move with the industry and the categories have changed – 17 years ago I didn’t even know what e-detailing was. I am motivated by making sure the Pf Awards are always relevant.
Karl: It feels great when customers present us with a challenge, and by working together we develop a solution with real outcomes. There is nothing more rewarding than a client saying “that was fantastic – it will make a difference to how patients are treated”.
Was it always your intention have a career in pharma/healthcare?
Melanie: Initially, I was a dental nurse, but then responded to an advert in the paper and enjoyed a career in pharmaceutical sales, training and management with GSK, Astra and Sanofi. When I was ‘carrying the bag’, we didn’t have mobile phones, but interacting with people was the same, and that gave me a great foundation for understanding customer needs.
Karl: My background was in accountancy, before moving into sales, marketing and strategic operations. I moved into pharma after a friend’s recommendation and the promise of a company car. I thought I’d do that for 12 months, but remained at AstraZeneca for 15 years!
How did you first meet?
Melanie: We met on a presentation skills course at Astra.
Karl: Mel was impressed with my flipchart skills.
What is the key to working successfully as husband and wife?
Karl: We talked to another husband and wife partnership – Judy and Chris Philips from CHASE – and they gave us invaluable advice about understanding each other’s strengths. That has always stuck with us – we have defined roles and don’t overlap. When you are husband and wife, you trust each other implicitly; there is no better basis for a personal relationship and that also applies to business. E4H is a family business made up of a small team but with huge capability for impact. We feel really lucky to work with some truly talented people on a daily basis.
You can read the full interview with Karl and Melanie over at Pharmafield, here.
Working with partners to promote medical education is a cornerstone of E4H’s business, but the work that’s done comes in many different forms. Whether it’s producing webinars to reach healthcare practitioners all over the country, putting on events to educate GPs, or creating digital products, E4H works with each client to create a bespoke plan that suits their needs perfectly. Contact us to find out more.
Emma is Head of Marketing and Content at E4H.