Marketing Interview: Maya Moufarek, Pharmacy2U & ChemistDirect

As part of our Marketing Interview Series, The Up Group spoke with Maya Moufarek (CMO at Pharmacy2U and ChemistDirect) to discuss the role of marketing in a pure-play digital healthcare business.


UP: Regarding your role as CMO, what are your responsibilities and how are you measured?

MM: My primary responsibility is really very clear: to achieve end-to-end profitable growth for the business. The starting point for this is customer acquisition and retention through website, customer experience, and advertising. Looking at the customer life cycle end-to-end allows me to use all the levers available to achieve profitable growth, whether it be through media, on-site customer experience optimisation or product innovation.

Given the heavy logistical nature of our business and the importance of quick delivery, I also work very closely with our Operations team, with cross-departmental innovation playing a significant role.


UP: You mentioned how Product used to be under your remit, was this function owned by entirely by you or did you have a Head of Product?

MM: Previously the function was owned entirely by my team. That meant my team was very diverse and multi-skilled, featuring people from many different disciplines, including Digital Marketing, SEO, CRO and Product.

This single Digital team approach is common in the early stages of growth, but as we approached the next stage of our development as a business, the executive team agreed that we needed to invest in a Product specific team and hire a lead for this function. That said, our organisation is still extremely fluid, Product and Marketing teams feeding into one another cross-functionally in order to drive innovation.


UP: We’ve found through our interviews that Data as a function often sits with Marketing, is that the case in your organisation?

MM: At Pharmacy2U and ChemistDirect, we don’t have a dedicated Data team per se, although our finance team does have “power analysts” who are the most skilled internally. Each team in the business has its own data capability with all data, from every function, being accessible. I think this availability of data and sharing of knowledge across departments is actually one of the key drivers of profitable growth in the business as it allows for the optimisation of strategy in real-time through consideration of insight from all areas of the organisation.


UP: What are you looking for when hiring great talent?

MM: When hiring, we really put individuals to task. For example, asking them to create a marketing plan using a solid, data-led foundation and then testing their hypothesis is a staple of our recruitment process. We really want people to display a hunger for impact and growth which makes a difference to our patients’ lives as well as the business’s success. In addition, we want them to have a knowledge of the wider consumer technology industry and to keep up with developments in the space so that they are always on the innovative edge. A curiosity about what others are doing is critical.


UP: There has been quite a lot of resistance to your business by traditional chemists. Does this resistance impact your approach to Marketing strategy?

MM: I honestly don’t think this resistance is anything new for companies classed as innovators such as Ocado, Ovo, Uber or Airbnb. We manage NHS repeat prescriptions from request to delivery which relieves the strain on both patients and the NHS, saving time and money. We also actively encourage online and offline collaboration to improve patient outcomes and drive efficiencies. All of this results in the conclusion that our customers find our service to be more convenient than traditional methods in 89% of cases; this kind of overwhelmingly positive feedback is what matters.

As for our Marketing strategy, this resistance to our model hasn’t changed our approach necessarily. That said, we have to place a lot of emphasis on patient education about the choices available to them in the pharmacy. This educational element also extends into our efforts with the government and the NHS to drive the industry forward.


UP: Thinking to the future now, what do you think will be the biggest developments in Marketing over the coming years?

MM: I’m seeing more businesses become Marketing and Product driven as opposed to Technology and Product driven, this second approach being unable to drive growth on its own. With Marketing and Product working together, an end-to-end customer experience can be built on the back of strong data insights and smart tools. Coupled with this, I believe that personalisation and increased segmentation will continue to expand and deepen, really augmenting the customer experience.

InterviewCatherine Adams