If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It — Joanna Derma’s Six Years at Intouch
Intouch's Vice President of Client Services, Joanna Derma, chats about her career with the company and what she sees for the future.
Tell us about your first week at Intouch
Intouch was my first job working from home (at the time), so the first week felt like I was on an island. However, I quickly learned the value of digital communication options, like instant messaging, and how to communicate with someone in 10 different ways, beyond just face to face.
Overall the first week was great. I think Intouch itself is very unique from a digital perspective. Six years ago, a lot of the agencies were touting their “digital” capabilities, and I considered myself well-versed in digital. But when you dig into what Intouch does in the digital realm, it’s really on a whole different level. So it was a big learning curve and I had to adjust to a lot of different things, but it was very exciting. There was never a dull moment.
What is the most dramatic change you have witnessed during your time at Intouch?
Because we are so heavily focused on digital, the introduction of the iPhone and iPad were huge for us. It really changed how we thought about marketing to healthcare providers and providing patient support. It heightened levels of engagement and changed the paradigm. People were seeking information and managing their disease all from their mobile devices. Sales reps were actually excited to leverage interactive elements on this cool tablet as opposed to the traditional print pieces. It changed the game for a lot of us, and it still does.
What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
We actually just finished an innovation lab, which is the scrappiest thing I’ve done in awhile. The client wanted to ensure we had the capability to do a predictive analysis model, so we created one leveraging a unique algorithm that could answer any disease-state question in a personalized way. In six weeks, we designed it, built it, and did two rounds of UX/creative testing and optimizations. The fact that we created a functioning patient support tool that was well received by patients and the client within that time period was intense, but exhilarating.
What do you like the most about working at Intouch?
The people, the culture and the can-do attitude. When you come from a large agency, it is a process to get anything done. Here, it’s the opposite. At Intouch, if you can dream it, you can find a way to bring it to life. We are always bringing in ideas, always brainstorming, and management really facilitates this.
Where do you see Intouch and the industry as a whole in 15 years?
When I think about Intouch and the industry 15 years ago, I don’t think we ever would have imagined that we would be where we are today. Even two years ago, I don’t think we would have seen certain things coming. I do think, given how the digital landscape is constantly the focus, social is going to continue to be huge. I think peer-to-peer influence and how people gather information is going to continue to grow, and marketers are going to need to adapt. Data is going to play a larger role in determining communications and channels. I think we are going to start seeing diagnosis and ongoing treatment all done in the digital space. It’s going to be crazy, and I’m excited to be a part of it.
What is your favorite pop culture from 1999?
Kid Rock. It was the only CD my roommate at the time would play in her car. So we’d roll down Lakeshore Drive in Chicago with Kid Rock blasting. Gosh, remember CDs?