Brandkarma’s CEO, Ken Ribotsky, was among thoughts leaders in pharma consulted for insight into what makes for an optimal agency-client relationship in pharma, especially in a new digital age. Read the full article at PM360 Online. Below is Ribotsky’s contribution, discussing how to build a strong agency-client relationship in pharma:

Obviously, clear and constant communication is very important, but it’s also key that the agency team be senior enough to completely understand everything about the client’s brand, the therapeutic category and the unique market challenges. They need to be able to anticipate the kinds of obstacles that clients face in order to avoid some of the common pitfalls that cause delays in development. Developing a level of trust is also important, but that only comes when your client knows you live and breathe their brand as intimately as they do. You also need to be able to tell your client what they need to hear, not necessarily what they want to hear—providing strategic solutions to help overcome their marketing obstacles.

There needs to be a lot of give and take, especially when you are first establishing a harmonious relationship. Right from the start, you need to set clear goals and manage expectations. That’s probably the biggest pitfall—not clearly identifying what you are able to accomplish versus what you may hope to accomplish. You also have to agree upon specific benchmarks that will be used to track your accomplishments over time. It’s also important to remember that no two clients are alike. You need to understand the best method of communicating with a client, what’s most effective for them and what’s going to keep your team aligned with their business goals.

The Effect of the Rise of Digital

In our case, it has brought us even closer to our clients because we have helped them understand the ever-changing landscape of new and emerging channels. We can handle it all and recommend managing it all. The problem with using a siloed approach, however, is that seamless integration can be challenging, because you don’t have one team looking at the big picture. Your channels can often become disconnected, which can negatively impact your ROI.

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About Brandkarma

Offering healthcare companies the highest level of strategic and creative marketing for specialty pharmaceutical and biotech products, medical devices, diagnostics, and OTC brands, Brandkarma is a champion of intense engagement, measuring its achievements by its clients’ success.

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Ken is a great deal more than just the president of a medical communications company. He is something of a hybrid. He’s part marketing manager, part creative director, and part copywriter. To the chagrin of his peers—but to the delight of his clients—Ken is a consummate perfectionist. As a former creative director for a high-end consumer agency, he challenged his creative teams to go beyond the mundane to produce work with real creative impact, something he’s just as fervent about today. From producing and directing TV commercials, to launching DTC and Rx-to-OTC switches, Ken brings his clients a world of experience in OTC pharmaceuticals as well as business, lifestyle, and high-end consumer products and services. Whether huddled with clients behind a mirror in a market research center in Houston, facilitating a strategic workshop in Madrid, or developing a global campaign either in the New Jersey or California office, Ken is always fully engaged, bringing “bestness” to all areas of his hectic but full life.