Agencies biggest gripes in working with DTC Marketers

screenshot_1280You would think that people on the agency side of the business would be happy that most pharma clients are planning to invest more in digital marketing but you would be wrong.  Along with bigger digital budgets comes more micromanagement and a belief that executing digital marketing can’t be as expensive as off line marketing.  This has led to a philosophy of “getting it done” versus “getting it done right”, than when digital initiatives fail to perform it’s often the agency that is left to try and defend themselves without pointing too many fingers.  Here is my list of top agency gripes in working with “big pharma”.

(1) “It costs how much?” – Surely it can’t cost that much to develop a website ?!  However to develop an effective website a process is needed that starts with a detailed understanding of the brand and its audience followed by tech and functional specifications and usability studies.  All too often the budget limits the effectiveness of developing a great online brand experience.

(2) “Why is it taking so long ?” –  The idea that a website or major digital intervention can be turned around quickly is indicative of DTC marketers’ inability to understand the development process.  It’s not just some agency person coding a website it’s ensuring that are developing a high quality, patient focused website.

(3) Take 2 steps forward then 3 steps back - By far one of the biggest complaints is establishing a great relationship with a DTC Director only to have that person rotate to a new position or leave the company.  This often results in a replacement who is not up to speed in digital marketing and needs to be coddled moving forward.


(4) “I want to develop an app” - There are so many people on mobile devices we need to develop an app.  However developing an app without an understanding of why and how is a waste of money that could be better used to ensure your website is mobile friendly.

(5) Can you explain XXXto me ? - A lot of agencies live and breathe digital and know it cold but often they have to explain new Google search parameters to them or talk about the importance of intuitive navigation.

(6) Prohibitive M L R Teams – Working hard to get buy-in is essential but when you hit a dead end in legal or regulatory and DTC managers don’t back you up it can be extremely disappointing.

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(7) Being treated like a vendor instead of a strategic partner – I can’t tell you the number of times some DTC marketers keep essential brand information close to vest instead of sharing it openly with their agencies.

(8) Use copy from our brochure for the website - Repurposing copy is perhaps the worst mistake you can make when developing a website.  Copy should be inviting, informational in a conversational way not like you are dictating to your audience.

Tomorrow I’ll detail some of DTC marketers biggest gripes with agencies and how the two can find common ground.


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