Breaking all the rules: Finding success in healthcare marketing

(BPT) - It's a well-known rule in marketing that if you're a healthcare company you need to work with an advertising agency that lives and breathes healthcare.

But rules are made to be broken, and LevLane, a dark horse, full-service agency in Philadelphia, is showing that maybe that well-worn path so many have traveled is, well, worn out.

It's a bold statement but rooted in real-world examples. Take a look at 10 random marketing campaigns in the pharmaceutical space right now and you'll quickly sense a theme. They have the same bouncy music, the same format, the same look and feel. They might not be siblings, but they're definitely close cousins.

For LevLane, an agency that's been in business since 1984 and built its reputation leading campaigns for big consumer names like Taco Bell, Midas, Massage Envy and KFC, to name a few, when opportunities began to present themselves in the healthcare world, they were up for the challenge.

But how do you go from marketing chalupas and oil changes to birth control and dental insurance?

Easy - you do it with the right people who understand marketing, regardless of the vertical. And if awards are any indication of success, it appears that breaking out of the medical marketing box is working quite well.

In the years since the agency began its life sciences division, it has expanded its healthcare client portfolio to include pharmaceutical companies, diagnostic entities, major healthcare systems, payers, provider groups and most recently digital health organizations, all while racking up dozens of awards. In 2022, it reached another professional milestone: LevLane was named to the MM&M (Medical Marketing & Media) Top 100 Agencies for the 7th year in a row.

'Clients who have come to us from various healthcare segments are hungry for something innovative,' said Timmy Garde, Chief Innovation Leader, and Head of the Life Sciences Division at LevLane. 'We bring a unique blend of integrated talent, a nimble structure where we can plug and play subject matter experts to the challenges at hand. In essence, we become an extension of our clients' teams by leveraging all of our agency's resources and then some.'

The transition from consumer-focused clients to traditional healthcare work, while not without its challenges, was more natural than most would imagine. The agency has always had a bespoke approach to client work, regardless of industry, so when it came to healthcare, they utilized the talent from their existing in-house disciplines and strategically partnered with medical, legal and regulatory experts to provide guidance without hindering creativity. That simple, but innovative, bolt-on model allowed the discipline teams to think as big as they do for consumer work while staying within the industry guardrails.

'We aren't trying to be just another healthcare marketing agency. People come to us to get away from that,' said Kevin Dunn, SVP of Strategic Client Engagement for Life Sciences at LevLane. 'We have all the same medical and regulatory resources available to us as a specialized agency, but our discipline teams are working on every client we have, which has been a real secret to our success in this space. The cross-pollination between industries allows us to bring much more creative, unique thinking to our clients because we're not starting with regulation first - it's always about reaching the audience with an authentic message. That's our sweet spot.'

Seems that maybe consumer marketing may have something to teach the healthcare world after all.

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