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Why pharma marketing needs a woman's touch. Illustration of a woman at her laptop thinking with coffee in hand, and "idea" lightbulb.

Why Pharma Marketing Needs a Woman’s Touch

Show of hands: who’s watched Mad Men? I’d be willing to bet a lot of hands shot up—I mean, it was a good show. Sadly, a lot of what I watched in its episodes still rang true 40 years later. I, too, began my career in advertising fetching coffee, being called “sweetheart,” and sitting silently by while rooms full of male “marketing mavens” strategized and ideated amongst themselves. Rare was the woman’s perspective considered and even rarer yet was it taken seriously. Once I did find my voice, I was told to “tone it down,” “you’re too loud,” or “you’re coming across as aggressive.” What did I do? I spoke up even more. And you betcha, I talked even louder.

I’ve worked with some terrific men—from designers to creative directors to writers to CEOs. And things have improved, but there’s still a bit of a gender discrepancy in ad-land. Did you know that only 0.1% of creative agencies are founded by women? Not only that, but there are only around 3% of agencies with female creative directors. Wait, what? Women drive 70% to 80% of consumer purchases. And when it comes to their power in healthcare decision making, women have earned the moniker “chief medical officer of the family.” Why then, wouldn’t you seek out the perspectives of those people you’re trying to target? Clearly, you might have to work a little harder to find a woman-helmed agency, but it’s well worth the effort and here’s why.

Women’s intuition really is a thing.

We know how to reach your target audience—even if said audience is made up of men. Women tend to be more attuned to their clients’ needs and wants than men, which gives them an advantage when it comes to creating campaigns that resonate with their target audiences. Moreover, because women represent over half of all consumers in the United States, they have insights into what appeals to both male and female customers alike.

Women have more diverse perspectives and experiences.

Female entrepreneurs come from different backgrounds and have different life experiences than the majority of male entrepreneurs. This gives us a unique perspective on marketing strategies and tactics that can make all the difference when you need your brand to stand out. I myself started at the very bottom and have pretty much held every position you can hold in a healthcare marketing agency. Ok, maybe I wasn’t a production artist or graphic designer, but my eye for art direction is second only to one. And I’m an ace grammatist.

Women are excellent networkers.

No, it’s not just a stereotype. We really do have a natural ability to empathize and connect with people on an emotional level. This makes us particularly adept at finding opportunities for collaboration—a key component of successful marketing campaigns. It also makes us adept at anticipating our clients’ needs and ensuring they’re met even before they know there’s a need.

Women understand the unique needs of small businesses.

Generally speaking, female-founded agencies aren’t your standard behemoths. Put simply, we’re fairly small. So we have an innate understanding of the specific challenges that small businesses face on a daily basis. Why is that important? Because brands that aren’t backed by Big Pharma can’t afford teams of marketers billing hour after hour after hour for a single brochure or digital ad campaign. And we know that. We also know they deserve award-winning creative and top-notch strategy just as much as the big dogs.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Talent isn’t restricted to gender. I don’t advocate choosing an agency based solely on whether it’s “manned” by women; rather, give those that are a chance. With our innovative ideas and deep understanding of customer needs, we can create impactful campaigns that get results—all while bringing much needed diversity into the industry. If you’re searching for a creative advertising agency, look no further. If you’re searching for a creative advertising agency captained and crewed by a whole helluva lot of wickedly talented women—and yes, men!—then we could be the ONE agency for you.

Let’s talk. Maybe I’ll even tell you whose art-designer eye trumps my own.

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