So, the board has approved the appointment of a scientific marketing agency, it is now up to you to draw up a short list of agencies to speak to. Most people start by asking their network who they work with. They look at who the big players have retained and pull together a short list.
The problem with this is that it narrows the market of agencies, and the innovation of resulting programs. This comes with a level of comfort: the agency is delivering proven programs, that they know work. However, it is at risk of reducing your differentiation. How can you look different from your competitors if you are doing the same types of programs with the same supplier? I am not saying that agencies always churn out the same program for each client – there is customization involved – but agencies have to focus on efficiency in order to remain profitable. Efficiency often means processes, which in turn means replication.
It will also likely cost you more to work with these top agencies. The three or four agencies that are most recommended have the ability to charge higher prices due to demand. Most have a minimum retainer they will work on per month – typically in the region of $15,000 per month.
By now you have wasted time talking to agencies to determine they are too expensive for you, and they already work with your competitor, which makes your board nervous. So, how do you find the boutique scientific marketing agencies that have more reasonable rates, and are driven by innovation as opposed to process (because typically they are still trying to establish a name for themselves)? You speak to Covalent Bonds. We can help you navigate the agency landscape.