Yes, My Degree in Bass Performance Really Does Apply to My Job in Advertising

September 21, 2018Culture, Experience, Listening, Marketing

And a one … and a two … and a one, two, three, go! I guess by now I shouldn’t be surprised at how many musicians there are in advertising — hell, I’m one of them. Everywhere I’ve worked, there have been guitarists, drummers, singers, pianists … and, perhaps most importantly, bassists. (Can you guess what I play?) My degree is in Popular Music Performance. It’s an unusual degree, I’ll grant you, and it never fails to come up in job interviews. So, after 11 years as a writer, I’ve had a lot of time to think about how experience in music relates to what goes on at an agency. And the more I think about it, the more I realize how apt that experience is. When my team presents new concepts to the client, …

Driving Digital Deeper Into Our DNA at HCB … and for Our Clients

September 5, 2018Experience, Industry, Innovation, Marketing, Technology

Business is digital — and the healthcare space is no exception. Digitally empowered patients and customers are leading the way, emitting a digital data exhaust that begs to be harnessed. And with the availability of tools to make sense of it all (e.g., AI, social listening, software engineers, machine learning), coupled with the fact that manufacturers are increasingly steering their spend towards digital (albeit slowly), while hospitals are adapting more quickly, digital is finally moving from the margin to the middle. So, if business is digital, then digital needs to mean business. Given today’s realities, clients need a deeply skilled, digitally savvy partner and organization to help them not just keep pace, but fundamentally transform their business so they can create competitive advantage and better serve their customers. That’s why I’m thrilled and honored …

Trouble Connecting? Take it Offline

August 8, 2018Culture, Industry, Listening, Marketing

Have you ever received an email that you had to read a few times? The first time you read it, you detect a subtle attitude from the author. The second time you think it’s just sarcasm. Finally, you decide it’s not attitude; they are actually mad. Yup, their clipped language and lack of a friendly sign-off mean they are angry. So what do you do? First you react. Then you respond. You phrase your response perfectly so that the reader knows “I know you are mad, but here’s why I am right” or “Gosh, I am sorry you are mad. I am such an idiot.” But what happens if the writer isn’t mad at all? He just writes in short sentences and doesn’t do the common pleasantries. Here’s the problem: Email sucks at …

Cultivating a Culture of Listening

August 1, 2018Culture, Listening, Marketing

Hi there! Welcome to HCB’s first ever culture post! I bet you didn’t know you were coming to a healthcare marketing blog to read about culture, huh? Well you actually came to the right blog, because I happen to be heavily steeped in all things “culture.” Corporate culture? Check. Pop culture? Sure! Cheese curds? OH YEAH. But first, let me introduce myself. My name is Amber, and I’m the office manager/social media manager for our Austin office. I spend most of my time planning office parties and surfing the web. One of my favorite things to do, though, is hang out with my coworkers. Yep, you read that right. My COWORKERS. I’ve been at HCB for five years now, so I’ve …

What Does It Mean to Be the Listening Agency?

June 29, 2018Culture, Healthcare, Industry, Listening, Marketing

A few years ago, I began doing executive coaching as a new discipline for the agency, after a few C-level clients asked me to work with some of their senior staff members to improve their leadership and communication skills. “Me?” I thought, “Why me?” But then I thought about the common theme that almost every former client had shared about working with me and the team at HCB Health — that we were good listeners. Since then, I have worked with many different folks from a wide range of pharma and device companies who have all needed my support in different areas of development. Some were CEOs, and some were middle managers seeking to rise up the ranks. What separated the ones I knew would be successful from the ones …

Listen Globally, Act Locally

June 15, 2018Culture, Experience, Healthcare, Industry, Listening, Marketing

There is a paradox at play in the world of global marketing. We live in an age where the expectation is that messages can be shared instantaneously across the boundaries of time, language and location. We are more connected than we have ever been, yet we still are not a unified world. What motivates us, what inspires us and what drives a brand to succeed is vastly different between continents and cultures. Yet we talk about “globalization” as if that undertaking is possible in a meaningful way with our physicians and patients around the world. The goal in marketing global brands is to seek the highest common denominator in verbiage that can resonate with targets despite their location or culture. So as we begin to …

Listening Is the Key to Becoming More Than Just Better Marketers

June 4, 2018Culture, Industry, Listening, Marketing

We’ve all read articles addressing the question of how to be heard in the age of information. But while we’re all focused on being “heard,” many of us fail to address its essential complement: listening. At a recent pharma meeting, I spoke with some pharmaceutical marketing executives about their experiences with their agencies and uncovered a common complaint: While their agencies spend dozens of hours demonstrating their ingenuity and creativity, especially during pitches, marketers themselves are frequently frustrated at the failure of these agencies to genuinely listen to what their clients are …

Healthcare Marketers Say Few Ad Agencies Are Really Good Listeners

May 18, 2018Culture, Experience, Healthcare, Industry, Listening, Marketing

New HCB Survey Finds Failure to Understand Client Needs Leads to Inferior Work, Cost Issues and Diminished Agency Value Healthcare advertising agencies need to sharpen their listening skills, according to a new survey of marketing executives commissioned by HCB Health. Respondents in four industry sectors — pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biotechnology and medtech — correlated good listening with the ability to understand and meet their business needs but said that only a small percentage of healthcare agencies listen really well. This failure can lead to …

Marketers Be Aware: We Need to Start Listening Better

April 15, 2018Culture, Experience, Industry, Marketing

Rewind to “Mad Men,” Season 3, Episode 9. Don Draper is confidently introducing a new campaign idea to hotelier Conrad Hilton, offering Americans the thrill of international travel along with all the comforts of home. How do you say ice water in Italian? Hilton. Fresh towels in Farsi? Hilton. Hamburger in Japanese? Hilton. Hilton — it’s the same in any language. It’s good, the hotel magnate says, but where’s the moon? “I wanted Hilton on the moon. I couldn’t have been clearer about it. You did not give me what I wanted. I’m deeply disappointed, Don. When I say I want …