June 14, 2011

Crossing Over to the Dark Side

Mad Men

The agency world

After more than a decade as a marketer for major health systems, I crossed over to the dark side: the agency world. The world where you live and die by your client’s needs and deadlines. Where you stress over timesheets and sales reports. Where you become — gasp — a “salesperson.”

It was the right move. And I didn’t become a salesperson. Instead, I’ve developed productive relationships with people who’ve become partners, not just clients. I’ve been able to step back and look at the big picture for these partners, because I’m no longer bogged down in hospital politics and appeasing physicians who clearly know more about marketing than the rest of us. I can focus on doing things I always wanted to do, but never had time for.

Most important to the agency’s clients, my understanding of healthcare and complex hospitals and health systems gives me a unique perspective. And that perspective comes in handy internally, sharing ideas and brainstorming with a creative team that thrives on innovation.

Would I tell every healthcare marketer to jump to the dark side? No! As Una Newman says in the May issue of Healthcare Marketing Report, agencies are not for the faint of heart. But if you have thick skin and are willing to use your in-hospital experience to your clients’ advantage, they’re not a bad place to be.