How Client Teams Can Truly Connect with Their Agencies

Dear House Rules,

One of our best healthcare clients may be testing other relationships. I can’t imagine why; they’ve always been thrilled with our work. How can we compete with something shiny and new out there?

Tried & True

Client-Agency Relationships: Tried & True vs. Shiny & New

Dear Tried & True:

It sounds like your client is still banking on your agency, but they’re going elsewhere, too. If that’s the case, you’re not alone.

About 40% of healthcare marketing clients are shaking up their partner mix, adding consultancies, or seeking new agencies in search of innovation and diversity, according to the 2018 Healthcare Marketers Trend Report.

Why? Budget is one of the drivers. Money, more or less of it, has everything to do with this current trend. In the pharma/medical device and biotech sectors, 65% and 54%, respectively, reported that their marketing budgets are increasing. Overall, 55% of clients reported adding consultancies because of finances. They’re changing things up with a fresh dose of ideas, speed, smarts, and flexibility.

It’s not about you

This “looking-elsewhere” trend has nothing to do with dissatisfaction with their current agency’s creativity, status, or size. Once the client-agency relationship is established and comfortable, however, clients may not associate familiarity with “new.” Hence the tendency to look to different partners, not longstanding ones, when scouting for innovation.

What healthcare clients want

When selecting a new partner, more than half of those surveyed placed the most importance on efficiency and turnaround time. Flexible processes and methods of collaborating also mattered to a majority.

Other findings:

  • A third of respondents ranked scope/scale of offerings high; some looked for particular areas of expertise
  • Dollars are also going out for entrepreneurial spirit
  • Clients in the survey looked for innovations in customer engagement and, not surprisingly, creative strategy that supports their business

No need to fret

Most healthcare marketers (60%) are happy with their agency strategy, creative, and outcomes, and 65% said they would NOT choose to increase use of consultancies because they are happy with their existing agency strategy. In fact, many are likely to outsource to you when they get squeezed in-house.

Current clients (36%) will increase use of your agency as you add new services, like data science or machine learning, and 30% will give you more business because they value the longstanding relationship.

So take heart: A relationship shake-up is generally more anxiety than reality right now, and it’s completely dependent on budget.

Top-notch strategy and creative never gets old.

Xavier Creative House brings together the best of innovation and relationship-building. We’re prepared to be a true partner, with first-rate strategic and creative thinking. Give us a call to see how we can bring that winning combination to your next campaign.


  • MM&M Healthcare Marketers Trend Report 2018
    Telling findings about what clients want and where they are steering their business

About Xavier Creative House

Founded in 2013, Xavier Creative House (XCH) is an award-winning healthcare creative agency specializing in pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device. XCH’s global team of brand builders and healthcare marketers, tech-savvy go-getters, and innovative dream-vetters are passionate about the big idea that changes behavior in the healthcare marketplace. They believe life is about connections and that healthcare is about life. That is why XCH delivers bold and evocative creative solutions, amplified by meaningful technology, to energize brands and authentically connect with patients and HCPs.

Where Healthcare Brands Live®

For more information, contact

Sunny White
Founder & CEO of Xavier Creative House