Having started my career in the world of pharmaceutical communications (aka med comms!) I had to quickly adapt, learning what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to marketing in this fascinatingly intricate political minefield . There are clear distinctions between what’s acceptable and what’s not in the pharmaceutical industry and this can present a challenge for agencies when it comes to being creative within strict boundaries. The consequences of working against the rules can be severe (in some case extreme fines and imprisonment) and as such, they are not to be taken lightly.
Due to the strict rules and regulations that govern the industry, med comms is one part of communications often considered in isolation. This however, I believe, is unfair and inaccurate. Having experienced life in med comms and the broader marketing world I can testify that med comms merely demonstrates what every other industry practices (or if it doesn’t it certainly should!)
Most industries; and in particular the life-sciences, have regulations to operate within and this is for a reason; no-one wants to deceive their audience or be deceived – and no marketing professional should ever want to work in this way. As Holly mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the PRCA In-house Benchmarking Report 2014 revealed that clients rate creativity, honesty and trust most highly when it comes to working with agencies; something we pride ourselves on with our clients as well as their audiences.
What we can learn from med comms is the need to consistently practice concise, accurate, messaging and have a strong sense of ethics in everything we do. At The Scott Partnership we work to the PRCA PR Standards and CMS because we believe in delivering excellent, creative and innovative work to the highest standards; something that can only truly be achieved if we have something to benchmark against.
This is something we not only practice internally but also for our clients; all our integrated sales and marketing campaigns are developed specifically for our clients’ strategy while ensuring a clear ROI can be calculated; demonstrating transparency from the outset.
Due to the nature of our business the ethics of what we do is of the upmost importance and clarity is essential in all areas; but this is not exclusive to med comms, this is something essential to all realms of marketing. With the rise of social media this is even more paramount; audiences are increasingly engaging with companies on all realms of their business; but none more so when they feel unfairly treated; but that’s a whole other conversation…
Jen Husdan, Account Director at The Scott Partnership