Involved in client service and health care marketing for more than 20 years, CEO and president of New York City-based Draftfcb Healthcare, Dana Maiman, has spearheaded major acquisitions for the agency and expanded its global footprint. Draftfcb touts integrated marketing, scientific, creative and digital capabilities, and Marketing Health Services e-newsletter caught up with Maiman to learn how she and her colleagues leverage these assets to fulfill a client’s health care communication needs from end-to-end.
Q: Draftfcb Healthcare has been named “Most Creative Agency” by Medical Advertising News for the past four years. What leadership strategies help you foster creativity in health care marketing?
A: People think creativity starts and stops with the development of the campaign. We demand creativity in every department and every discipline we provide. We apply creative, new, different and innovative thinking to our strategic planning approach, to how we glean customer insights and to everything we recommend for our clients. … Another way we foster creativity is by having our teams sit together, regardless of function or discipline. Instead of having the creative department work in a silo, we further reinforce that creativity is [imperative to have] throughout the agency. Additionally, our chief creative officer, Rich Levy, is truly my partner in running our agency network.
Q: Your experience spans many different therapeutic categories, including antibacterials, women’s health care, cardiovascular, arthritis, diabetes, oncology and HIV. How do you approach new categories when you and your colleagues are marketing products and services? How do you stay up to date with the conditions and industries?
A: One of our core values is intellectual curiosity. This value permeates our organization and results in a relentless pursuit for what’s new and innovative and generally means we are never satisfied with where we are as an organization. This avoids the complacency that starts to set in at other large companies. We are constantly in pursuit of finding, developing and creating new solutions for our clients and our people. One key factor in our success at either tackling new categories or staying up to date with industry is we don’t look just to the pharma and life sciences industry for ideas and inspiration. We never think about “staying up to date.” To us, that would be a failure. Instead, we always think about what will keep us light years ahead of our competitors and how we can keep providing value to our clients. The training and development programs we do for our folks are not health care specific; they’re either co-oped from other industries or developed specifically for us with our needs front and center.
Q: You’ve spearheaded major acquisitions for Draftfcb, such as Hudson Global in the U.S., and helped form an alliance with the Argon Network, a coalition of 22 healthcare agencies spanning Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America. What’s your strategy for growth in global markets?
A: Successful acquisitions can be summed up in two words: cultural fit. Sadly, too many companies pursue acquisitions with one objective, which is buying revenue. That’s why the successful acquisition rate is so astonishingly low. We took a very measured approach to acquisitions, first by all agreeing that it was not for incremental revenue purposes and was never going to merely be a “bolt-on” to our existing companies. This has served us well. For example, Hudson’s operating philosophies mesh beautifully with our own, and our corporate values were shockingly (in a good way) similar from the start.
Q: Draftfcb works with companies large and small, from orphan brands to billion-dollar organizations. How does the organization stay flexible enough to do business with such diverse clients?
A: Our client roster boasts big, small, biotech, Fortune 50/100 companies, start-up, pro-bono, and device and diagnostics manufacturers, so clearly we have no “threshold” for pitching or partnering. Although we are a very large agency network, we easily can accommodate clients of all sizes and varying needs because we derive inspiration from what we’re doing, not who we’re doing it for. We partner with clients for different reasons—sometimes it’s because it’s a unique product, either with a unique MOA (marketing opportunity analysis) or delivery system, or because it’s first in its category. Or, it’s a smaller client who has to create breakthrough , disruptive work to get noticed in the market, or perhaps it’s a cause we’re passionate about, or a new category. Regardless, each one of these clients and brands get the “A” team and surround sound support from every level within the organization, depending on their needs. We see every client as a growth opportunity. We’ve had clients start with $200,000 projects that have grown into multi-million dollar partners. … Having numerous agencies has also enabled us to support our growth. These varied clients and our initial conversations always focus on creating the right fit for that particular client, product or specific needs.