Client relationships in the ever-changing marketing landscape

Ben Routley | 13th April 2016

To get a deeper understanding of how Blue Latitude Health approaches client relationships in the ever-changing marketing landscape, we interviewed Ben Routley, Client Lead across our Agency of Record brands.

Here, he talks about what Blue Latitude Health do to set ourselves apart from the rest of the industry, and what our secret to building long-lasting relationships is.

 

Digital and multichannel marketing has clearly changed the way that marketing brand teams work. Can you tell us a bit more about how this has affected the way Blue Latitude Health works with clients?

The emergence of new channels has created exciting opportunities to engage with different customer types in a way that meets their information needs while respecting their communication preferences. It enables us to work with clients to develop a strategy that addresses the needs of many types of customer across the channels relevant to them, at their actual point of need.

This multichannel approach improves the effectiveness and reach of sales teams’ interactions, complementing their activities. We understand that for many businesses, there is a concern that sales teams will be replaced by the adoption of a multichannel approach, but this isn’t the case. Much of our work on multichannel strategy is using insight to rationalise decisions for targeting communications and supporting sales teams to optimise alternative channels that then improve the quality and quantity of the interactions. 

It is only through a real understanding of individual customers’ needs that communication will be meaningful and delivered through relevant channels at the right time.

 

What do you think the key factors are to building a long-lasting agency-client relationship?

The biggest factor that determines a successful relationship is, put simply, trust. As trust builds over time through successful engagements, it becomes the cornerstone of our long-term relationships. As strategic partners, we have a mandate to support wider implementation of commercial strategy - often acting as the bridge between functions and their agencies to streamline implementation, and as guardians of the brand. Trust drives confidence and leads to the development of real partnerships where problems are solved as a team, and resources are directed to solutions that are solely in the best interests of the client.

Additionally, it’s important that we work together with the client as early as possible to start solving their challenges. At Blue Latitude Health, we help develop workshops and working sessions, collaborating with the cross-matrix teams (Medical, Marketing, Compliance, Market Access, etc.) at the regional and local levels to solve the big challenges facing both the brand and franchise for the year ahead as well as the next five years.

It is this knowledge coupled with real consumer insight that then drives the marketing plans and deliverables for the coming year. 

 

How does Blue Latitude Health manage client relationships differently?

We have developed a framework that is designed to foster long-term engagements between client brands and agency teams. Through our strategic consulting, we help to shape the wider commercial strategy during annual and mid-term brand planning cycles. This means that we are fully aligned with the needs of the business and can, at the start of each year, work together to define the extent of commitment for the subsequent 12 months.

This stability enables us to resource appropriately and commit a dedicated team, specifically orientated to the needs of the business. We also provide a unique continuity that contributes richer knowledge and experience of the brand. Throughout the year, we continuously review operating budget and refine the scope of projects to ensure resources are targeting the biggest questions. Quarterly assessments are held to ensure we are aligning with needs, and empower us to continuously improve.

 

What does Blue Latitude Health mean when we call ourselves a ‘creative marketing consultancy’? How is that different from a creative agency or a more traditional consultancy?

When we say ‘creative marketing consultancy’, what we mean is that we provide a genuinely end to end service for our clients. Like a traditional consultancy, everything we do is driven by strategy. We conduct initial research to understand what your customers really need, what your competitors are doing (and how they’re perceived), and from that insight we develop strategic analysis and recommendations.

Where we set ourselves apart from our competitors is the way we work as a collaborative team across strategy, creative services, insight, and customer experience. Our strategic analysis and recommendations are built into the tactics that we deliver – there is nothing lost in translation in the creation of creative assets and collateral. This is critical in healthcare, as we are often looking to change the behaviour of customers, and the insight-led strategic approach must come through in every tactic, responding to both emotional and rational customer needs.

At Blue Latitude Health, strategy is not just about thinking and recommending – it’s also about doing and making so that the core strategy is carried through from initial plans to final supporting assets.

Additionally, something we are best placed to do is service innovation. We can offer end to end capability when we develop (for example) a patient service. Our full design lifecycle approach supports the service from that first initial planning session through to the launch of the service into the market and measurement of impact.

Clearly, we don’t fit neatly in a box. Sometimes procurement is briefed to bring in a traditional creative agency or strategic consultancy, but the key to what we do is carrying through that strategic thinking so that nothing gets lost in translation.

 

Many thanks to Ben for taking the time to speak with us! If you’re interested in hearing more about how we can bring additional value to your business, you can get in touch with us at hello@bluelatitude.net.

 

Read more about the client-agency relationship in our special Procurement supplement to Perspective magazine.

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