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Smart Thinking blog

Insights and expert advice on the key issues facing today’s pharma marketer

Start me up: The virtue of patience

Regardless of an agency's size, the hardest lesson to learn is that of being patient

Building a med comms agency 

I caught up with a good friend and former colleague at the weekend. He is now the MD of a very large and established agency, and it had been a while since we last chewed the cud.

Over the course of wine, curry and the placation of our respective small, yet loud, children, the conversation inevitably veered round to what's new at work and, as was the case on this occasion, the things we found most difficult when it comes to running an agency (as friends, we didn't have to use the oft-substituted word 'challenging'). We had more in common than I'd thought. Regardless of size or age of agency, we both felt that the hardest lesson was that of being patient.

As you move up the rungs of an established agency, you're rewarded for being quick to respond to issues and crunching through work at an enviably productive speed. Timelines are invariably tight, so being quick to respond is understandably a virtue in an agency.

Once you're running the shop, though, you start to see the need for being more contemplative before acting, and making fewer but better, decisions. The buck stops with you, and most other people are too rushed off their feet or close to the projects themselves to do that thinking.

Even the planners

Patience is also necessary because new projects and new business do not come when you call, and the saying 'feast or famine' is an agency truism, whatever the size. There's only so much you can do to prepare the new business ground: advertise your services, make the calls, meet people for coffee, write blogs to keep your name out there… before you have to let go and hope that you're favourably remembered when clients need an agency's services. 

And then there's the disproportionate amount of time you spend on what can seem like the small stuff. The conversation you have with a colleague where you remember to ask about their mum's operation; the email you forward to a client with a news article you think they'd like; the title you give a pitch deck that raises a wry smile; the time taken to re-read some copy where you spot a howler.

None of these on their own will necessarily make or lose you millions, but they show you care enough to take the time.

Article by
Matt Hunt

Managing director,
11 London

31st March 2015

From: Marketing

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