Agency 100 2022: Schaefer Advertising
The challenges that come with recruiting and onboarding new employees during a time of a healthcare marketing boom — and, you know, a pandemic — have caused a number of companies to relax their policies and newbies to the shoe. -foot in the daily flow. Schaefer Advertising is definitely not one of those companies.
The company’s hiring process is designed to identify people who are “culture-plus” and “business-plus” (as opposed to culture-minus/business-
less). On day zero, the first day of an employee, each arrival already has an individualized development plan, reviewed every quarter, as well as an experience card for their position.
“The process is very rigorous,” notes Sara Hull, executive vice president, account strategy and client development.
Schaefer Advertising does not do this out of obligation; it does it because it works. “We see other companies adopting a transactional mindset – ‘get people where you can,’” says President and CEO Ken Schaefer. “We’re not going to let go of our focus on whether we’re the right fit for you and whether you’re the right fit for us. People have tremendous respect for the intent we put behind our recruitment process. .
Schaefer believes that relentlessness has played a huge role in the company’s recent growth. In 2021, the agency generated revenue of $12.9 million, up 52% from $8.5 million in 2020. The headcount grew from 27 full-time employees at the start of the year at 37 at the end.
Indeed, for all his talk of culture, Chief Healthcare Officer Jake Yarbrough stresses that Schaefer Advertising is “ruthlessly results-driven.” In 2021, he added engagements with Galderma (across four brands), Argon Medical Devices, and diabetes diagnostics startup Podimetrics.
Then there’s the agency’s work with Sight Sciences, which began when the company had maybe a dozen people on the payroll. It went public last July and extends to drug/device combinations.
At this point, Hull notes that Schaefer Advertising’s healthcare business – which also works in real estate and attractions, tourism and the arts – has seen a lot of diversification over the past 12 to 18 months. “Historically, the focus had been a bit more on the pharmaceutical space. Now we are intentionally moving towards services and devices,” she says.
The company is ready to take on a wider range of missions, with great confidence in its abilities.
“If you called contemporaries from other agencies we work with, I’d venture a guess that they think we’re part of a global agency in terms of thinking and approach,” Yarbrough adds. “I’m confident we can sit at the table and outperform other agencies.”
Before the end of the year, Schaefer Advertising is likely to grow through acquisitions, which “will deepen either functional expertise or vertical expertise,” Schaefer says. He also plans to do some self-promotion after years of relative silence.
“We’re not a big agency patting ourselves on the chest; we let our work do the work of our clients,” continues Schaefer. “So we are working to increase our notoriety in the communities that correspond to the business we want to develop.” In other words: Stay tuned.
. . .
Work from outside the pharmaceutical industry you admire…
The recent 911 spot for the Apple Watch deepens the value and differentiates the brand from other wearables. The script and voiceover are taken from actual audio from Watch-based emergency calls, where connecting through the Watch avoided serious damage. This simple film shows how the brand not only empowers us to feel motivated in pursuit of a healthier life, but also makes us feel safer knowing it can connect us to vital services. — Schaefer
Excerpt from the June 01, 2022 issue of MM+M – Medical Marketing and Media