Asked about his company’s organizational philosophy, Benchworks chief marketing officer Thad Bench II says that it resists the temptation to focus on the shiny new object. Instead, it works methodically and incrementally, prizing teamwork over quick adrenaline hits of solo flourishes.
“We aren’t here to battle with a client or each other. We all have bows and arrows and we’re on the same team,” Bench says. “We aim for graciousness combined with optimism.”
Such a mindset may be needed at a time when client marketing budgets remain under intense pressure. Bench says that when clients come to Benchworks after having their budgets cut, the agency doesn’t tell them “We can’t do it” or unleash a negative spiel. Rather, the team works hard to provide the best interaction of a client’s day, even when things aren’t going as planned.
“We view it as an opportunity,” Bench continues. “We sit down and reexplore what’s possible. How can we stretch their marketing dollars to earn it back next time? We show graciousness to our clients and tell them that we’ve totally got it.”
This attitude helped fuel one of Benchworks’ biggest growth spurts in its 30-year history. Revenue nearly doubled in 2022, with the year’s take of $15.8 million representing a 93% gain over 2021’s sum of $8.2 million. The company’s client roster includes Ferring Pharmaceuticals (for osteoarthritis knee pain treatment Euflexxa) and Noven Therapeutics (for the Secuado transdermal patch, designed to treat schizophrenia).
Head count grew at an even faster pace, as Benchworks started the year with 25 full-timers on hand and ended it with 55. Among the key additions were SVP, strategic services Alexandra Daley, previously SVP, director of client services at H4B Boston.
Benchworks prides itself on, well, its deep bench. For instance, BW Health Group president Tom McDonnell launched blockbuster ADD drug Vyvanse during his tenure at Shire. Other staffers who previously worked on the client side of the business serve as a neat counterbalance to the company’s agency-world lifers.
The company is also structured differently from many of its similarly sized competitors. “Benchworks has a consulting arm and a hub arm, which gives us a whole platform to support life science companies in a way that’s outside the typical agency bucket,” Bench explains.
Parent organization BW Health Group was active on the acquisition front during 2022, snapping up well-regarded indie shop PulseCX in December and pairing it with Benchworks. “We really wanted to round out our medcomms bona fides,” Bench told MM+M at the time of the deal.
As for what comes next, look for Benchworks to apply its approach in the burgeoning realm of gene therapy, a space in which “the old pharma playbook” doesn’t apply, according to Bench.
“Traditional products involve prelaunch prep, launch and then getting patients on therapies to get healthier. But with gene therapy, the process to the infusion is the product,” he explains. “It’s a whole new way of thinking.”
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Our marketing role model…
Jack Trout. Alongside his partner Al Ries, Trout is widely acknowledged as the originator of positioning theory. His ideas, books and lectures are rooted in the principle of positioning — which remains the single most powerful concept in marketing. Marketing is an ever-changing discipline, but the concepts put forth by Jack Trout stand the test of time. — Bench