Executives at Silverlight Digital have long said that their key differentiator as an agency is a full-on, 100% focus on digital media. But in recent years another distinguishing dynamic has helped drive the company’s growth: its desire to work with challenger brands — with the Davids instead of the Goliaths.

Especially within the rare disease space, some of these clients might not have big budgets to spend. That doesn’t diminish their need to get educational pieces in front of HCPs or to introduce their brands to patients in novel ways.

“We have to allocate every media dollar judiciously so that we make the best use of their spend. We have to focus on the KPIs that make sense,” explains Silverlight CEO Lori Goldberg. “Our competition might have hundreds of millions of dollars in TV ad buys, but we only do a fraction of that.”

Silverlight’s growth trajectory continued during 2023. Revenue jumped to $29.9 million, a 6% bump from 2022’s take of $28.2 million.

The gains were spurred by assignments from existing client Octapharma as well as newcomers BD, Akebia Therapeutics and Bioventus. Other Silverlight roster mainstays include Mallinckrodt and Aadi Bioscience.

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Goldberg and team count work on the Bright Sky app, which provides education and resources to domestic/intimate partner violence victims and their loved ones, among the year’s highlights on the campaign front. Silverlight’s media activation exceeded the client goal of delivering 100,000 users.

While staff size dipped from 32 full-timers at the start of 2023 to 30 at its conclusion, Silverlight prioritized the role of SVP, client success — it was previously a VP-level post — and promoted agency vet Ruth Nightengale to fill it. She has been charged with minding the small, yet crucial details that, collectively, contribute to client service success. 

Given that more than 80% of Silverlight’s work comes via referrals, that client-first mindset is ingrained in its staffers.

“A lot of times, if we have a client who moves on to a new job, they’ll take us with them,” Goldberg explains. “I like to say that we lost our egos a long time ago. Even if someone has an SVP in front of their name, they are rolling up their sleeves and getting involved.” 

Goldberg acknowledges the obvious: The media and advertising landscape, both inside and outside of healthcare, took a gut punch in the second half of 2023, with layoffs, restructurings and mergers affecting clients and agencies alike. However, she’s proud that Silverlight has managed to continue growing without having to make painful cuts, whether of people or capabilities. 

“We’ve been fortunate enough not to have to do any layoffs internally, but with that comes an unsettling of who’s in charge of marketing at the client side,” she notes. “Sometimes, it can be beneficial. We might have a longer-standing relationship with the client than their actual internal people — but in other cases, the new team members might already have existing relationships with others.”  

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Work we wish we did

The Most Beautiful Sound helped people understand cancer treatment. The campaign’s central concept — recording the sound of cancer cells being destroyed — is innovative and intriguing. — Michael Ackerman, SVP, managing director

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