The Rochester, New York-based Butler/Till Health Group prides itself on its flexibility and ability to collaborate effectively with brand teams, among other skills. But to hear VP of client services Keith Betz tell it, the agency’s top talent relates to, well, its own talent.
Even before it opened outposts in New York and San Francisco, Butler/Till derived considerable satisfaction from its track record of attracting and retaining A-list talent. According to Betz, turnover rates have consistently been in the single-digits, and average employee tenure is around five years.
The agency has similarly endeavored to nurture its client relationships, with most of its recent revenue growth coming from existing ones. Overall, revenue jumped 11.1% during 2018, from $18.9 million at the end of 2017 to $21 million last year.
During 2018, Butler/Till gained five new assignments in a range of therapeutic categories, including work from L’Oréal, Welch/Allyn, Wright Medical and HydraFacial. It also broadened existing relationships with Celgene, Ferring Pharmaceuticals and HoloLogic.
Betz points to work done for Salix Pharmaceuticals across a range of products, among them IBS drug Xifaxan and opioid-induced constipation drug Relistor, as particularly effective. The agency focused on targeted video advertising, rather than the usual mega-buys of national TV time.
“We can look at new opportunities for brands that may not have thought of video before because the barrier to entry was just so high and the ability to target the patient they were trying to reach was so low,” Betz explains, noting that these smaller video buys are “more refined” due to the data that drives the marketing decisions.
Given this approach, it’s not surprising that Butler/Till has prioritized hiring analytics talent over the past few years, including data scientists and analysts who can make sense of campaign and client-side data. Two such recent additions were chief analytics officer Gabrielle Bedewi and director of marketing analytics and performance strategy Wendy Emerson.
“Having data is one thing, but making sense of it for our clients is as much science as it is art,” Betz says.
In the months ahead, look for Butler/Till to expand its partnership with Salix as it helps push IBS drug Trulance, recently acquired by Salix parent Bausch Health from Synergy Pharmaceuticals, to market. Trulance is another example of a product that will move from big TV to streaming ads, Betz says, noting that the brand “doesn’t necessarily need large budgets” in order to reach its audiences.
Along these lines, Betz hopes that partnerships between agencies and clients will become more transparent moving forward. That means more data-sharing earlier in the marketing process.
“Clients are sitting on interesting data that they’re not necessarily thinking of as something they can leverage with partners,” he explains. “But it can help plan campaigns and understand targeting on the back end.”