Career Progression in Pharma and the Life Sciences

How to Progress your Career in a Healthcare Advertising Agency

What is Healthcare Advertising?

Advertising is a form of communication that seeks to promote a product, service or brand. An advertising agency is responsible for the planning, development and management of advertising and promotional materials for clients. Working as an extension of their client, an advertising agency provides external insights to develop advertising content that best promotes their client’s products.

Although many advertising agencies work across multiple industries, some agencies will focus solely on a niche sector. For example, pharmaceutical and healthcare. For advertising agencies that work in niche sectors team members are required to have expert knowledge and experience within their field. This ensures that all advertising materials developed successfully communicate the value of their client’s product, service or brand to the target audience.

Typical Healthcare Advertising roles 

Within a Healthcare Advertising agency, job roles are traditionally categorised into three separate departments: editorial, creative and client services.

Editorial/ Creative
The editorial/creative teams are the life and blood of an advertising agency. Essentially, the editorial side is responsible for all content creation and the creative teams for all visual design; turning concepts into something tangible.

Client Services
The client services teams are responsible for managing and maintaining client accounts, building client relationships and ensuring successful project delivery.

Healthcare Advertising agencies generally provide all traditional advertising services. The key difference is the area of specialisation the agency focuses on. Traditional job roles within a Healthcare Advertising agency are:

  • Brand Development
  • Strategic Planning
  • Integrated Campaigns
  • Direct Marketing
  • Advertising (Press, TV, Radio)
  • Multimedia
  • Web Media
  • Sales Promotion
  • Education Material
  • Shows and Exhibitions
  • Sales Force Support
  • Meetings
How can you progress your career in Healthcare Advertising?

To have a successful career within the Healthcare Advertising sector, candidates will need to convey creativity, ambition and have a strategic approach to their work ethic. However, additional elements are required to progress your career as quickly as possible:

  1. Avoid becoming too niche
    Like Medical Communications, it is advised that you gather a broad skill set early on in your career. This will lead to greater job opportunities in the future and help you gain a better understanding of which career path you want to follow.

  2. Make the most of opportunities
    The Healthcare Advertising sector is very competitive. As a result, if opportunities arise candidates need to take full advantage of them.

  3. Develop a good reputation within the industry 
    As reputation is key within this industry, it is important to ensure yours is favourable. In addition, assembling a large network of industry professionals can help you later in your career and provide new opportunities for you – who you know can really help!

  4. Be ambitious, open-minded and willing to learn
    Demonstrating these characteristics is always positively received by senior team members. In addition, it shows your manager that you are serious about your career, which in turn will open the door to new opportunities in the future.
What are the obstacles to a career in Healthcare Advertising?

There are several barriers you may need to overcome to enter the industry: 

  1. To work within this industry, it’s not a prerequisite to have a Life Sciences Degree but it is advantageous. A necessity, however, is for candidates to be able to provide a level of knowledge and understanding of the industry.

  2. The Healthcare Advertising sector is relatively small. As a result, there aren't as many career opportunities available to begin with, compared to other advertising avenues. Therefore, candidates looking to progress their career may have to prove themselves more in order to do so.

  3. Certain Healthcare Advertising agencies are quite specific in which candidates they select. As a result, without prior industry knowledge and experience, candidates will find it difficult to convince these agencies that they are the right fit for the role.
Can you transition into the Healthcare Advertising industry without previous experience in the sector? 

Theoretically, you can transition into the Healthcare Advertising industry without prior experience. However, an inexperienced candidate will find this transition difficult. The language and terminology required to effectively communicate the value of the product, brand or service can be highly technical and, as a result, it is expected that candidates will have the ability to develop compelling advertising materials that connect with their target audience.

Typical Healthcare Advertising career progression options

A career in Healthcare Advertising is a very rewarding one. Typical career progression opportunities within a Healthcare Advertising agency could look like:

Editorial

  1. Junior Copy Writer
  2. Copy Writer
  3. Senior Copy Writer
  4. Copy Team Lead/ Head of Copy

Creative

  1. Artworker/ Graphic Designer
  2. Art Director                       
  3. Senior Art Director / Head of Art          
  4. Creative Director               

Client Services

  1. Account Executive
  2. Account Manager
  3. Account Director
  4. Group / Senior Account Director
  5. Client Services Director
Conclusion

The Healthcare Advertising space is fast-paced and requires a high level of ambition, creativity, and commitment from candidates. However, a career within this sector is also varied and offers candidates the opportunity to work within a dynamic and creative environment – and many thrive within these agencies.

Looking to progress your career in Healthcare Advertising?

If you would like an informal chat to discuss your career progression opportunities, our specialist recruitment consultant, Alice Smith, will be happy to help. She can be contacted on:

+44 (0)1625 361 078 / alice.smith@carrotpharma.co.uk