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  • Writer's pictureSAKS Media Team

Steps to Surround Your Customers with Sweet Sounds


John Wanamaker, the department store magnate, is credited with saying, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Marketing and promotion are significantly more sophisticated since Mr. Wanamaker opened “Oak Hall” – his first store, at Sixth and Market Streets in Philadelphia in 1861 – particularly in the heavily regulated healthcare and pharmaceutical arenas. However, his instinct that advertising should be more precise wasn’t just that, but a vision of our reality.

At SAKS Media, our team is driven to help our clients both effectively and efficiently promote their products and services to targeted (often “hyper-targeted”) audiences. Our experience across therapeutic areas ranges from highly competitive to rare categories, and has led us to adopt a surround sound approach to media planning and execution for our client partners. Our media activation efforts have allowed us to identify synergies across channels that optimize clients’ investments in promotional campaigns and lead to a better understanding of what can be gained from those investments.

Here are 3 steps that we follow, and you might consider, as you look to surround your customers with the sweet sounds of what is typically painstakingly-crafted messaging.

  • Plan. Another famous Philadelphian, Benjamin Franklin, once said that, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” It almost goes without saying that a media campaign should be executed only against a carefully thought out plan. We leverage both our strong strategic thinking and our broad experience to establish media plans designed to activate the brand’s objectives and ensure multiple appropriate touch points across target audiences.

  • Execute. Once we’ve planned the work, it’s time to work the plan. Based on the objectives we’ve defined through collaborating closely with our clients (e.g., raising awareness, driving engagement, etc.), and how those might evolve over time, we select the appropriate channels to ensure exposure to and engagement with selected audiences. Print and digital display (both endemic and non-endemic) may form the backbone of an effort to raise awareness of a product at initial or new indication launch. Sponsorships of educational “custom content” programs as well as conference activities can help engage targeted HCP audiences with relevant content. Paid social is increasingly effective at driving awareness among patients and caregivers. And a strong paid search campaign is typically a must-have approach to driving traffic among “hand-raising” HCPs, patients, and other target audiences.

  • Measure, Analyze, & Optimize. Not all channels are created equally regarding measurement and actionable metrics, but to the extent possible it is important to measure the directional and operational results of each component of your media plan and carefully analyze the results. We partner closely with our clients to think hard about the outcomes data, develop hypotheses to explain what we’re seeing, and perform experiments to test those hypotheses – all in the spirit of optimizing the effectiveness of the campaign. And of course, we work with analytics stakeholders to match performance to patient, sales, and other relevant data points.

When done correctly, this surround sound approach to planning and executing strong media efforts on behalf of our clients is hard work, but entirely worth the effort. Through surround sound we leverage our culture of collaboration, modern marketing practices, innovation, and enduring relationships to help clients achieve their business objectives and deliver collectively on our purpose of Better Healthcare Tomorrow™. And then we take a deep breath, because as John Wanamaker also said, “People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness.” Sage words from an insightful leader.


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