When terms like “fake news” and “alternative facts” start to fill our day-to-day lexicon, honesty and transparency can seem like rare commodities. If you happen to find a person, or group of people, that embody a “tells it like it is” philosophy, then do what Erik Clausen, managing partner at CG Life, has done and hang on to them for dear life.
“This agency’s for real, the values that [the founders] throw out there is who they are, good, bad, or ugly,” states Erik, matter-of-factly. This radically honest style is one of the core things that attracted him to CG Life, a life science marketing agency, luring him away from his old agency, an international PR-firm. Erik happily reports that the CG Life philosophy of honesty and transparency that attracted him to the agency nearly eight years ago is still alive and well. “Most people tell you what they think you want to hear; we don’t do that. We tell ourselves, we tell our clients, we tell the world what we think and what we believe to be true.”
**First Encounters ** Erik first encountered CG Life (formerly, Chempetitive Group) while working at his previous agency. During that meeting, Erik was struck by the agency’s founders and their values. “I realized that I shared a lot of views professionally and personally with the leadership of the agency, and that really gave me pause.”
Since joining CG Life, Erik has not only helped the agency continue to live up to the ideals that the founders espouse, but also expand from their home office in Chicago to additional offices in San Diego and Boston, and has helped the agency grow and integrate in novel ways.
Zen And The Art of An Integrated Marketing Campaign In addition to new offices, CG Life has expanded their client base and expertise within the life sciences area. The growth has been built, and is still being built, on a genuine interest in having real relationships with people. “I don’t care if you make widgets, provide marketing PR services, or sell fleets of vehicles; whatever it is, at the end of the day, things get done because of a relationship between two people,” says Erik, who attributes the growth of the agency to a genuine belief in this approach, another of the agency’s core philosophies.
“Honestly, it’s sort of a Zen thing,” Erik admits. “If you pursue business too much, it gets farther away from you. If you just try to be a real human being, relate to people, and do good by them, that flows back to you in terms of business.”
This refreshing approach has helped CG Life to expand their client base from clients in chemistry to clients in the healthcare area, including pharmaceutical, contract services and research, medical technology, and medical device companies. One example, that Erik remembers as being a big step for the agency into this space, was launching a GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)-sponsored program named Discovery Fast-Track. The program helps to facilitate partnerships between academic scientists and GSK to quickly evaluate compounds that could turn into drug development leads.
Through a combination of marketing communications, PR, and creative support, CG Life launched an integrated marketing campaign and promoted Discovery Fast-Track nearly six years ago. The program still goes on today. “It really is a great example of integrated work between the agency and a large pharma company with a very specific purpose,” says Erik enthusiastically. “It’s been a lot of fun helping them [GSK] relate and connect with scientists and researchers.”
Marketing Agency Growth and Growing Pains
The realization that life science companies can reach customers through blogs and other online content made expanding into content development and digital marketing a “need to have” for CG Life. “It seems like overnight, our team was being asked to write 3,000 word articles, white papers, and really in-depth, heavy-duty content on a number of topics,” Erik recalls with a shudder. “It really bogged us down and presented a major challenge.”
To adapt to this changing environment, CG Life developed their own dedicated content team, initially with one writer, who could float across different accounts, addressing specific needs to free up the PR team. Content needs continued to grow, which necessitated having a standalone content team. Erik believes that this provided the agency with a great deal of flexibility to “ebb and flow with our clients needs when we have really deep, rich content projects.”
The addition of the content team and its integration with PR, creative, and the other digital marketing teams at CG Life presented additional challenges related to marketing agency growth. “We always had a joke internally, that life would be really easy if we were just a PR firm or if we were just an advertising agency,” chuckles Erik. “Life would be so much simpler.”
Erik’s view on how the agency has overcome these challenges in digital marketing and the challenges in integrating the different capabilities of CG Life comes down to the people who work at CG Life. “We want people who are not only focused on fulfilling their own obligations, but also empowering the other teams, even if it doesn’t benefit them directly,” says Erik. While this may sound like your traditional “team player” mumbo jumbo, Erik insists that this is obligatory for true integration. “We have a bunch of specialist teams focused on their contribution and integrating them means you need to make sure that they feel and act on an obligation to work with those other teams.”
Striving for true integration is both lofty and difficult, but Erik is dedicated to this ideal, as well as the other philosophies that CG Life embodies. “It would be really easy to just run one team,” Erik slyly reiterates about the challenges of integration, “but what fun is that?”
To talk with Erik or any of the CG Life team, just contact us.