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From Pharma Marketers to CX Leaders: Scaling Ad Agencies in Times of Adversity

Marketing & CX Staffing Case Study | Healthcare Advertising Industry

marketing team working during covid pandemic


Onward Search helped a global advertising agency hire 70+ healthcare communications experts, scale the first CX division of its kind, and meet new needs during a worldwide pandemic.

The Challenge

Building specialized teams in strange times.

With a portfolio of 10+ brands spanning across 100+ countries, our client is one of the world’s most well-known advertising agencies, and its healthcare communications division is among its largest. However, the global pandemic caused a rise in demand that even the division’s 6,000+ experts could not meet alone.

The world health crisis came at a unique time for the organization. With the help of our dedicated recruiters and vetted talent, the company had just brought the first Customer Experience (CX) division of its kind to the US. Suddenly—hospitals, public health agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and more turned to our client for support with a newfound focus on digital experiences. Known for creative and innovative work, our client set out to meet their clients’ increased needs and raise the bar for the industry.

To succeed, the enterprise didn’t just need CX experts; it needed CX experts who specialize in healthcare—a sector that only a select few knew at the time. In addition, our client’s brands called for healthcare copywriters, designers, and talent of all types. Every role was different, but the work was always nuanced, and agency experience was often as critical as industry expertise.

The Solution

Partnering, pipelining, and pioneering.

We recruited our client’s first Director of CX, and there was no guesswork in our success. Over a series of extensive strategy sessions with the agency’s hiring managers, we became experts in the their distinct goals, recurring roles, and shifting market. We quickly learned that the company was looking to scale its CX division and flex teams across agencies to meet changing needs.

To find the right talent, we had to understand agency standards, vet for healthcare expertise, and ensure our candidates closely met complex job requirements. We selected a team member with an extensive creative agency background to lead the search. Leveraging our vast talent network, referral incentives, and specialized recruitment experience—we helped our client hire 70+ experts at all levels. As a result, we became the CX division’s exclusive talent partner.

Over time, we pipelined an expansive bench of healthcare experts who met the agency’s unique needs. Knowing what set the company apart, we helped attract top talent by showcasing our client’s brand name, creative capabilities, and appetite for innovation. The agency went on to commend our constant communication, close collaboration, and extreme dedication. From award-winning creative to delightful digital experiences, our client and talent continue to disrupt the healthcare industry.

Onward Search's professionalism and determination goes above and beyond. They always put your best interests first, instead of just trying to plug candidates in anywhere in order to fill a role. I can’t sufficiently express how extremely grateful I am.

Content Strategist, Healthcare Advertising Agency

Recruited by Onward Search

By The Numbers

Relevant achievements and statistics to date:

Named CX Division's #1 Talent Partner

70 Hired

Recruited 70 hard-to-find hires for our client

50% Extended

Earned extensions, call backs, or conversions for over 50% of hires

2K+ Submitted

Submitted 2K+ quality candidates to our client

100K in Network

Built a network of nearly 100K professionals with healthcare industry experience

By The Experts

Examples of roles we filled for our healthcare advertising agency client:

Account Executives & Supervisors


Art Directors

Content Strategists

Copywriters, Editors & Supervisors

Creative Directors

CX Strategists

Experience Design Directors

Experience Designers

Information Architect Analysts

Presentation Designers

Project Managers

Social Media Strategists

Vice Presidents

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