Thad L. Bench, Sr.
From Barn to Full-Service Agency
For a resourceful entrepreneur like Thad Bench, the ever-changing healthcare industry provided a fertile landscape for his innovative vision. “Thad founded Benchworks in a barn on his Maryland farm, with eight employees creating promotional products for a few clients,” says Emil Andrusko, RPh, Benchworks’ SVP for Pharmaceutical Strategy. “In that unconventional business landscape—surrounded by open space and flowing tides—Thad expanded Benchworks into a full-service marketing and advertising agency.”
Not willing to accept the status quo, Thad constantly finds new ways to add value. When clients needed marketing materials to accompany their promotional merchandise, Thad led Benchworks to deliver products such as sales rep motivational mailers and HCP flashcards. When the 2009 PhRMA Code of Conduct caused pharmaceutical companies to end the practice of branded reminder promotional products like pens and pads—Benchmarks’ bread and butter—Thad was able to adapt while many competitors were forced to fold.
More recently, mature pharmaceutical brands faced shrinking marketing budgets plus increasing revenue targets. This disparity prompted another industry change: Decoupling, a model that helped brand teams stretch marketing dollars across multiple partner agencies rather than centralized on one AOR.
Decoupling allowed Benchworks to offer substantial savings to marketers by creating ancillary pieces that follow the AOR-designed campaign. Even before decoupling had a name, Thad’s willingness to change positioned Benchworks as a value-driven marketing partner, often delivering quality services at 20% to 30% savings within an atmosphere of old-fashioned graciousness.
Once again anticipating the industry’s changing needs, Thad acquired SafeChain Solutions in 2014 to broaden Benchmarks’ capabilities, supporting Rx sample programs and patient starter kits. Additionally, Benchworks’ teams are exploring yet another frontier—consulting with emerging biopharmaceutical companies to help realize their full commercial potential.
“It was in large part because of Thad that I decided to join Benchworks in 2014,” Andrusko adds. “As a 30-year ‘veteran’ of the industry, I found his vision for how the agency can serve as a real partner to healthcare companies to be dynamic, innovative, and compelling. In the past two years, I witnessed as Benchworks has experienced double-digit growth, opened new offices, and expanded its strategic capabilities.”