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Five Minutes With… Ramarketing CEO Emma Banks

We talk to Emma Banks of ramarketing fame about working in the city and her role as CEO

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Emma Banks, CEO of ramarketing

Since its founding in 2009, Newcastle-based life sciences marketing agency ramarketing has gone from strength-to-strength, expanding its team to over 80 people and opening new offices in North America.

Now five years into her role as CEO of ramarketing, we caught up with Emma Banks to find out more about the company, what she loves about working in Newcastle and her recent inclusion in The Independent's prestigious E2E Female 100 list which celebrates female-led businesses.

Can you tell us a bit more about ramarketing and what the company specialises in?

We’re a full-service integrated marketing agency working solely to support global companies in the supply chain of the pharmaceutical and biotech sector. In simple terms, we’re a B2B commercial agency that helps life sciences businesses to grow. We’re about 80 people now, private equity backed by NorthEdge with our HQ in Newcastle and offices in Boston and Toronto.

How long have you worked with ramarketing and what do you love most about your role there?

I’ve been here for just over 5 years - the time has flown by. Joining an agency was not in the plan! Before ramarketing, I was running a small data and software business in the clinical data arena, so the jump was potentially risky but I haven’t once looked back. I may not have joined an agency in any other sector though.

There are so many things I love - the life sciences sector, the creative soul of the business, being in the North East (more on that later!) but it is the amazing people we have in the business and the super clients and partners we get to work with that I love. As an agency, we wouldn’t be where we are today without any of them. It’s something we can always do more to celebrate.

How would you describe your leadership style?

This question always makes me chuckle. When I first met the team at ramarketing before I started, I was introduced to someone who wasn’t in the office that day via FaceTime - her first question after hello was this same question. I was put on the spot then and now!

Leadership is a work in progress and I’m sure I would have been clearer about my “style" when I was earlier in my career. Now though, I take the view that everyone wants to be at ramarketing and wants to do the best they can - from there, it’s about being open, treating people the way they want to be treated, finding opportunities for others to thrive, and most importantly, being who I am in as much multicolour as possible.

Emma Banks with ramarketing founder Raman Sehgal Emma Banks with ramarketing founder Raman Sehgal

Congratulations on being included in the E2E Female 100 lisr. How does it feel to be recognised nationally for your work?

It was unexpected but it’s always lovely to be recognised. However, it also recognises the business as a whole and the wonderful people who work for and with us.

Being recognized in this year’s track feels like a celebratory moment. I am honoured to be included amongst such esteemed female leaders. As a female CEO, I pride myself on being a fair, authentic, and distinctively different leader. Having enjoyed a successful professional career, I have scaled businesses through change, navigated organizations through difficult times, and mentored and coached young people who are now key leaders within their professions. I have plenty more career challenges ahead and I look forward to continuing to work with and inspire future female leaders.

Have you faced any particular challenges as a female CEO?

Not really, although when we went through the private equity cycle before we partnered with NorthEdge, there is and probably always will be a tiny part of me that worries about how I may be perceived (may not just be my gender). We all have unconscious bias and that’s something that still exists in our world despite the efforts to create space for all types of people to rise up. 

The sector we operate in is still quite heavily male but not so much in marketing and things are changing. We might want it to happen more quickly but it is changing which we must celebrate and encourage.

Emma Banks (middle) with fellow ramarketing team members Cat Hunter (left) and Olivia Addinall (right) at DCAT Week in New York Emma Banks (middle) with fellow ramarketing team members Cat Hunter (left) and Olivia Addinall (right) at DCAT Week in New York

Ramarketing prides itself on supporting its team. How do you go about creating and maintaining a supportive culture?

I am immensely proud of our approach to the people in our business - that’s not to say we’re perfect but a core element of our values is that we really care. Stuff happens in people’s lives that impacts work; their health, their family's health, relationships - the list is full and as we spend so much of our time at work, we can’t ever ignore the impact of those things.

Our approach is to do the right thing and although that sounds great as a set of words, what it means is acknowledging that stuff happens, that we play a part in someone’s life, and that we can also create space for them when life becomes more challenging.

The other side I suppose is that we have a totally flexible approach. We operate as a hybrid business with team members being in an office when they want to be (or when there’s a meeting or another reason for them to be there) and a large number of remote team members but the key to all of this is the phrase “work from anywhere, at any time without missing a deadline or a commitment”. It doesn’t always work because agency life can be busy but we have clients all over the world so the aim is to give the team control over when they work to suit them and the clients.

Have you found certain aspects of ramarketing's rapid growth challenging? If so, how do you address those challenges?

Growth is always challenging, and cultures across geographies vary despite a shared language. Culture isn’t fixed - it changes daily, weekly, geographically, and between teams but what remains the same are the values we consider key. And having those values underpinning all the offices helps. Growing quickly is painful - you learn while you’re doing it to some degree and we’ve had to work very hard to make growth something the whole business can embrace, not always successfully though.

You’re a big advocate for the North East. What do you love about living and working here and what makes Newcastle a good place for a company like ramarketing to be headquartered?

I moved to the North East 20 years ago with my three boys and husband as it was a real draw for my husband to return to his roots (I married into the region!). And I don’t think I will ever leave - it's vibrant, industrial, great food, great arts scene (I sing in a lovely choir called Voices of Hope based here in Newcastle), the football, and the people. We have the beaches and the hills, castles, lots of history - a long list. We also have incredible universities (super for talent) and a vibrant life sciences ecosystem. 

The business community is open and welcoming - it’s what you’d expect from the North East. Being here as a business has given us opportunities we may not have had further south and we’ve expanded internationally and found a great northern-based private equity partner in NorthEdge.

Emma Banks with ramarketing founder Raman Sehgal Emma Banks with ramarketing founder Raman Sehgal

Can you tell me more about your work with Bionow and how it aims to support the wider bioscience industry in the North East?

Bionow is a super life sciences networking organisation I’ve been involved with for many years as a member and then latterly as a non-exec director. The North as a region is huge and what they have done so well is bring life sciences businesses together from across the big Northern geography to support, celebrate and educate  - the team there is so passionate about the sector and about supporting people from the start to the end of their careers. 

Even though I have stepped out of the day-to-day clinical data world into marketing, I remain very committed to the industry I’ve been a part of for so long.

Finally, we hear that you’re a big fan of cake (who isn’t?!). Where is your go-to place for a slice in Newcastle city centre after a hard day’s work?

This is the hardest question on the list! Newcastle is a great city for food and cake and we have a lovely coffee/food place right next to our office called Tiny Tiny, but if I have to choose one place, it’s Olive & Bean. Say no more.

The Newcastle branch of ramarketing is located at 5 Carliol Square. To find out more about the company visit

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