100 Agencies: closerlook

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David Ormesher, Jon Sawyer
David Ormesher, Jon Sawyer

Chicago-based closerlook had a year marked by  growth and mobile innovation. CEO David Ormesher reports 2011 revenue was up 10% and headcount climbed 10 to 61.

“It was a big year for mobile and we got a lot of traction in expanding our physician-relationship marketing footprint,” Ormesher says.

All accounts were retained, and the agency picked up some impressive wins. Work with existing client Takeda Pharmaceuticals expanded to include AOR designation for professional CRM on four additional brands (for a total of eight brands supported) and management of professional CRM across the enterprise. Working across enterprises like this has required investments in big data analytics and in organizational change management, enhancing the agency's creative and technology capabilities.

“Every one of Takeda's brands is now part of the platform we've built,” Ormesher says. “We're getting data feed for key tactics that every brand is using so we can provide an incredible view into the entire customer base. We've also made investments in organizational change management because the insight we're distilling from this aggregated data has the potential for transforming clients' marketing spend—and really their business as a whole in terms of how product managers are interacting with each other and with all their agencies and how they prioritize messages and channels. It's a lot of fun and it's also stretching us. But the more we get embedded and help guide clients' business, the more strategic the relationships become.”

A new relationship began with Healthpoint Biotherapeutics via a digital AOR assignment for wound-care brand Santyl. Ormesher notes it's a path to two other wound-care brands.

“When we enter a new pharma company, our strategy tends to be to find a good anchor brand and build a digital marketing platform for that, but we build it with the entire enterprise in mind,” he explains.

A number of cool apps were built for both patients and sales reps last year, including an iPad app for Novo Nordisk's reps that was recently featured in a Manhattan Research report of best sales apps of the year. It includes a wealth of content, such as KOL videos and clinical studies, and tracks data about the interaction. It also has a shopping cart feature that lets reps collect and e-mail content to doctors.

Continuing to build unbranded disease awareness apps that help physician/patient relationships was another highlight. Ormesher says these types of apps work particularly well for diseases with episodic symptoms. One example: an app the agency built last year for constipation on behalf of Takeda's Amitiza.

“Ultimately, the shift to mobile is really a shift to smarter marketing,” Ormesher says. “The goal of a lot of what we're doing around physician relationship marketing is to make everyone smarter about marketing spend, tactics and user experience. Mobile is fun and sexy, but as a standalone it will have its day and move on. We'd rather see apps tied to a larger physician relationship marketing program like the ones for Novo and Takeda.”

The biggest challenge of 2011 was integrating new talent. Senior hires included director of strategy Pete Clancy, formerly at GlaxoSmithKline and Takeda, and director of business development Rick Rubenfaer.

Revenue is tracking up this year.

“We're focused on helping clients get smarter, focus on their customers, and stay nimble,” Ormesher says.
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