Sentrix Health MD June Carnegie sounds almost a little wistful when she talks about the state of pharma marketing. “It's so much more than it used to be,” she says, noting how individual physicians are no longer the primary end audience for its work. “It's the organized customers, like hospital groups and medical centers. There are very few ‘single shingle' physicians anymore, so we're speaking to these groups and understanding how they make decisions. We can't continue as if each doctor has his or her own decision- making process.”
Sentrix has long since pivoted to account for industrywide shifts. The most recent move to that end was last year's incorporation of fellow WPP-owned shop CMD (Current Medical Directions), now known as Sentrix Med Comms. The move means that Sentrix now has both medical education and professional promotion capabilities under its roof.
“Prior to the deal we would partner with other WPP med-ed groups,” Carnegie explains. “We'd bring them to the table, but we didn't have the brand navigation we have now. It's a more fluid way of working.”
A number of new hires during the past year similarly helped Sentrix focus on its revamped approach. They include EVP of managed markets John Draper and EVP and client services director Jim Hammond, both of whom arrived from WPP sister agencies. About 20 other employees were added to the firm in 2015, largely in the wake of Sentrix's biggest win of the year: Dynavax, which has charged the agency with a range of payer, medical-communications, and promotional assignments.
“We've fallen in with smaller companies commercializing their first product or otherwise needing everything,” Carnegie says. “The efficiency of one account manager handling everything means a deeper, richer sell.”
Sentrix has set as a goal creating stronger stories that permeate the entirety of a brand's work. In addition to offering a broad array of services and focusing on managed markets, Sentrix also expanded its ability to offer multichannel support.
Recent work along those lines included a deliverable for Otsuka that assists physicians and patients with pre-authorization. “It's one thing to get a doctor to prescribe,” Carnegie continues. “It's another to get a brand actually used by patients.”
Sentrix enjoyed a fine year on the financial front, increasing revenue 7.5% to $16 million. “We concentrated on how we could work more efficiently and be better partners,” Carnegie says. “It goes all the way down to how we organize ourselves. We make a process that works for the client.” Product teams are organized into “tribes,” with the leadership team's tribe overseeing the others.
In looking back on the year's successes, it's the smaller wins that make Carnegie smile. “The thing I'm most proud of is that three people left for less than six months — and then came back,” she says. “Thrice I heard: ‘Can I come home?'”