Triple Threat Communications | 2017

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Triple Threw

Performance

Grew revenue to $13.7 million, up from $12.5 million

Plans

“We will aggressively pursue and adopt ways to optimize our customers' experience”
— Tim Frank

Prediction

“An increased focus on and adoption of true brand-building efforts aimed at HCPs and led by specialty pharma and orphan brands”
— Tim Frank

If you ask Triple Threat Communications owner and managing partner Tim Frank about his agency's biggest achievement in 2016, he won't tell you about an account win, a pitch it nailed, or the latest digital hire. But that's not because he doesn't have any good news to share. Rather, it's because Triple Threat measures achievement differently than other firms, he explains.

“I will never answer a question like that with ‘our biggest achievement was bringing in this brand or that brand into the agency,'” Frank adds.

“Our biggest achievement is that we continue to be deliberate about what we want to do, which is focusing on brands. Clients wake up every day focused on their brands. Shouldn't they want their agency partners to do the same?”

"You have the growth of digital, but there are fewer [sales] reps and more doctors that won't see them, You have to make the message compelling." - Tim Frank, owner and managing partner

While this mantra might sound like another agency-world cliché, Frank believes it's just good business.

"We try to bring value to the brands first and purposefully weave the revenue metrics and success of the agency in the background,” he continues. “The agency is a business that needs to be profitable, but that's not at the forefront of the mind of anyone here, myself included.”

When asked how Triple Threat puts this thinking into practice, Frank notes it doesn't attempt to sell clients on the latest gizmo. “Google Glass was a big deal three years ago. But it had no use within the pharma or promotional worlds,” he explains.

Frank also points to social media as an area where many firms continue to play follow the leader. “A few years ago, everyone wanted a Facebook page. We could have gone there and pushed social for every client and generated revenue, but that's not what's best for the brand or the firm,” he stresses.

That philosophy helped the agency score two new account wins during 2016 and nudge revenue to $13.7 million. Sixty percent of that growth came from existing clients, the remainder from new business. AstraZeneca remains a Triple Threat mainstay, but Frank declines to reveal other client assignments. Staff size grew to 34.

He does acknowledge that Triple Threat stared down a challenge in the form of declining client budgets. The company's reliance on what he calls “the modern agency model,” however, has helped it sustain relationships with more cost-conscious clients. “You bring in the right people for whatever amount of time you need them for, whether it's two months or two years,” Frank says.

Bob Hogan, the firm's head of client services, adds the new model is becoming a necessity, given that client brands now have fewer “marketing levers for brand teams to use.”

“You have the growth of digital, but there are fewer [sales] reps and more doctors that won't see them,” he adds. “You have to make the message compelling.”

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