100 Agencies: DevicePharm

Clay Wilemon (CEO, Chief Strategy Officer), Jon Hermie (President)
Clay Wilemon (CEO, Chief Strategy Officer), Jon Hermie (President)

DevicePharm CEO Clay Wilemon says the Irvine, CA, D&D shop has found success in “the importance of positioning, and core marketing work,” even while much of the agency world strives to find niche areas of marketing to tap into. “Most of our clients enter through that door, they're launching a product, company, and what they need is core marketing support around their brand development,” he adds. “At our foundation, we are a strong, strategic marketing partner.”

DevicePharm prides itself on negotiating change in the marketing sector with a careful eye, and not jumping ship too soon. “The big challenge is evaluating those emerging opportunities and challenges and selecting those that can offer the best return for our clients. With things changing so quickly in the digital space, the key is not to always jump on the next communication channel, but to ensure you're going to get a return,” said President Jon Hermie.


The agency has been making strong headway into the device space, “We provide digital services for nearly all of our clients now,” asserts Wilemon. “The efficiency of digital selling platforms—particularly with iPads and their adaptability to ­capture customer management information and take advantage of new data—really lends itself to a broad digital application with our clients.” As an example, Hermie notes, “We worked with Baxter Biosurgery to aggressively implement digital marketing. We've significantly grown their web presence for medical education and brand promotion.”

DevicePharm sees their bread and butter mostly in the medical device and technology space. The agency is particularly diverse in its client base, working with big names like Abbott and Baxter, as well as more mid-size firms like Endologix and Tenex Health. “We run the gamut from early-stage to very large companies,” explains Hermie, “With early-stage companies, you have the opportunity to drive physician behavior very early on. You're dealing with unique products, and this gives us the ability to understand their technology and market to their audience with limited resources.”

The strategies required to operate with smaller brands has proven helpful to the agency, while the applications DevicePharm works on for larger firms have shown promise with early-stage products. Hermie continues, “Having the larger client experience allows us to make tools and programs that we can then bring to our emerging technology clients on a scale that's manageable for them.”

The agency is rebounding after a flat 2011. “We had six successive years of growth from 2005 to 2010,” says Wilemon. “2011 was a relatively flat year for us, with a lot of venture capital investment retreating from medical technology. We're excited about the growth again in our business in the medical device/tech industry. We're seeing more investment returning, and mergers and acquisitions accelerating—all of which is speeding up the flow of new product launches. I'm encouraged by that; there's a natural market need we can satisfy.”