Top 100 Agencies 2014: Artcraft Health
A shiny new office can't by itself lure new clients, nor can it supersize the skills of the individuals who work in it. But according to Artcraft Health executive vice president and general manager Marc Sirockman, it's no surprise that his company's move into a new building coincided with one of its most successful and ambitious years in some time.
“We'd been at the old facility for seven years and, at first, we were so proud. We were bringing in clients, hosting events, all that,” he says. “Then we got bigger and had to take out a wall, and then we had to rent space across the hall, and then we had to go down the hall. It started to affect the way we worked.”
By contrast, the new Artcraft offices in Flemington, NJ, were custom-designed to accommodate the agency's work flow and encourage collaboration. There's a room engineered for market research, a full gym and, in Sirockman's words, “these open-concept desks, which go up and down with the push of a button.” Sounds both vaguely futuristic and pretty cool, no?
“As soon as we got in here, I saw a huge jump in morale,” Sirockman says. “When clients come in, the first thing they say is, ‘We had no idea.' A lot of people maybe didn't know how much we've grown and everything we have to offer.”
Based on the numbers alone—Sirockman reports that there were 12 account wins and a jump in active accounts from 40 to 45—it seems that those people are starting to get the message. During the last 12 months, Artcraft grew its head count by 10 staffers, to 75, and Sirockman predicts a healthy revenue growth spike over 2013.
Just as notable, however, is Artcraft's continued expansion of its offerings. Over the past few years, the firm has smartly and steadily pushed beyond its traditional strength in education. The expansion was spurred, at least in part, by an S.O.S. from one of its clients, Pfizer.
"They had a need and asked us to brainstorm a few strategies,” Sirockman recalls. “We approached it the same way we approached the unbranded education programs we'd been doing, and it worked out really well.” Thus was born Artcraft's clinical trial division.
More recently, Artcraft has planted a stake in both devices and health/wellness, though Sirockman admits to some frustration with the pace of growth. In devices, potential clients experienced a few regulatory-related headaches. In health/wellness, on the other hand, budgets proved the larger concern.
“There's an amazing amount of need for patient and disease-state education—but with the Affordable Care Act, it's not clear who's going to be paying for it,” he explains. “Looking back, maybe I would not have jumped in as aggressively as I did. I was pretty gung-ho.” Sirockman stresses that he still sees huge potential in the category: “Nobody has the budget now, but by the end of this year it might be a different case. I expect companies will start allocating funds to do this in 2015.”
That said, Artcraft finds itself in the enviable position of being able to offer clients a unique mix of services. Few agencies of its size have nurses, PhDs and certified medical illustrators on staff, and fewer still can handle assignments as diverse as clinical-trial support and coordinating specialty camps for a range of disease states (hemophilia, oncology and diabetes, among others).
“We've broadened our base. If we lose one opportunity, we're not crippled,” Sirockman says. “We're ready for success.”