Top 100 Agencies 2015: DevicePharm

A new office sparks creative growth for this Southern California agency

DevicePharm's brochure cover for Duette progressive contact lenses' Synergeyes corporate and product portfolio campaign
DevicePharm's brochure cover for Duette progressive contact lenses' Synergeyes corporate and product portfolio campaign

With the successful opening of its new branch office in Minneapolis last year, D&D shop DevicePharm now maintains a physical presence in two of the country's hottest geographical regions in healthcare: the dynamic, early-stage, venture capital–fueled environment of its home town of Irvine, CA, plus that of the many established, multinational, ­industry-leading device manufacturers that make their home in the Twin Cities area. 

“We've got a very interesting, investor-backed, entrepreneurial market here in Southern California,” notes Clay Wilemon, CEO of DevicePharm, “whereas in Minnesota you get a lot of the established industry leaders who are acquiring those very same companies. There are different dynamics in the two markets. But we have been able to serve both those client segments very well.” 

The company was enjoying robust growth already, but the new office helped expand business by nearly 40% in 2014, according to Wilemon. “I would say at this point that [establishing the new location] has been a monumental success.” 

While expansion is always preferable to stagnation, such a big jump in business presents its own unique pressures, part of which is staying ahead of an intense workflow, according to agency president Jon Hermie. “But our team is thriving on the challenge, and because we have a core set of people who have been together for years, we have been able to handle it.”

By relying more heavily on its large network of contract employees, DevicePharm has managed to keep its head count expansion to only two in 2014, making a total of 29 full-time employees. One of those new hires is Brian Famigletti, VP and managing director of the Minneapolis office. Famigletti has a strong background in digital media, brand development and market research. 

One of the DevicePharm's core competencies is helping its roster of blue-chip clients navigate the transition into the digital marketing world. 

“Having a website, having a tablet application, those are just the table stakes,” explains Hermie. “But how to integrate them all into a cohesive selling system and cycle, and also while taking advantage of marketing automation, I think that is really the next horizon—how to bring it all together and really drive value to those sales reps in the field.”

Supporting sales and distributor reps in the field rates as a paramount client concern, agrees Wilemon. “They understand the traditional channel. They've been going to trade shows for 30 years. What they are struggling with is the quickly evolving world of digital platforms.” 

The level of sales coordination that can be achieved with today's technology is higher than many realize, he notes. For instance, a customer's website activity can be monitored and integrated with sales reps while they operate in the field, all of which can then be fed back into a customer relationship management (CRM) computer platform, which in turn may trigger automated marketing messages, based on the psychographic profile of the individual customers.

“Because of digital platform development, you are now able to have a lot more control over your sales channel and your message delivery,” adds Wilemon. “These platforms give our clients the ability to make their brands more consistent across more channels on a global basis.”

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