Merkle launches healthcare practice

Share this article:
Database marketing agency Merkle has launched a healthcare practice, led by former GlaxoSmithKline director of integrated marketing Jeff Wiltrout.

The decision to formalize its healthcare practice, after several years of servicing various clients in the space, results from an increased focus on relationship marketing, according to Wiltrout. Managing relationships with consumers—or patients— requires a technology-enabled and intelligence-based strategy, something pharma has been slow to implement out of the gate. 

“Companies like Geico, Direct TV and Dell rely heavily on data-driven, direct customer relationships—they turned to that several years ago,” said Wiltrout. Pharma has made inroads in these areas, especially in compliance and persistency, but “they haven't completely embraced it yet,” he said. Pharma needs to move from being brand-centric to customer-centric, from a strategic perspective, said Wiltrout. Companies have to start using data to drive analytics, in order to more efficiently “find out who the customers are, and what kinds of services they need,” he said. 

Merkle's healthcare practice will pool resources from many aspects of the company, which is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland. Merkle also has offices in Denver, Seattle, Boston, Chicago and elsewhere. According to Wiltrout, a large client engagement would probably get 12 to 15 dedicated account people assigned to the work. Capabilities include media mix optimization, ROI measurement, direct marketing, interactive and others, spanning professional and consumer marketing. 

According to a company spokesperson, Merkle's business is roughly 60% strategy, analytics and technology, with 40% of its resources devoted to more traditional agency services. Merkle's clients include GSK and Sanofi-Aventis, among other pharma and healthcare-related accounts, according to a company statement. 
Share this article:
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.

Email Newsletters

MM&M EBOOK: PATIENT ACCESS

Patient access to pharmaceuticals is a tale of two worlds—affordability has improved for the majority, while the minority is hampered by cost, distribution and red tape. To provide marketers with a well-rounded perspective, MM&M presents this e-book chock full of key insights. Click here to access it.

More in Features

Is your marketing strategy stuck in 2005?

Is your marketing strategy stuck in 2005?

It is not enough to just have a killer black book or Rolodex. The market needs agile, swift marketing

Is guidance stifling social media?

Recent FDA draft guidance was meant to help companies create FDA-compliant tweets and handle third-party misinformation on the web. What other obstacles lie in the path of effective social media use?

FDA social media guides draw flak

FDA social media guides draw flak

Two FDA guidance documents on how health product manufacturers may participate in social media have drawn criticism from industry and consumer groups.