The Top 60: Flashpoint Medica

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Three-year-old Flashpoint Medica (part of Omnicom Diversified Agency Services) had a fantastic year. Managing partner Charlene Prounis reports 2007 revenue was up about 65%, and the agency took over another floor to handle the doubling of employees. “It was a great year,” she says. “We're growing well and doing innovative programming.”

Key clients include Genentech, UCB Pharma, Enzon, Indevus Pharmaceuticals, Noven, Forest and Integra. Wins came in last year from Johnson & Johnson/Cordis (Cypher Stent), Enzon (DepoCyt) and Pfizer (project work). Genentech business grew with the addition of Herceptin (consumer) and Avastin (managed care AOR work).

Organic growth is important to Prounis, and she says it was last year's greatest achievement. “We keep growing organically, and word is spreading,” she adds. “When you can grow with a client like Genentech, it's great.”

Sales materials represented the bulk of business (65%). Professional ads (25%) and medical education (10%) accounted for the rest. Interactive continues to grow, and the agency added new division Flashlight Interactive last year. Prounis notes that the agency is doing “a lot more” online programs. She calls a sales training module created for Genentech, which includes a movie and an interactive game, “sales training taken to a bit of an entertainment level.”

Finding talent was a challenge last year. Prounis notes that the uncertain regulatory environment has made budgeting and staffing analysis more difficult. The agency uses a recruiter, and Prounis herself takes a proactive approach to recruiting. She believes in networking and keeping “a long and thick file of resumes.”

Hires in 2007 included Steve Frederick, EVP, creative director; Kristen Goelz, VP, director of interactive services; and Melissa Watson, VP, group account supervisor.

Prounis sees promotional marketing to thought leaders as a growing trend. “There's a shift toward specialty and oncology business being where opportunities lie,” she notes. “[They're] driven by high science and more data. Marketing to thought leaders becomes important. Provide messaging to thought leaders who can adapt it, and as they reach physicians they'll be touched by messages. Genentech has given us kudos for this.” 

The agency expanded DTP offerings and is doing more psychographic research and doctor-patient research. “We've solidified offerings for doctor/patient encounters as part of DTP,” Prounis says.
Prounis expects to see an increase in managed care, especially in biologics. “Managed care is putting more onus on the patient to pay higher co-pays,” she says. “Consumers are more involved in what brand to be on because it's more expensive. There is some consolidation in managed care. They have more power to ratchet down prices or to have doctors be more diligent the drugs they chose. The value proposition for brands is coming under fire. There's a need for more economic justification and more onus on physicians to document effective outcomes to stay on drugs. Agencies need to understand what managed care is looking for, then message it adequately.” 

Flashlight Interactive will expand, and there will be a focus on increased DTP business.
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