The Top 60: MicroMass Communications

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It is not through mere serendipity that finds MicroMass Communications president Jay Bigelow at the helm of an agency experiencing continued growth.

During a tumultuous past year for the industry, MicroMass' penchant for practical innovation in behavioral science-based marketing has helped bring in new clients the likes of UCB Pharma, Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, LabCorp and Merck.

“The Merck assignment was a couple of years in the making and we are excited by what that brings,” Bigelow says.

Continued agency work on Shire's Fosrenol helped foster fresh ideas about how to engage the marketplace and organic growth came in the form of additional business from existing client Novartis.
As MicroMass' industry reputation grows, so has its physical footprint. The agency expanded its Cary, NC, headquarters by 50% in the past year, Bigelow says.  “We have been adding space all over the place, rethinking the layout so that we can foster even greater collaboration.…But it's not all about piling people on. It's about doing the things we think make sense.”

MicroMass has also bolstered its Pharmaceutical Alley presence, featuring expanded offices in Morristown, NJ. The addition of a dedicated video conference system at the satellite location helps the agency maintain seamless contact between New Jersey, North Carolina and its clients. Marketplace success has also meant staff expansion for MicroMass. Last May, the agency hired executive creative director Jaime Cobb from GSW Worldwide. In January, MicroMass brought Jeff Burkel, founder of the Agency Management Group, aboard as COO.

To make sure new hires are the right fit, “we use our own behavioral science folks to help uncover the core values of a good successful MicroMass person,” Bigelow explains. “We have translated that into interview questions and are figuring out, from a behavioral science standpoint, how to further attract good, quality people.”

An even bigger challenge than attracting top-notch talent comes in the form of slower FDA approval times for clients' products. “You can't count on the fact that you'll get approval any time close to when you think you may,” Bigelow says. “That dictates a more flexible marketing approach.”

To generate its flexibility, MicroMass continues to seek insights into the motivators and barriers surrounding people's actions.

“It is what gives us an advantage over other firms that practice [relationship marketing] in a more traditional style,” Bigelow adds.

A newly launched agency website serves as another marker of the agency's continued growth.
“I think the reason why we are gaining traction and opportunity in the marketplace is because our brand of [relationship marketing] is more than a just series of tactics. It's really a strategy for how to engage customers, whether it's field sales forces, physicians or allied healthcare professionals. It's about engaging those consumers at multiple touch points.”

As MicroMass Communications monitors its place in an evolving industry, now is not the time for the agency to rest on its laurels, Bigelow says.

“We are continuing to focus good energy and efforts on [acquiring] new business.…We are having a great time,” he explains.
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