Cadient Group president and CEO Stephen Wray says last year's 15% revenue decline was largely driven by two customer roster consolidations and one merger. The Pennsylvania shop's digital expertise has always been a key differentiator, and last year Wray concentrated on expanding capability, developing a more agile model and diversifying the roster.
“We're redefining what a digital agency should be,” Wray says. “The digital agency of today and tomorrow should provide a broad range of digital marketing services, and should understand application of appropriate tech solutions. It should also be able to deliver relevant consultancy to empower the full benefit of both of those. The focus in 2009 was to construct those capabilities to their fullest extent. As we look at 2010, we now can achieve diversification to the extent we envision in terms of breadth of healthcare companies and stakeholders with which we can engage. That's markedly different than the traditional agency model.”
In Q2 this year Charlie Walker, who was formerly COO at G2 Interactive, was named COO. Wray says he'll drive expansion of digital marketing services and the “expanded suite of tech enabled solutions.”
Agility has been increased in several ways, including the launch of Hatch Consulting, which provides a variety of strategic services, and Reveal, a business analytics platform that gives clients tailored insights into attitudes, behaviors, and trends across channels, customers, and competitors. A “OneVoice” platform was also developed to help clients address clinical development, advocacy management and global integration needs. And GEL Interactive Technologies, a research development engine launched in 2008, continued to fuel tech innovation.
“The previous era of digital transformation was marked by proliferation of web properties,” Wray explains. “Today customers are looking at ways to enable customer directed engagement. OneVoice is platform that allows customers to do that in a way that makes sense for them at brand, franchise and corporate levels in a personalized way [that] extends engagement more efficiently. It...can be leveraged for brand marketing, advocacy purposes and clinical trial recruiting.”
The Hatch Consulting group helped the agency gain valuable social media and mobile expertise last year by working with some non-pharma clients (such as public health organizations) that have more rapidly entered those channels.
The agency landed 10 accounts in 2009. Though Wray won't name wins, he does say the agency successfully diversified its portfolio to include large cap pharma, emerging pharma, bioscience, device companies, diagnostic companies, and institutional and governmental agencies.
Overall, 30 staffers were shed last year. Wray says the cuts were hard but they were made in alignment with specific client cutbacks. Headcount is at 128. Fresh talent did join in 2009, including Barry Winn, VP, business development; Beth Hartzell, associate creative director; and Anne Bozzini, VP, group account director, managing the New York-based team. Mickey Lynch was promoted to VP, group account director in Pennsylvania.
Focus for the rest of this year will be on ensuring success of the new business model. “This is the proof year,” Wray says. “We've initiated two launches [in 2010] based on this model. Client feedback and metrics have been phenomenal. We have additional high profile launches for remainder of this year that will give us ability to expand on this model. We'll also introduce two new solutions—one in market development and one in advocacy.”