The Top 75: imc2 Health & Wellness
Headquartered in Dallas with offices in New York and Philadelphia, imc2 Health & Wellness was spun off its general consumer sibling imc2 in 2008. Co-founder, principal and CMO Ian Wolfman says that Health & Wellness has grown steadily (business was up 15-20% ending 2010), and it bolstered the overall enterprise through the recession.
“We work in every industry, and, headed into recession, our non-health clients held their revenues,” he explains. “It's a real problem. We didn't experience that in healthcare. It was very important to our agency to have the healthcare business steadily growing.”
Both agencies are very clear on their purpose of advancing relationships. The “relationship era marketing” approach is a huge differentiator, and Bonnie Sayers, SVP and GM of imc2 Health & Wellness, says it really began to resonate with healthcare clients in 2010. “Clients are looking at trusting an agency that has digital mastery and can engage in a multilateral environment,” she explains. “We help marketers build a sustainable relationship between the brand
and various stakeholders, and that's based on trust and transaction.”
Wolfman notes a paradigm shift away from marketing in a linear way. He says healthcare clients appreciate the agency's “strong consumer marketing prowess” and many are beginning to adopt the idea that paid media, owned media and earned media must work together.
“Five years ago, 95% of our marketing spend was unilateral across different channels,” he explains. “We've moved into a multilateral conversation. We need to create transactions and mindfully add to the level of trust. If you're only focused on maximizing transaction you may be detracting from trust. Trust is comprised of credibility, care and congruency with core values. Instead of starting with what a client makes, we're starting from why they do what they do. We want to first do things that are in line with the shared values of their constituency. This makes us create specifically different strategic recommendations and a different work product.”
Last year's highlights included an unbranded loyalty program for Pfizer's Lipitor, which will go off-patent later this year.
“We're focusing on the three areas of trust and helping patients control cholesterol first with diet,” Wolfman says. “If they fail, we have their trust and a relationship so we can bring them back. It's a very unusual approach for patent expiration, and we're doing it with the biggest drug ever to go off-patent.”
Other wins included Millennium-Takeda Oncology Co. (corporate work and Velcade promotion); Novartis (undisclosed work); Stiefel (all brands); and Incyte (conference and professional lead generation). Boehringer Ingelheim awarded social media AOR status and unnamed brand work. The agency also won The Ornish Spectrum business.
There were a few senior management shifts last year. Hensley Evans is now chief strategy officer, focused on thought leadership. New additions included Michael Davis, CCO; Evelyn Henry Miller, CFO; and medical director Linda Kay. Jake Lambert joined as VP executive producer. Headcount remained pretty stable, ending 2010 at 120. It's up to 130 now.
Wolfman expects revenue and headcount to increase by about 20% this year. “I think the market is back,” he adds. “We've had periods of aggressive growth, and our pipeline warrants being fairly optimistic.”