Top 100 Agencies 2014: Flashpoint Medica

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Digital chops power Omincom agency past client setbacks

Top 100 Agencies 2014: Flashpoint Medica
Top 100 Agencies 2014: Flashpoint Medica

For Omnicom Diversified Agency Services' Flashpoint Medica, a few unexpected client side setbacks didn't get in the way of a 10% revenue jump in 2013. “Overall, it was a good year,” says CEO and managing partner Charlene Prounis. “We got new AOR wins and four new clients.”  

Several AOR clients had some tough breaks that impacted the agency. A global AOR account for Takeda's diabetes product fasiglifam dissolved after the company stopped development of the drug. Manufacturing delays caused Entrotech Life Sciences, which had awarded professional and digital AOR status on two surgical dressing products (Chloradrape and Chloraderm), to cut budgets for both products.

A digital AOR win on Novartis Oncology's Tasigna (leukemia) was lost after a management change. “It was a very competitive pitch and big win,” Prounis says of the Tasigna assignment. “We beat the brand's professional AOR based on our digital chops. Then the management team changed and decided not to go forward with our budget. It was a shocker.”

On the upside, Flashpoint picked up the global professional AOR business for Takeda's anti-hypertensive drug Edarbi, as well as an HCP, patient and digital AOR win for Aerospan (a new type of asthma inhaler) from new client Meda Pharmaceuticals. Plus, new client Singulex awarded branding project work on a cardiovascular diagnostic product.

Meda liked Flashpoint's pitch concept for Aerospan so much that it went to launch with it in less than two months. The concept for an Entrotech product was also set to go to launch.  

Prounis notes healthcare marketing is becoming more complex, with digital strategists, online media planners and analytics specialists all working with creative and overall strategy teams to devise an approach.

“People used to talk about content, but now with the proliferation of media channels they're talking about how to best reach their audience,” she says. “We've always been masters of content and creative, yet the idea of creative has changed. It's not just about creative. It's also about the technology and the channel.”  

Clients are asking for innovation, yet they also want proven ROI.

“Analytics is the future of our business, which means knowing how to harness big data,” Prounis says. “As you collect data from everything and everyone, the more you can predict the information an audience likes and the channels in which they like to receive it.”   

As other agencies report, Prounis has experienced the trend of clients asking up to six agencies to pitch. “There should be three agencies in a pitch,” she says. “Pitches are huge expenditures, and really, all of the agencies pitching are good agencies—it comes down to which agency the client likes and trusts. Clients need to do some work before the pitch to identify a few agencies that have the capabilities and expertise they value.”

Non-personal promotion is increasing, and that's a sweet spot for Flashpoint, which has developed strong expertise in knowing where and how to best reach physicians. Prounis adds that the power of the patient is also still increasing and key to success for clients.

A San Francisco office opened in January 2014 with several people working on west coast clients, including Genentech.

Prounis anticipates a strong year, noting the agency is busy identifying and winning new business. “Specialty has always been our backbone, and oncology and immunology are the hottest growth areas right now,” she adds.

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