MicroMass Communications | 2018

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Last year may have been the year the agency world got wise to the charms of behavioral science, but MicroMass Communications didn't buy into the buzz. Why? Because the firm has been preaching the behavioral-science gospel for about 25 years.

“More and more agencies are claiming they have behavioral science expertise,” notes MicroMass president Alyson Connor. “In reality, these agencies may have only one behavioral consultant on staff or are just checking the box in regards to this service offering.” By comparison, MicroMass' entire staff is trained in behavioral health techniques.

Still, it's hard to blame competing agencies for seeing the value in touting these services, especially after MicroMass was acquired for $75.8 million in September by Irish healthcare services company UDG Healthcare. The agency is now part of UDG's Ashfield Healthcare Communications network, with Connor reporting to UDG COO and Ashfield EVP Jez Moulding.

Connor believes MicroMass's presence within that broader network will help the agency develop “more comprehensive solutions for clients.”

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And the acquisition didn't slow down MicroMass in 2017. Connor says it was one of the agency's best years, with the addition of new business from Genentech, Insmed, Janssen, Sanofi, Takeda, and United Therapeutics. Those new additions join a roster that already includes CSL Behring, Merck, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Teva, and UCB.

While MicroMass no longer discloses revenue figures — UDG is publicly owned — Connor acknowledges the company grew its staff to 115 in 2017. MM&M estimates the agency generated $30.5 million in revenue in 2017, up from $26.2 million in 2016.

Fueling that growth were efforts to diversify the firm's business outside of its traditional AOR and CRM work. For instance, MicroMass added training specialty field forces to its slate of offerings.

As for attraction and retention of talent, Connor points to the agency's Cary, North Carolina, location as a major selling point. “We are extremely fortunate to be located in an area that continues to be voted one of the top places to live and contains outstanding universities,” she says. She notes the agency's average employee tenure is more than seven years and that it boasts a turnover rate of just 8%.

“We're an agency that is collaborative and fun, and a destination for the best people,” she adds.
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