Patients & Purpose | 2018

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Though patient-centricity has become the industry's buzziest catchphrase — and one that, some argue, has been overused or misinterpreted — Patients & Purpose CEO and founder Deb Deaver and her colleagues have used the agency's rebranding as a chance to evaluate what it truly means.

“Patient-centricity means a lot of different things to a lot of different companies,” Deaver explains.

For Patients & Purpose, it means focusing on health literacy and helping patients become better self-advocates. “We're always looking to evolve our focus and the services we're bringing to market, so this is a natural thing for us,” she continues.

According to Eliot Tyler, the newly promoted agency president, the concept of patient centricity has evolved beyond merely asking patients what they want. Now, the industry must also figure out how to deliver that content to them.

A few years ago, Tyler notes, pharma clients were “scared of social,” but patients made it clear they wanted information via platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

patients purpose agency

Patients & Purpose has similarly advocated for smarter and better use of customer relationship management tools. Managing partner and executive creative director Dina Peck notes the agency's digital expansion included bolstering the team charged with exploring the potential of hackathons, voice-assisted technology, social media, chatbots, and artificial intelligence as marketing tools.

The agency has swelled in size to 212 staffers from 180 at the end of 2016. Though she declined to confirm or dispute an MM&M revenue estimate of $59 million — up from its 2016 revenue estimate of $50 million — Deaver reports that “business was very good for us last year. We expanded our client base.”

In 2016, the agency ended the year with 15 AOR clients and two project-based ones. By the end of 2017, the numbers climbed to 23 and four, respectively.

Meanwhile, the leadership team noted the agency has continued to explore strategic partnerships, both within parent company Omnicom Health Group and beyond. In these discussions, Tyler explains, “The focus is, ‘How do we do better to engage patients?' In some cases, we do need a partner. As long as we keep the filter of ‘it will make patients better,' our partnership exploration can go in all directions.”

The agency also continued its pursuit of pro bono work, which Deaver believes has a huge impact on morale. Every year the agency asks its people to nominate a cause or a program they feel passionate about, and some of those turn into pro bono campaigns. “Giving back is a big part of our culture,” says Peck. “We practice what we preach.”
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