Concentric Health Experience enjoyed one of the finest years in its 18-year history during 2018, growing revenue to an MM&M-estimated $56.6 million. “We had our highest revenue year yet,” says CEO Ken Begasse.
But in January 2019 that trajectory suddenly shifted, compounded by a government shutdown that disrupted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s process for reviewing drug applications. “A lot of the work we were anticipating for the beginning of 2019 was delayed,” Begasse recalls. “We had a very slow start to 2019 — especially after 2018, when our hair was on fire.”
This disparity is reflected in the agency’s 2019 revenue, which fell 10% to an MM&M-estimated $51 million. The drop, Begasse says, was primarily driven by clients reducing their marketing budgets. Head count also fell, from 228 full-time employees at the end of 2018 to 195 a year later.
However, the year was not without its bright spots. The agency launched The Furnace, a well-regarded in-house video and photography production studio. Also, Concentric engineered the launch of a number of new drug modalities for underserved patient populations, including Alexion’s Ultomiris (for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria) and Sage Therapeutics’ Zulresso (for postpartum depression).
Concentric also expanded its work with Novo Nordisk on obesity drug Saxenda. According to Begasse, the campaign deftly illustrates what separates the agency from its competitors: the ability to identify and target specific patient populations and serve them high-quality content that was produced in-house.
While more than 42% of Americans are obese, Novo Nordisk only wanted to reach individuals who would fully commit to the treatment, a daily injectable. “You need to maintain compliance for over a year,” Begasse notes.
To identify these patients, Concentric turned to its natural language processing platform, analyzing the words people used to discuss their approach to weight loss. “We were able to identify the type of people we want as customers,” he continues. “Once we got that, we were able to extrapolate that backward and build a large cohort to go after.”
The agency then targeted that cohort through search and tracked the journey that ensued. “It’s knowing exactly when they are on CNN and where they are going on CNN, so we can see if we can effectively and efficiently place content there, as well as advertisements,” Begasse explains. He adds that roughly three quarters of Concentric’s clients use its human analytics platform.
Even in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Concentric expects growth during 2020, especially from work led by The Furnace. In 2019, it handled more than a dozen production shoots for clients including Novo Nordisk, AbbVie and the American Migraine Foundation.
“We were able to produce high-quality, engaging content that our creative teams could control — and we were able to deliver it faster than we would do in a traditional format,” Begasse says. “We have our own producers, multiple videographers, a couple editors and some VR and AR individuals in there. It’s pretty amazing.”
The best marketing we saw in 2019…
Love Takes Action for MetLife by the Alliance Partner Anomaly. What makes this spot special is it takes the oldest story known to man — love — and makes it feel fresh, exciting and actionable. It elevates health insurance to the very essence of its calling, which is to protect what you love most. Once you see this spot, you cannot overlook even the smallest gesture of compassion. — Ken Begasse