When it comes to one of the most fundamental aspects of healthcare marketing, agencies appear to be split. Is healthcare marketing more effective when it is approached like any other area of consumer marketing, or does it demand a different mindset?

RevHealth, with its science-first approach, clearly falls into the latter camp. “Healthcare is different than other consumer marketing,” managing partner Bruce Epstein says flatly. “You don’t differentiate just on emotion. You have to differentiate on where the clinical treatment of patients is going and you need a true understanding of the science. We dig deep.”

The agency’s clinical expertise is grounded in its people, with RevHealth perpetually seeking to grow the number of M.D.s, Pharm.D.s and Ph.D.s under its roof. Overall head count grew from 170 at the end of 2020 to 205 at the end of 2021, and Epstein expects to reach 250 full-timers by the end of 2022.

To facilitate that growth, RevHealth made the transition from a traditional workplace to what it calls RevFlex: a remote- and hybrid-friendly approach that represents a radical change from the agency’s past practices. 

“We used to be full-time in the office, every employee, but we’ve done a 180,” Epstein says. “What we say now is that it doesn’t matter where you live. And if you want to come into the offices a couple days a week, that’s fine too.” RevHealth now counts full-time staffers in 14 states; prior to the pandemic, all employees were based in New Jersey, New York or Pennsylvania.

The transition was eased by the surprise delivery of cookies and sweatshirts. Epstein acknowledges that such gestures are small ones, but hopes they prompted recipients to remember that the agency’s work is “about more than just a paycheck, because what we do is important.” 

Key drivers of growth during the past year included the agency’s digital offering. Epstein reports that the department has more than doubled in size over the past few years, to about 30 employees. The ultimate goal: for the independently owned agency to deliver as well on the technology front as bigger, often network-
operated competitors. 

RevHealth performed well during 2021, with revenue increasing to $48.5 million from 2020’s take of $43.5 million, an 11% gain. Roughly 85% of growth came from existing clients, with the agency adding new assignments from Bayer, Sanofi, Summit Pharmaceuticals, Bausch Health, Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Nektar Therapeutics. Other client mainstays include Merck, Takeda, Nestlé, AbbVie and Daiichi Sankyo.

It probably goes without saying, but Epstein takes great satisfaction in what the recent additions mean for RevHealth’s ongoing trajectory. 

“We have three clients that are each worth more than $5 million of revenue to the agency,” he says. “We used to average $1.5 million to $2 million per brand. Now we are picking up the larger ones.” 

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Work from outside pharma you admire…

Electric vehicle technology is advancing quickly, but still doesn’t match the full experience we get with traditional vehicles. People buy cars online that are not yet available and they have never seen live, let alone sat in or driven. I watch every electric vehicle commercial that is on TV or the internet to see how each company is trying to differentiate its vehicles. — Epstein