To hear partner Joshua Benson tell it, Deerfield Agency ushered in a new era when it moved into a new space in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, in May 2022. The move came in tandem with a return to the office for many of Deerfield’s people.
“We’ve always thought it was important to be together,” Benson says. “One, you’re able to grow with each other. And two, you’re able to mentor and bring all your folks through training — and have them become part of the intricate puzzle that we get to play with every day.”
At the same time, the acquisition of Verge Scientific in July 2022, which was completed about a year after Deerfield received private equity investment from Edgewater Growth Capital Partners IV, likely stands as the year’s capping achievement.
“We weren’t rushing to acquire anything, but this was just a perfect fit and a great complement to what we do today,” partner Frank Burrell says.
The deal bolstered Deerfield’s strategic and scientific capabilities — and, in all likelihood, the agency’s appeal to nascent biotech firms.
“We focus on small to midsize pharmaceutical companies, and they’re still trying to tell their corporate brand story,” Burrell explains. “We’re already seeing an impact for our clients, and it’s going to give us big momentum going into the second half of 2023.”
The acquisition made a good year look even better. Revenue jumped 40%, from 2021’s pre-Verge Scientific sum of
$43.5 million to 2022’s post-deal take of $61.1 million.
Head count, in turn, surged from 88 at the beginning of 2022 to 140 at the end of it. Key additions included Jeff Kirsch as SVP of business development and Philippe deKerillis as senior medical director. The arrival of deKerillis, known to clients and colleagues alike as Dr. Phil, makes good on Deerfield’s prior promise to expand its team
Still, you can add Deerfield to the extensive list of agencies that struggled with recruitment and retention in a tight labor market. “We’re not hiring to put butts in seats. We want to make sure it’s the right fit,” Benson stresses. “If we’re going to continue to grow, recruiting the right people is going to be the challenge that never goes away.”
Other Deerfield investments in 2022 included ASSET2it, an app that enables sales representatives to create modular content “on the fly,” as Burrell puts it, and create personalized landing pages for their customers. Benson believes the best is yet to come, with Deerfield looking to further commercialize the app in the months ahead.
“It’s a matter of getting good momentum,” he says. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to offer it to everyone — and hopefully it’s something that will bring in new clients.”
None of this, however, will diminish Deerfield’s focus on fostering a rewarding environment for its people, Burrell says. “When clients have a lean team, and we’re able to jump in and be an extension of it, that’s personally rewarding for our team members. They feel they can make an impact and a real difference.”
. . .
Our marketing role model…
Ann Handley’s innate grasp of one-of-a-kind marketing allowed her to become the world’s first chief content officer. This groundbreaking role helped her pioneer digital marketing and empower marketers to do work they’re proud of. Similarly, Apple’s Think Different campaign led by Steve Jobs helped reshape the marketing industry with a radically simple idea: less product, more people. This aspirational, human-centric philosophy left a lasting impact on the marketing industry. — Burrell