When he looks back at 2022, Digitas Health chief growth officer Craig Douglass can’t help but compare it to the two pandemic years that came before. He believes that a sense of “clarity” has finally set in after a stretch of profound uncertainty — and believes Digitas Health has moved nimbly to account for the evolving marketing landscape.
“The old ways are gone,” he says. “The status quo and tradition are probably more dangerous than change. It’s clear we can’t do things the way we always did them.”
To that point, Douglass believes that investments in technology and capabilities supported by artificial intelligence are no longer nice-to-haves for marketers. Rather, they’re necessities.
Over the course of the past 18 months, Digitas Health has made a concerted effort to remove barriers to innovation — and, in so doing, assist clients in connecting with their audiences in a more modern (and effective) manner. This took place through the refinement of some of its core offerings — such as Agile Rx, designed to streamline the marketing process via the use of agile principles.
It all came together in a year that saw Digitas Health increase revenue by 8%, from an MM+M-estimated $180 million in 2021 to an estimated $195 million in 2022.
Head count grew accordingly, from 635 at the year’s outset to 693 at its conclusion. Key additions included VP, diversity, equity and inclusion Jessalin Lam, who previously served as VP, member development and diversity at IAB.
Digitas Health president Eric Muller notes that in a mere six months in her new position, Lam has set the agency on a path toward living up to its commitment to representation and diversity at all levels of the company. He notes that doing so will deliver a deeper value to clients, who are demanding creative work that’s driven by input from members of communities that have historically been marginalized.
“Now more than ever, as was particularly highlighted by COVID-19, there are inequities in the way that our healthcare system works,” Muller explains. “I don’t think we can help our clients overcome that if we ourselves are not living the mantra of making sure that we have equity and access to information and access to the same opportunity.”
As he looks toward the years ahead, Muller stresses that healthcare brands — and especially pharma ones — need to think of patients as customers and provide them with the same high-quality experiences they’ve come to expect from other industries.
Client roster mainstays include AbbVie, GSK, Novartis and Eli Lilly, and Digitas Health distinguished itself in the pro bono realm with its contributions to the Working with Cancer initiative, launched by parent Publicis in January. The effort is designed to ensure that people who are diagnosed with cancer feel supported in the workplace.
Digitas Health’s role in the initiative, according Muller, is to evolve it from “a movement into a reality.”
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Our marketing role model…
We believe magic happens with the right recipe of connection, engagement and expert storytelling — and no company has done that better than Disney. The entire organization focuses on doing the best work with unabashed creativity and delivering it at the highest level of quality. Disney also pioneered the connected engagement experience by understanding its audiences at a deep level and developing unparalleled relationships with them. — Muller