For MRM for Health, a year of reinvention culminated in a single moment involving three stools, one microphone and a reimagined home office.

It went down at an agency panel focused on women’s health, according to EVP, managing director and global healthcare lead Peter Rooney. In-person attendees piled into the company’s new collaboration space at Princeton Innovation Park,  and the session was broadcast live to other Interpublic offices around the world.

“It was electric,” Rooney recalls. “It was such a celebration of the energy of being back together.”

The reimagined real estate — to accommodate post-pandemic work habits, MRM cut back to half a floor — represents only a small part of the agency-wide change. 

In October, Interpublic acquired Rafter-One, a Salesforce solution provider, and aligned it with MRM. “It increased our ability to provide differentiated services through its accelerators in areas such as subscription and loyalty,” reports SVP and strategy director Gene Fitzpatrick. “Once customers are convinced they want a product, we should make it easy for them to close the deal.”

MRM for Health also reconstructed its social media specialty, with clients such as Novartis, AstraZeneca and GSK immediately buying in. Over the course of 2022, the agency claimed nine new assignments, including social media for AstraZeneca’s kidney disease drug Farxiga; a digital AOR engagement for Haleon’s venerable Centrum vitamin; a website for Janssen’s blockbuster blood thinner Xarelto; an AOR engagement for Kaleo’s Auvi-Q epinephrine injection; global strategy for Merck’s EMD Serono; social work for Novartis’ cholesterol drug Leqvio; digital projects for Qbiotics’ Stelfonta tumor treatment for dogs; and omnichannel strategy for Otsuka’s anti-psychotic Rexulti. 

Revenue rose 5%, to an MM+M-estimated $39 million from 2021’s estimate of $37 million.

Staff size grew from 163 people at the end of 2021 to 197 people a year later, with much of the hiring happening in Q4 — just as other agencies started to cut staff. “We got lucky in terms of timing,” Rooney acknowledges. Additions included SVP, chief technology officer Joe Toppe; and SVP, group account director Kevin King.

The staff growth has increased the need for team-building, as about 25% of workers are exclusively remote. “It’s not about forcing people to come to the office or counting the days they work in person,” Rooney stresses. “For us, it’s about coming together with purpose and meaning. We want them to know we’re not wasting their commuting time.”

In the year ahead, MRM is determined to come to terms with AI breakthroughs. “I don’t think artificial intelligence is going to replace what we do, but I think somebody using artificial intelligence is,” Rooney says. To that end, he expects to participate in more conversations around technology consulting, helping brand marketers work more closely with organizations driving marketing technology. 

That positions MRM well for the future, Rooney believes. “We’re a digital experience agency focused on relationships. That’s our ethos, and we’ve doubled-down on making every relationship count. We’re proud of it.” 

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Our marketing role model…

EOS (Evolution of Smooth) is known for its outsize impact with a limited marketing budget. Product innovation, a deep awareness of customer needs and influencer trends on social media, particularly TikTok, have driven its success. Tracking buzz on social and with influencers has provided cues on how to connect with consumers in an authentic and human — and notably irreverent — way. The Bless Your F*cking Cooch campaign has become a study in consumer-insights-driven creativity spurring sales. — Rooney

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