The Top 40: Medergy Marketing

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Medergy Marketing has been busy. The firm achieved its strongest ever revenue growth in 2005, up to $6.6 million from $4.5 million. In addition, the agency nearly doubled in staff, expanded office space in Philadelphia, won a key account with Baxter International's Renal Division and changed its name from DVC HealthCare to Medergy Marketing, effective July 2006.

“We are not changing who we are,” says president and CEO Julia Ralston, “we are just rebranding the agency to better reflect what we bring to the table.”

Joseph Doyle, chief branding and strategy officer, says Medergy reflects the synergy between its scientific and brand building capabilities. “Also inherent in the word is the high level of energy that we bring in solving our client's problems,” he says.

Ralston and Doyle hope the new name will serve to differentiate Medergy from other agencies by emphasizing its position as a unique medical marketing agency, which they believe is necessary to effectively support their clients. “We are in a healthcare business, so we have to have the ability to talk about science and clinical issues,” explains Ralston. “But I think that the degree to which we really underpin that, and are able to analyze the science and the data, is one component of this
medical marketing mix that we think we can do very, very well … at the end of the day we are really offering a very strong blend of science to that brand building equation.”

As a professional agency, Medergy maintains its strong scientific focus by hiring staff with extensive scientific backgrounds. While good talent can be elusive, Medergy tends to concentrate not only on particular skills, but also how that new hire will fit into the agency's culture.

“We are always looking for people who will be tremendously committed,” says Ralston. “Not to our business per se, but people who will create a situation with a client where the client feels like that person is totally there for them.”

However, because of the difficulty of hiring experienced staff, Medergy has another strategy. “What we have actually turned to is bringing on board people who we think have tremendous potential … as you grow larger and hire more people, that means that you have a larger percentage of staff that perhaps don't have the years of experience, so you have to be committed to mentoring them.”

With a larger staff to look after increased business, Medergy is excited for the future. In addition to the new account with Baxter—for which it has been assigned to create a global marketing plan—Medergy's execs are optimistic about the trends they see in the industry, which should tie in well with the agency's scientific strengths.

“We believe that people will rely more and more heavily on breakthrough science,” says Ralston. “Clearly, fewer really unique drugs are coming along with truly different mechanisms of action, and that really makes the sciences more important in terms of how to market a product … industry guidelines have tightened up to the degree to which promotion must now rely ultimately on data and science. You can't be making claims that you cannot clearly support.”

As far as tests ahead, there are the “standard challenges of winning more business—that is life in an agency,” says Ralston, as well as the exciting challenge of rolling out the new agency name. For the industry as a whole, Doyle states, “the industry will be continually challenged to prove the value of its medication and therapies, both from a clinical and economic standpoint.”

And how will Medergy work to solve these problems for its clients? “We are really uniquely able to assist clients in uncovering those things through our strategic analysis and scientific depth,” says Doyle.

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