The Top 75: CDMiConnect

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CDM's patient/relationship marketing shop, CDMiConnect, rounded out its management team and made its first inroads into global work while realizing double-digit growth.
The agency, which celebrated its 10th birthday in November, saw solid growth with wins from Teva, a new client, for Copaxone, and Pfizer, for Genotropin and Somavert, among other assignments.
“We're excited to be back in the MS category,” says executive creative director and managing partner Dina Peck, noting that the company has previously worked on premarket MS drugs. The firm did not suffer any losses, though Genentech cut back on promotion of Rituxan for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Headcount rose around 5% to 135. The shop will utilize CDM's Creative Co-op program, a pool of CDM staffers available to shops throughout the CDM network that was put into place by Peck, to handle the new business. “Through Creative Co-op, we can pulse people in and out of pieces of business, so we've been able to use that,” says Peck, who was named executive creative director this year, while her fellow partner, Deb Deaver, was named president. For both, it's a formalization of roles they already held, but it comes as co-founder Christine Finamore has moved up to a network-wide role as head of digital, based out of CDM New York, and the shop has named two associate partners: Yvonne Lavendar, director of interactive strategy, and Tom Galati, group creative director, art. The triumvirate of full partners is completed by Eliot Tyler, director of strategy and planning.
The shop made moves to expand its presence in Europe and California. CDMiConnect moved some senior staff to its parent network's new San Francisco satellite—the agency has three employees there, and will have five before year's end. CDMiConnect has also planted its flag in Europe for the first time, servicing Abbott business as well as Bayer's Xarelto out of CDM's London office.
The company has been doing more multichannel work and consumer or patient business makes up 80% of their overall business—up from 75% last year.
The agency's motto: Building Healthy Relationships. “We believe in patients and we think they're probably completely underserved,” says Deaver. “We deal with some lighter diseases but I think all of us have somebody that's been diagnosed with something significant, and for them, the patient landscape can be very confusing.”
Getting your message to patients in an age of media fragmentation is a big part of the problem. “How do you reach those folks?” wonders Peck. “You've got to constantly ask yourself that. Because it's not ‘Let's do a single-sponsored publication and mail it to them.' That might be good for a very small group of folks with a very specific condition but in general you have to go where the folks are, whether it be with YouTube channels spending time to break what's out there, or using social media or the incredible channels we have now available to us.”
The shop's digital expertise serves them well on the professional side, too. “Digital's at the core of what we live and breathe,” says Deaver.
The company has set up several physician networks and has established an expertise in marketing to nurses. “You can look at a nurse promotion in many ways, but they are the primary liaison with the patient, so it makes sense for them to be speaking in more of a patient language rather than high science as you would to targeted specialty or a KOL.”
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