The Top 75: Dorland Global

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It was a tough year for Dorland Global Health Communications. There were strong new business wins, but the recession eroded existing client budgets and the agency ended 2008 down. A new era has dawned this year. Rich Minoff resigned as CEO in March and Marcus Perry, a 13-year veteran of parent company Huntsworth Health, was named president. Also in March, Maryellen Royle, who has been with Dorland 17 years, was named president of Dorland Global PR.

“We're looking at the next chapter of Dorland now,” says Perry. “In the latter half of 2008 we started putting ourselves significantly closer to sister companies in Huntsworth Health. We're forging very tight relationships now. We're sharing resources and reshaping our business so that we can complement each other. We're able to offer a much broader range of services and greater expertise in almost every aspect of healthcare communications in a channel neutral way.”

Regarding last year, Perry notes that significant pressure on clients made it “extremely difficult” to budget and plan.

“It's hugely frustrating because we won a lot of business but how that translated into revenues was not as impressive,” he adds. 

Baxter awarded Dorland three brands (Floseal, Flexbumin, FEIBA), and a variety of diagnostic and device products were awarded from Edwards Life Sciences, Abbott Molecular, and Pathworks. The agency also won diabetes business from Roche Diagnostics and project work for Endo Pharmaceuticals. PR wins included Animas and BD Biosciences.

Staff has been reduced from over 135 to just under 100. Perry explains that consolidation was necessary to ensure the agency is “fit and healthy” for this year and the years ahead. “We had to make changes to move forward,” says Perry.  

Sharing resources with its sibling agencies in both the US (six in addition to Dorland) and Europe has also increased security and training opportunities for the staff.

“We can speak to experts in any channel within the group and still maintain our own identity,” Perry says. “We can offer employees opportunities to learn other aspects of the business. And, in a climate where clients are struggling to get the best out of budgets, we're able to offer significantly more bang for the buck.”

Huntsworth affords Dorland a well of expertise a number of areas, including medical education, training and market access. Dorland's own digital offerings have expanded substantially, and the agency is looking for highly specialized digital talent as well as senior account staff.

“I don't think anyone can ignore social networking,” says Perry. “Dorland's clients in general are beginning to dip their toe in the water. Although, from a PR perspective, our disease awareness programs generally have a strong focus on social media interactions. It won't be long before it becomes a mainstay, not just a tactic. It will make an enormous difference over the next few years. It's difficult to know how that will impact more traditional forms of marketing.”

Perry is excited to be working with what he calls a great team. He's confident in their ability to usher the agency into a new era. Both he and Royle have been working very hard at establishing a strong new business pipelines.
“We need to look to the future,” says Perry. “It's an evolution. And a very positive one that's about embracing change. You can't innovate if you're stuck in the same box all the time.”
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