Revenue increased slightly from $25 million to $26 million
“We’re excited to offer clients a calculated and balanced blend of high-science expertise, emotional-insight mining, and applied learning techniques to solve their brand challenges”
“We see a revolutionary set of payer- and reimbursement-centric challenges and opportunities for anyone involved in the healthcare community”
Calling Guidemark Health’s last three months of 2016 “eventful” is an understatement. Starting in October, the agency was on course to merge with three other agencies also owned by private equity firm High Road Capital Partners. At that point, CEO Matt Brown was set to lead the charge.
Two months later, Brown announced he was leaving the agency and Guidemark called off the merger. His departure put the agency’s COO, Sophy Regelous, in charge of operational and strategic responsibilities.
Despite a chaotic end to 2016, Regelous says Guidemark is well positioned to grow this year, owing in large part to a new agency model. Based on numbers alone, the agency seems to have emerged from all of the year-end tumult relatively unscathed. Revenue increased slightly in 2016 — to $26 million, up from $25 million the previous year. Staff size remained the same, at 140 full-timers.
“Matt Brown had a model that was good for a moment in time,” Regelous explains. “We have turned it around so it’s more cost-efficient for our clients.” Guidemark’s new model hinges on an “internal studio” process that, Regelous says, offers more fluid execution than traditional versions. Studio models often let clients work directly with designers who are responsible for given projects, often forgoing account or trafficking execs in the process.
Regelous believes that this “strategic” model allows the agency “to maintain brand consistency” while also creating more flexibility to “tap [its] subject-matter experts when necessary to propel brands forward.” She reports that the model has resonated in the marketplace, especially with clients developing a deeper respect for every dollar in their budgets and looking for ways to maximize every engagement.
The key? Pairing it with what Regelous calls “deep analytical data to ensure that we’re hitting the marks and growing the brand in the way it’s being asked to grow.” Regelous points to the Guidemark’s Learning vertical as one of its primary drivers of growth. That agency arm is charged with creating learning engagements, including compliance, market-access training, and hospital training. It also focuses on “different ways to engage participants in lessons that allow for deeper retention or recall,” Regelous notes.
“We’ve been very successful in applying our learning principles to other marketing and medical communications tactics and deliverables,” she adds. “Every engagement is an opportunity to learn.” Mylan numbers among the clients that have availed themselves of the offering.
Other key Guidemark accounts include Amgen’s Enbrel, Sympartica for animal-health drugmaker Zoetis, and undisclosed brands for Genentech and vaccine-supplier Sequirus. Shire, LifeCell, Animas, Mallinckrodt, and CSL Behring were among the clients added to Guidemark’s roster during 2016.
Looking forward, Regelous says Guidemark views the Learning vertical as its principal differentiator, especially when compared with comparable offerings at other firms. “Many agencies that have high-science capabilities can apply science to both their promotional and their med-comms efforts,” she notes. “We feel that what has set us apart from most agencies is our ability to apply learning principles to them as well.”