Revenue increased 9% to $26.2 million
“Thirteen new client wins in 2016 is driving considerable growth for 2017. With this growth comes an increased need to bring on experienced, talented, specialized staff”
“As pharma budgets are under consideration, behaviorally based marketing strategies will be more important because of the continued differentiation that they offer”
Between hiring 17 employees and absorbing the 12-person agency Strategic Pharma Solutions, MicroMass Communications welcomed a lot of new people into the fold last year. Partner and president Alyson Connor jokes that she feels as if she meets a new person every day.
Given that behavioral science is the bedrock on which MicroMass was built, it’s not surprising to learn that the agency has a specialized on-boarding process that taps its collective expertise.
“Everyone, from account to tech people, goes through our behavioral science onboarding process,” Connor says. “It’s in our DNA.”
MicroMass has seized its share of new business — 13 accounts last year alone — by helping clients address and meet the clinical and behavioral needs of patients. The agency’s “whole patient” approach integrates behavioral science and health psychology techniques, then applies them to change patient and/or physician behavior and to optimize dialogue between the two constituencies.
“Our message and value proposition around addressing whole patient needs resonates with clients,” Connor says. “Whether you’re going to HCPs or caregivers, you must start with what’s going on with the patient.”
Connor uses the following analogy to illustrate how MicroMass programs drive better patient outcomes and, thus, brand success. “If I were going to teach you to swim, giving you a pamphlet on how to swim probably wouldn’t be very effective,” she says. “If I showed you how to swim and gave you tools and exercises to build the skill, you’d have much better chance of learning. It’s the same with our programs.”
MicroMass partner and CEO Phil Stein adds simply pushing out brand claims is no longer enough. “We help clients understand the real barriers to and drivers of behavior change,” he says.
Rare disease and oncology remain sweet spots for MicroMass. During 2016, the agency was awarded new rare-disease work from Lexicon, Genentech, and Alexion, while it seized oncology assignments from Merck, Tesaro, and Puma. Astellas, Sanofi, Jazz, and Intarcia round out the list of wins.
Connor notes that brand leaders in those two therapeutic categories are likely to step outside the traditional pharma-marketing paradigm. Lexicon, she says, represents a great example: It went along with MicroMass’ plans for a sponsored invitation-only patient forum ahead of the launch of Xermelo, a treatment for carcinoid syndrome diarrhea.
“[Carcinoid syndrome] patients don’t know anyone else with the disease,” Connor explains. “The forum gave patients an opportunity to meet one another and we got to get more information about their needs.”
Revenue was up $2.2 million to $26.2 million, representing a 9% jump in 2016. Connor and Stein expect an even more considerable spike during 2017, which has already prompted a full-on recruiting effort.