According to CMI/Compas CEO Stan Woodland, 2018 was an “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” kind of year. After two years of roughly 20% revenue growth, the company grew by 31.3% in 2018 to $123.4 million. That puts the agency on track to achieve a goal originally set for 2020 — to generate $3.9 billion in incremental revenue for clients — a year early.

And that wasn’t even 2018’s biggest highlight, Woodland reports. “We’re starting to see the investments we’ve made in staff development pay off,” he says, noting that head count grew from 426 at the end of 2017 to 453 at the end of 2018. “We’re still trying to catch our breath.”

During the year, CMI/Compas assumed consumer media responsibilities for 13 clients. Existing clients accounted for 27% of the company’s growth, including mainstays such as Genentech, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.

CMI/Compas also engineered a slew of internal promotions, setting the agency up for the years to come. Susan Dorfman and John Donovan were elevated to president of CMI and Compas, respectively, and two new roles were created: EVP for customer excellence and experience and chief organizational effectiveness officer. Donovan says the moves come in advance of possible global expansion.

Indeed, members of the executive team note that CMI/Compas prides itself on anticipating industry changes and on using media to bolster and even reinvent customer relationships. The agency’s customer experience management offering, which launched last year, leverages data and predictive analytics to allow clients to anticipate user responses (whether from patient, consumer or HCP) and respond with the right content.

Not surprisingly, Dorfman says CMI/Compas has devoted considerable thought to ways the organization might use data more optimally. “Not all data is important data,” she explains. “We’re in a data-hoarding environment right now. Data can be an enabler, but it can also be a huge impediment if you don’t know how to use it.

“We wanted to do the same thing we have done for all these years on the HCP side: Start with people,” Dorfman continues. “Once you do that, you get a sense of the person and of what his or her potential needs are.”

By bringing this information together with its HCP offerings, CMI/Compas can better anticipate client needs, both individually and from each other. “Information is the start of health,” Dorfman says. “You can’t possibly view something differently if you don’t know all about it.”

All of CMI/Compas’ work in this realm comes in service of an ambitious goal: Improving the health of more than 50 million consumers over the next few years. Agency execs stress that this mission will succeed or fail depending on whether they’re able to locate and hire the right people to execute it.

“It’s not realistic to think that we can hire the people that we need to function the way our people function currently,” Woodland says. Adds Dorfman: “We are hiring amazing people and empowering them to do amazing things. It’s about that servant-leadership type of mindset.”