Of the numerous consultancies keen to seize clients and talent from traditional agencies, the one that should strike the most fear in the hearts of the competition is Deloitte Digital.
The company has experience across a broad range of industries and geographies. It has an army of data scientists at its disposal, equipped with battle-tested proprietary analytics. It has an in-house think tank — the Center For Health Solutions, which produces huge volumes of content — and, via the Deloitte mothership, access to a hyper-functional digital innovation studio developed in concert with Sony, Intel and Dell.
And in managing director Larry Mickelberg, it has a leader who comes from the agency lands that Deloitte Digital may well be planning to conquer.
Which isn’t to say that he views the competitive landscape in such stark terms. Rather, he emphasizes that Deloitte Digital is a different kind of beast, one that just happens to be capable of handling anything/everything a healthcare client could throw at it.
“We’re not seeking to emulate any agency,” he stresses. “There are firms we respect creatively and firms we respect technologically, but really, we’re out here doing our own thing.”
It’s hard to assess the size and scope of Deloitte Digital’s health offering, which Mickelberg himself acknowledges. “The best number I can come up with is that we have a little more than 500 full-time, fully dedicated life-sciences practitioners who work on nothing else,” he says. Worldwide, he adds, the firm has “close to 10,000 people who intersect with healthcare every day.” The company generated $166.1 million in healthcare revenue in 2018, up just less than 8% from 2017’s total of $154 million.
The client story is similarly challenging to relate, because of the usual slate of non-disclosure agreements. Both Mickelberg and Deloitte Consulting managing director, life science advertising, market ing and commerce Mark Miller seem frustrated by their inability to share specifics. For what it’s worth, Gilead Sciences, Merck and Sanofi are among the pharma companies with which Deloitte Digital is said to have strong working relationships.
“We’re not a black-box agency. We want people to know that we can launch a brand or help do salesforce sizing. We can get customers to talk to each other and to doctors and to accountable care organizations,” Miller explains. He adds that Deloitte Digital can produce big things on short notice: “We can do AI-assisted content in 72 hours. We can create culturally relevant, specific content in near real-time. We operate at the speed of need.”
As for what’s next, well, it depends on how you define “next.” Mickelberg says Deloitte Digital has “an internal vision for the future of health that goes out to about 2040” — or, for those counting at home, one that stretches about 20 years beyond the durations of most other agencies’ plans.
“What we’re here to do is fundamentally change the customer experience and the nature of engagement in healthcare,” he adds. “We’re all about helping more people feel more acknowledged and understood when it comes to matters of their health.”