Bill Fay, one of DiD’s managing partners, says that the independent agency he helps lead offers the same capabilities as many of its network-owned peers. What distinguishes its offering, he believes, is the way it strings those capabilities into a coherent and client-friendly whole.

“We have creative, strategy, technology, digital, video, photography and media buying, but the difference is how we integrate them into the teams,” Fay explains. “If you think about the traditional agency model, you have media sitting in one place and tech sitting somewhere else and so on. We put all those capabilities around a single table so they can be used to solve a problem or address an opportunity together.”

Media analytics and optimization were new to DiD in 2018, along with a curated space for video and photography. “We have a dedicated team both on the account and creative and production side to help to manage those shoots,” says DiD managing partner Patty Henhoeffer. “We’re able to keep a lot of that in house, which adds to the speed and efficiency that we can deliver and integrate back into the bigger project.”

The new capabilities helped DiD add business to its core categories during 2018. The agency grew its sum of AOR engagements from 17 to 18 and doubled its number of project-based assignments from five to 10.

Per Fay,  the agency “expanded its footprint” at both Janssen and EMD Serono and had a successful year in the device category with the additions of Omron Healthcare, Avanos Health and Wright Medical. Revenue jumped by 9.8%, to $22.5 million from $20.5 million in 2017.

The increasing diversity of DiD’s client base helps improve the agency’s work across the board, Fay says. “Working in multiple categories brings innovation from one category to the next. It gives us the ability to try to translate what’s moving the needle in one area into other markets and other categories,” he explains. “It’s not necessarily one-to-one, because what you can do in OTC is very different than what you can do in Rx, but there are hints of things that you can cross-pollinate.”

Like many of its peers, DiD continued to struggle with a tight labor market during 2018 and the early months of 2019. “We’ve had to be really patient and make sure we’re hiring the right person,” Fay says.

Recent staff additions included SVP, director of client services Patrick Chenot (who arrived from Havas Health & You) and VP, business development Kyle Bechter (from Publicis Health). All told, DiD added 10 new employees, boosting its employee ranks from 120 to 130.

Henhoeffer, for her part, believes DiD is rising to the challenge by declining to hire for the sake of hiring and taking pains to ensure that each new addition is a good fit. “Even as we grow, we want to keep our culture and maintain that vibe and have people say, ‘Wow, this is great place to work,’” she adds.