Dare we suggest that things are looking up? Of the 151 agencies that filed responses for our Agency A-to-Z, 50 reported that business was up so far this year, with 15 saying it was about the same. Just one agency divulged that business was down so far in 2013. A further 85 firms did not respond at all, so while we cannot infer that everybody is on the up, we can say that at least a third of agencies appears to be experiencing increased revenues this year. Of those 50 firms, 18 reported being up by 20% or more.

What types of work generated revenue in 2012?

We asked our A-to-Z Agencies for a basic breakdown of revenues across channels/tactics and audiences for 2012 and 2011, and the 67 responses we received show a demonstrable shift in spending towards digital.

The two most popular categories were HCP Digital/Web/Mobile, for which 85% of respondents posted a revenue stream, and Consumer Digital/Web/Mobile (78%). In terms of the shift in revenues in 2012 compared with 2011, those two categories were also the biggest gainers. The average slice of income represented by HCP Digital/Web/Mobile rose from 23% in 2011 to 28% in 2012, while the median number increased from 18.5% of revenue to 25%.

Similarly, the average proportion of income attributable to Consumer Digital/Web/Mobile increased from 19% in 2011 to 21% in 2012, while the median rose from 11% to 15%, indicating a more even distribution of spending across projects and agencies.

The biggest losers were, unsurprisingly, HCP print ads, with attributed share of revenue down from 13% to 10%. Promotional Medical Education (down from 17% to 15%), Direct Marketing (down from 14% to 12%) and PR (down from 21% to 18%), also showed similar-sized decreases in attributed income. Bear in mind that these data are for the fiscal year 2012, and given the fast pace of change in the market, it is likely that these trends are exacerbating and that the numbers underestimate what is actually happening in 2013.

What is keeping agencies up at night?

We also asked agencies to name their current biggest challenges. A total of 79 challenges were cited, which we placed into various buckets for the purposes of this analysis. The most mentioned challenges were Talent Acquisition (18%), Diversifying Offerings and Clients (15%), Regulatory and Legislative Issues (15%) and Achieving/Managing Growth (14%). Interestingly, within the “regulatory” bucket, the Accountable Care Act and the Sunshine Act were actually cited more often than FDA-related issues. Also of note is that there are some big industry issues missing from the top four responses; while the longtime challenges of grappling with digital, patent expirations, pharma restructuring/M&As and preferred networks did figure in the list, they were not at the top. Surely, this is a sign that the agency world is evolving and adapting to the new landscape.

What will happen next?

Finally, we asked agencies to tell us what they thought would be the biggest trends in the coming year, and 35% of the 98 trends cited related to a continued increase in digital work and digital spend. A further 14% mentioned data/analytics, with almost half of these referring specifically to the measurement of ROI, and many others citing the targeting of specialty populations.

Non-personal promotion/multichannel marketing (12%) also figured highly, as did a greater focus on patients and outcomes (10%) and increased regulatory/legislative scrutiny (8%).

To check the fast facts on more than 150 agencies, see the Agency A-to-Z (pages 187 to 229), our annual directory of healthcare marketing, advertising and communications shops, including contact details, rosters, financial information (where available) and examples of creative work. All data was submitted online by the agencies.

100 Agencies


The Access Group 


ApotheCom Group

Area 23

Avant Healthcare Marketing

Beacon Healthcare Comm.

Biolumina Group


Cadient Group


Cambridge BioMarketing

CDM New York

CDM Princeton


The CementBloc



Compass Healthcare Marketers

Concentric Health Experience



Digitas Health

Discovery USA

Draftfcb Healthcare


Entrée Health


Evoke Health

Extrovertic Communications


Flashpoint Medica

GA Communication Group

GCG Healthcare



Greater Than One


H4B Catapult

H4B Chelsea 

Harrison and Star

Havas Life Metro

Havas Life New York

Havas Lynx

HCB Health

Healthcare Regional Marketing

HealthEd Group

Heartbeat Ideas & Heartbeat West

HLG Health Communications

The Hobart Group

ICC Lowe

ICC Lowe Trio

Infuse Medical

Intouch Solutions

INVIVO Communications


JUICE Pharma Worldwide

Kane & Finkel Healthcare Comm.

Klick Health




McCann Echo Torre Lazur

McCann HumanCare

McCann Managed Markets

McCann RCW Healthcare

McCann Regan Campbell Ward

McCann Torre Lazur 

Mc|K Healthcare

MedThink Communications



MicroMass Communications

Natrel Communications

The Navicor Group


Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide

Pacific Communications

Palio + Ignite

Publicis Life Brands Medicus

Purohit Navigation

Razorfish Healthware

Renavatio Healthcare Comm. 



Roska Healthcare Advertising

Saatchi & Saatchi Hlth Comm. NY

Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness

Scout Marketing

Siren Interactive

Snow Companies


STRIKEFORCE Communications

Sudler & Hennessey

Topin & Associates

TRUE Health + Wellness

Vogel Farina

Vox Medica

The W2O Group

Wunderman World Health