Top 12 agency profiles
Based off 2019 revenue
- Klick HealthKlick Health
Asked to share a defining moment for Klick Health amid the COVID-19 pandemic, agency president Lori Grant cites two.
The first came earlier this year, shortly after Klick had announced the spring installment of its Ideas Exchange experiential event. Set to be headlined by former President Barack Obama and feature a roster of industry leaders, scientists and performers, the mid-May event was shaping up as one of the agency’s highest-profile ones to date.
- FCB Health New YorkFCB Health New York
You don’t hear FCB Health New York complaining about finding fresh talent in the healthcare field. While many agency leaders sound like a broken record when asked about finding and recruiting new talent, FCB Health Network CEO, president Dana Maiman revels in what she calls the boomerang effect.
Of the phenomenon of having former employees return to the agency, Maiman says, “It’s one of the most fulfilling aspects of my job and such a proof point that we’re doing things differently from every other agency. It’s the best feeling in the world.”
- Syneos Health CommunicationsSyneos Health Communications
Baptisms-by-fire don’t come much more harrowing than the global pandemic that coincided with Tim Pantello’s arrival at Syneos Health Communications. He officially started in the new role of president, communications in January, right around the time overseas members of the extended Syneos network sounded the alarm about the novel coronavirus.
The organization didn’t wait for public health officials to gauge its seriousness before springing into action. It pulled together research papers around HCP preferences, virtual field force engagements and COVID-related payer concerns. It participated in a volunteer program led by the U.K. government that located clinically qualified individuals able to perform coronavirus testing.
- McCann HealthMcCann Health
As COVID-19 invaded the U.S. in March, McCann Health global CEO John Cahill was, in his words, “quietly confident” that his agency would be able to endure and even thrive amid the chaos.
For one thing, McCann Health has a greater global footprint than most agency networks, including a substantial presence in Asia. It’s the only healthcare communications company with a seat on the Private Sector Roundtable supporting the United Nations global health security agenda. And its global medical director Dr. Dan Carucci is tight with a Who’s Who of public health experts at the CDC, WHO and Bill Gates Foundation.
W2O’s private-equity infusion last May spurred an acquisitions streak that deepened its bench in a variety of disciplines, from scientific storytelling and health-specific social media to data/analytics and creative. But founder and CEO Jim Weiss reports that neither the nearly six-month PE process nor the deal-making whirlwind that followed threw the agency for a loop.
“We maintained, continued to grow and delivered nearly $200 million in organic revenue,” he says. “It’s really remarkable that we grew because you had six to 10 players and rainmakers in a boardroom most of the time.” The sum represents a 23% boost over 2018’s take of $162 million.
- Intouch GroupIntouch Group
Intouch Group celebrated its 20th birthday in style last September, gathering almost 1,000 employees in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. Dubbed “(re)GROUP,” the celebration/reunion included outdoor games, a big Make-A-Wish reveal (in which Darth Vader and lightsabers played a role) and a concert by ’90s mainstay Third Eye Blind.
“It was a big rah-rah moment for the agency,” recalls EVP of marketing and communications Wendy Blackburn. She notes that the celebration doubled as a rebirth of sorts, with Intouch debuting its new mantra: “No challenge too big to cure.”
- Deloitte DigitalDeloitte Digital
Deloitte Digital leveraged its parent’s customer base last year to forge fresh advertising and marketing inroads.
The eight-year-old spin-off saw revenue surge 7% in 2019 to $178 million from $166 million the year prior. A large majority of that new business (roughly 70%) came via its familial connections — namely, parent company Deloitte Consulting’s hefty life science client roster, according to managing director Larry Mickelberg.
- Wunderman Thompson HealthWunderman Thompson Health
“You’re going to be very happy with what I’m about to show you,” a Wunderman Thompson Health researcher told CEO Becky Chidester one late October morning as he walked into her office. The bombshell disclosure came from the newest iteration of its annual Healthcare Inertia research and provided long-awaited evidence of what the agency had suspected all along.
“Personalized and motivational messages are more effective at getting providers to make better health decisions,” Chidester says. “We can now say with certainty that what we’ve known to be true with consumers is equally true with doctors and nurses.”
- Ogilvy HealthOgilvy Health
To tell the story of Ogilvy Health’s 2019, it’s worth recapping briefly what happened in 2018.
Amid turnover in the C-suite at parent company WPP, the health and wellness group that housed Ogilvy and its sibling U.S.-based health agencies was dismantled. Mergers ensued. Executives were shuffled to and fro. By the end of the year, the agency formerly known as Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide had new leadership and a new name, and was integrated with Ogilvy, under the umbrella of WPP.
- Area 23Area 23
In 2019, Area 23 enjoyed a third straight year of substantial growth and won many of the industry’s most coveted awards — including gold in MM&M’s Large Healthcare Agency category. But to hear its principals tell it, many of the successes weren’t by design.
“Quite frankly, some of it was unplanned and unintentional. We didn’t pitch,” says Area 23 president Renée Mellas.
CMI/Compas spent a good deal of its energy and resources during 2019 building up its tech-enabled offerings — specifically, the firm’s media planning and customer targeting platform PROACT and its social listening tool Empower, which launched in early 2020. According to CEO Stan Woodland, PROACT and Empower helped fuel the agency’s 17% revenue growth to $144 million in 2019 from $123.4 million in 2018.
The company’s offerings have caught on with clients, Woodland says, because they allow it to work effectively across both patient and HCP audiences, providing customer and social insights for a range of stakeholders. “More and more clients are giving us responsibility for both audiences,” he explains. “They see the business results when we’re able to integrate them as efficiently as we do.”
Finding the right real estate for the right price is a challenge for any company based in New York, and Evoke founder and CEO Reid Connolly thought he’d solved that dilemma when his agency signed the lease for spacious new offices in Manhattan’s Battery Park City. But things don’t always evolve as planned, and 2020 has proven one of the least predictable years in memory.
The move-in date was scheduled for March 30, and some 240 employees had already packed up their belongings before receiving a directive to work from home. “I haven’t even seen the finished space yet,” Connolly says. “But it’s going to be really nice: 30-foot ceilings, tons of co-working and open meeting spaces and a terrace on the river. It’ll be great when we can move in.”
Revenue table and top 100
|Rank||Agency||2019 Revenue||2019 Revenue Mobile||2018 Revenue||% Change||Staff Size 2019||staff size 2018|
|2||FCB Health New York||$280,000,000||$280M||$219,000,000||28%||874||682|
|3||Syneos Health Communications||$255,000,000||$255M||$245,000,000||4%||1,052||1,095|
|8||Wunderman Thompson Health||$155,000,000||$155M||$160,000,000||-3%||615||680|
9 Agencies to watch
Thanks to the additions of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, The Audacia Foundation and the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research, the agency met its 2019 goal of increasing its presence in the healthcare space.
- JB AshtinJB Ashtin
Despite the revenue decline, promotional medical education specialist JB Ashtin remains one of the few well-regarded firms based outside the NYC/Philly and West Coast corridors.
- The Matchstick Group
- Pascale CommunicationsPascale Communications
The firm has expanded beyond its traditional PR base to include professional and consumer marketing. Of the agency’s 50 client relationships, 39 are AOR engagements — which is the kind of ratio firms 10 times its size would envy.
- Pavone Marketing GroupPavone Marketing Group
During 2019, Pavone snapped up two practices, NetPlus and Phalanx Digital, giving its burgeoning health group the technology chops to compete with firms twice its size.
- Red House Healthcare MarketingRed House Healthcare Marketing
It’s a $3 million firm that weathered the loss of a $1 million client (MedeAnalytics, which took its work in-house), yet still managed to finish the year more or less flat.
The agency’s self-branding as “the cultural change agency” isn’t just empty bluster: Few firms have a better understanding how to navigate the complexities that come with marketing to Hispanic audiences.
- Sonic HealthSonic Health
This firm actually walks the “we operate like an innovation-minded startup” walk. In 2019, Sonic added strategic game development, described by the firm as “applying familiar game mechanics to insight and workshop frameworks for clients,” to its offering.