Agency 100 2022: Healthy Healthcare Communications
As has been the case for nearly every organization in and around healthcare, COVID-19 has brought about a number of transformations at Sound Healthcare Communications. Most important of these on the work/customer side was the realization that the company needed to up its omnichannel game.
“When COVID hit, client engagement completely changed and we realized we needed to strengthen our offering,” recalls managing client services partner Ryan Perkins. “We were a classic healthcare professional and patient advocacy agency with a strong focus on personal sales tools and conventions. What we needed to do was shift to a mix of omnichannel tactics.
Michael Pruskowski, SVP, Director of Omnichannel Strategy, led this effort, which joined Sound in early 2021. “Now that MP has joined us, we’ve become as good as we are at strategy and creativity,” boasts Perkins. . Overall, Sound saw buds increase from 68 at the end of 2020 to 72 a year later.
In addition to the omnichannel push, Sound has spent 2021 doing what it does best: working with small and medium-sized businesses, especially those in the rare disease space.
“Our sweet spot is companies that seek big agency thinking and benefit from our ability to serve mid-cap companies more effectively,” says Perkins.
Among the accounts added in 2021 were brands from Sobi (including RA drug Kineret), AbbVie (constipation drug Linzess), Corium (ADHD drug Azstarys and Alzheimer’s patch Adlarity) and Pfizer (vaginal cream Premarin and synthetic growth somatrogon).
Sound reports that 70% of 2021 growth came from existing customers, most for AOR work. The agency grew from 12 AOR engagements at the end of 2020 to 21 at the end of 2021. Revenue jumped 10%, from $12.4 million in 2020 to $13.7 million in 2021.
To adapt to the changing composition of the agency, recent recruitments have affected all disciplines. But when asked about the so-called big resignation, Perkins says he takes it as a course in healthcare marketing.
“For more than 20 years in the industry, it’s been a constant problem,” he explains. “I want to tell all the kids in college to get into pharmaceutical advertising because they’ll have a job for life.”
Sound relies on its employees to be the company’s best advocates; Perkins estimates that 90% of recent hires are the result of referrals. Like many others, the agency has also taken advantage of the freedom offered by remote work to expand its pool of potential recruits. The agency has moved to an all-remote work environment, which Perkins says allows Sound “to look beyond an hour from Bridgewater, New Jersey.”
The company has a physical office that employees can use one, two, or five days a week, or not at all. Perkins reports that most employees have opted to remain fully remote.
“We’ve finally cracked the code on a work/life balance that everyone in every industry has been trying to figure out,” he adds. “The fact that we now have the luxury of working from home has created a better culture and happier employees.”
. . .
Work from outside the pharmaceutical industry you admire…
The Coinbase Super Bowl ad was very clever for many reasons. It broke up the mess and really got customers to take action, and people are still talking about it. — Perkins
Excerpt from the June 01, 2022 issue of MM+M – Medical Marketing and Media