CrowdPharm offers new agency service model
The former president and founder of Palio, Mike Myers, has teamed up with the head of a Kansas City-based consumer agency to launch CrowdPharm, a crowdsourced international healthcare advertising network.
Myers says he and Steve Bernstein, the head of Bernstein-Rein Advertising Inc., “were talking about just the current state of advertising agencies and what clients want, and then what procurement departments are really seeking and wanting from their agencies, and we sought to build a different type of model, a completely flexible force. There are companies out there that have done that in the past, and we pay attention to them and have looked. The thing that we really wanted to do beyond just having a flexible force, was having a flexible force with size and muscle.”
As the agency’s launch press release states, “CrowdPharm has the capacity to develop more original strategic and creative solutions than any legacy agency. With professionals working across time zones, the agency delivers strategic and creative solutions faster. Clients searching for compelling, original thinking that sets their brands apart benefit greatly from this new model.”
According to Bernstein, clients pay for what they need, when they need it, with every marketing dollar at work for them. “Our on-demand model is more efficient and cost effective for our clients,” Bernstein says. “Our typical turn around time is between 3-10 days. This is a new world model designed to make every marketing dollar work harder, smarter, and faster, without sacrificing quality.”
“What we’ve sought to build is an organization that can really plug in premiere talent to specific needs in real time for either short or long term engagements,” Myers says. “But because it’s flexible force, and because we have so many resources available, we can always move fast. We always have resources available versus looking at who’s got time at an existing agency, as we used to do at Palio and other shops. And we can always apply really robust and appropriate talent. At the end of the day, what we’re finding is that we can work faster, we can work less expensively, and the quality is the same.”
Although there are many great agencies out there with international breadth – holding companies or large agencies that have offices all across the world – CrowdPharm is offering a different type of approach, because “there appears to be some exhaustion around the typical AOR model of filling a building with talent and then fighting to keep them billable,” Myers says.
“We’re only getting people engaged who say they want to be engaged,” he says. “We’re not dragging people kicking and screaming into a room and saying, ‘All right, you have to work all of this weekend again.’ You’re either in or you’re out, and because of the size of our network, we’ve always been able to find people who say they want to be in.
“Oftentimes pitch work or concepting work within an agency is considered extra work. Every agency operates that way, and I am not saying that there is anything inherently wrong with it, but all of a sudden people are working 100-hour weeks, and there’s a lot of downstream negative impact on an organization. But because of the size and breadth of our organization, we have the ability to tap into only those who are interested in playing or participating. We don’t get griping, because if you didn’t want to be there, you don’t have to be there.”
CrowdPharm has been operating for about eight months, nut Myers and Bernstein didn’t want to publicly announce the launch until the network got to the size it is now. The 800 members of the network have skills ranging from specific medical editorial to medical strategy from M.D.s and Ph.D.s, account strategists, web development, app development, sales aid development, concept development. There are also full-time employees overseeing the work, including a full time creative director, a full time planner, and some full-time strategist/account people.
“This isn’t Fiverr, this isn’t some company where you drop something over the fence and see what comes back,” Myers says. “We curate and we manage.”
The agency’s immediate goal is growing its resource pool and people that it works with. “Initially, our goal was to get the network to up to 1,000 people, but since we got to 800 so quickly, our goal now is 5,000, which is probably going to take us a little while,” Myers says. “So for the next 12 months, we’re going to be moving down that pathway.”
CrowdPharm not only has worked with clients and their brands, but has worked with other agencies as well. “We can go in and be white label and do work for them, and enable them not to pull their resources off of something else,” Myer says. “All agencies use freelance resource, so we’ll be tapping into that and offering that capability.”