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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry
BEST MEDICAL DEVICE CAMPAIGN
AGENCY OF THE YEAR, CATEGORY I
|Active business clients||37|
|Brands by 2013 sales|
|Brand-product accounts held||115|
Bayer Animal Health
Bayer HealthCare Consumer Care
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals
Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Cubist Pharmaceuticals
Teva Latin America
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
Undisclosed Pharma Company
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International
Intouch Solutions is the first agency in the history of the Manny Awards to climb from Category III to Category I in just three years, and this spirited shop shows no signs of slowing down, executives say. Intouch Solutions experienced 41 percent growth in revenue during 2013. Income reached $72 million, and the agency added 62 major new engagements and 120 employees for a total of 470 across its three offices.
2014 is a milestone year for Intouch Solutions as it represents the agency’s 15th anniversary. “We’ve stayed true to our original name, brand and niche for 15 years,” says FarukCapan, CEO and Med Ad News’ 2013 Industry Person of the Year. “We’ve always seen ourselves as the agency of the future. We strive to stay on the leading edge – a few years ahead of everyone else.”
In 2013, Intouch racked up 52 awards and nominations for creativity and innovation across apps, Websites, print campaigns, social initiatives, and more. The agency earned a CLIO Award and two OMMA Awards for the innovative PillCamCrohns.com website for Given Imaging. Intouch reaffirmed its leadership in social media with the launch of Sanofi US Diabetes’ interactive GetBloodSugarControl YouTube channel. Standout work for Bayer HealthCare’s KogenateFS, Gilead Sciences’ Letairis and Galderma’sCetaphil brands earned additional industry accolades. Recognized as Agency of the Year by Med Ad News in 2010 (Category III) and 2012 (Category II), Intouch Solutions was named Agency of the Year in January by Medical Marketing & Media.
In September, the agency launched Intouch Science, a group that melds medical communications with technology to create programs geared toward healthcare professionals. Leading the scientific expertise is Medical Director James Haupt, who holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and has more than a decade of experience leading creative teams. Another key hire included Jeff Huggins, a senior technology strategist with 30 years’ experience in hardware, software, marketing and Internet-based technologies. Creative marketing powerhouse Michelle Comparetti-Ziekert was named VP and assigned to lead the New York office.
Executives say throughout the growth, Intouch remained focused on its clients. “Our success is based on the fact that we deliver great outcomes for our clients,” says Executive VP Angela Tenuta, who leads the firms’ account teams and Chicago office. “I frequently post emails from thoughtful clients at the entry to my office, but this one is at my desk because it embodies our service focus. It reads, ‘Thank you for being partners who genuinely care, show passion for patients, and work tirelessly to ensure results.’”
The average tenure of Intouch Solutions’ top 10 clients is seven years, and Intouch’s first two clients – Teva and Sanofi – remain clients today.
With its data-driven approach, Intouch has helped its clients realize the promise of big data to deliver better targeting, engagement and results, executives say. “Our programs have become very sophisticated,” Capan says. “Customer profiling, predictive modeling, personalization, customization, real-time responsiveness … it’s all happening now.”
Agency leaders believe Intouch’s enterprise-level clientele are seeing the benefits of this integrated, data-driven model. “Our enterprise clients are realizing efficiencies,” says Executive VP David Windhausen, who leads the firm’s operations and technology services. “With our forward-thinking approach to building systems that have impact across multiple brands, we are a key partner not only to the brand teams, but to the eMarketing Centers of Excellence and IT as well.”
Multi-brand clients include Baxter, Bayer, Sanofi, Teva, Eisai, Genzyme, and Gilead.
Intouch continues to expand its healthcare professional marketing services, accounting for about 50 percent of the firm’s business. Executives partly attribute this growth to the continued success of the agency’s mobile platform, Allora, which added a number of new clients in 2013. New developments included live data capture applications and a new relationship marketing channel designed to help healthcare professionals with clinical workflow, patient education, and adherence tools. In June, Veeva Systems certified Intouch as a premium Veeva Web content partner, one of a few ecompanies recognized for innovation in developing content for the iRep mobile platform.
Agency leaders believe the rapid pace of change and the ever-increasing demands of pharma marketing are requiring agencies to take another look at established processes. In 2013, Intouch reinvented its ideation, design, and development process with the rollout of Innovation Lab. During the intense Innovation Lab process, highly specialized Intouch teams come together to work directly with clients and their customers to solve very specific challenges in an agile setting.
“We went from articulating a goal to a full-scale responsive prototype in 10 days,” says Group Planning Director Luke Perez. “We didn’t have to take the prototype into post-build research because clients and patients were part of the process, sitting in the room with UX, architects, and developers giving input at every stage. We built it together.”
For 15 years, Intouch Solutions has been looking forward and bringing that future to its clients. As the roles of pharma companies, marketing and agencies evolve dramatically, executives believe that Intouch Solutions is poised to continue to be the agency of the future. “The idea of AOR is archaic,” says Wendy Blackburn, executive VP. “Roles and responsibilities have shifted. We were born digital, but our role has expanded dramatically into strategy, research, analytics, media, creative, content, engagement, and other leadership roles. We’re essentially reinventing what it means to be an agency.”
In addition to continuing to live up to its reputation as a fearless, forward-thinking agency, Intouch Solutions plans to add to its unique suite of social media problem-solving products with the launch of a major new product in 2014.
The growing agency continues to expand its footprint. In 2014, Intouch will move its Kansas City headquarters into a new 90,000-square-foot space and expand its Chicago location onto a new floor. The New York City office expanded in 2013.
Capan has high expectations for the future. “We aren’t afraid to do things differently,” he says. “When we combine our focus on the client with our unique spirit of fearlessness, independence and innovation, we truly believe that anything is possible.”
In 2013, Intouch Solutions employees proved once again how passionate they are about the causes they believe in. Over the course of the year, 20 charity organizations benefited from the financial contributions and pro bono work of Intouch and its employees who put the “care” in healthcare marketing when they redesigned and launched SkinofSteel.org, the Website for nonprofit Skin of Steel, dedicated to establishing a center of excellence for melanoma research; developed and executed an e-marketing campaign for PADS Lake County’s “SleepOut for Shelter” event, including a microsite, SEO, and social media; organized a fundraising team for the Arthritis Foundation’s 2013 Jingle Bell Run/Walk; organized a cycling team for BikeMS to raise awareness for multiple sclerosis; collected donations for the Red Cross in the aftermath of Oklahoma tornadoes; and joined the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup to clear trash from the 12th Street beach in Chicago.
In addition, associates donated generously to the Harvesters’ food bank and the annual USMC Toys for Tots drive during the holiday season. Additional beneficiaries of Intouch generosity included the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Society’s Hope Lodge in Kansas City, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Hemophilia Foundation, and Parkinson’s Disease Research Society, among others.
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