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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

MicroMass Communications Inc. 2014

Written by: | | Dated: Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

11000 Regency Parkway, Suite 300
Cary, NC 27518
Telephone: 919-851-3182
Facsimile: 919-851-3188

Quick Facts

Account wins 10
Account losses 4
Active business clients 14
Brands by 2013 sales  
Brand-product accounts held 20
$25 million or less 1
$25 million – $50 million 1
$50 million – $100 million 3
$100 million – $500 million 4
$500 million to $1 billion 2
$1 billion or more  
Services Mix  
Relationship marketing 38%
Advertising 25%
Behavioral consulting 24%
Medical education 13%

Client Roster

Acura Pharmaceuticals
Auxilium Pharmaceuticals
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals
BioCryst Pharmaceuticals
Gilead Sciences
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare
Grifols USA
NJ Rutgers Cancer Center
Novo Nordisk
Onyx Pharmaceuticals
United Therapeutics
ViiV Healthcare

More than 20 years ago, the founders of MicroMass realized there was more to pharmaceutical marketing than finding the perfect message, the perfect image, the perfect strategy or even the perfect drug, executives say.

“They understood that one of the best ways to get customers to notice your brand was to impact health behavior and produce better patient outcomes,” MicroMass executives say. “With roots in behavioral science, they decided to take an evidence-based approach, applying techniques from the behavioral sciences to drive lasting changes in patient and physician behavior. This specialized focus on building marketing programs to change behavior and accelerate patient outcomes has allowed pharmaceutical clients a unique path to better brand outcomes – one that not only helps brands stand out but also delivers lasting value to customers.”

Today, that approach could not be more impactful, agency leaders note.

“With healthcare reform placing even greater pressure on key stakeholders and demanding better outcomes with greater efficiencies, it is essential that pharma brands go beyond selling, and support patients and physicians in working together toward a common goal,” executives say. “With this in mind, much of MicroMass’ work in 2013 focused on helping brands achieve this real-world success by aligning patient and physician marketing efforts.”

According to agency leaders, the industry is beginning to recognize the value of this approach: MicroMass won business with three of the top 10 predicted future blockbuster brands in 2013.

The Year’s Accomplishments

In the ever-changing and uncertain healthcare landscape, MicroMass’ specialized approach effectively integrates evidence-based behavior change strategies into marketing programs, applying proven strategies such as motivational interviewing, goal setting, cognitive behavioral techniques and problem-solving to patient support, relationship marketing and nonpersonal promotion programs, executives say. These strategies are designed to unite patients and providers, helping them build the skills they need to overcome real-world obstacles and optimally manage their medication and conditions.

As more brands entering the market recognize the commercial value in this more holistic approach, clients have been turning to MicroMass to deliver on this unique capability, executives say.

“Many of the clients who come to us recognize that traditional marketing efforts are just not enough to address the complexities of human behavior that keep brands from being successful,” comments Alyson Connor, president and partner at MicroMass. “They are looking for a specialized partner with the capability to go beyond traditional promotional messaging to address underlying drivers of behavior and accelerate their outcomes.”

According to executives, the shift in the landscape and the need for more specialized services has created a demand for MicroMass’ distinctive offerings, as evidenced by its expanding client base. In 2013, the agency won work from Merck, Onyx, GlaxoSmithKline, ViiV, and BioCryst. In addition, MicroMass won five launch brands from Novo Nordisk, Gilead, Sanofi, and UnitedTherapeutics.

MicroMass has already started working on a range of projects for these new clients, including patient support programs as well as initiatives that bridge consumer and professional marketing efforts such as patient-provider dialogue programs and clinical field educator training and disease counseling tools, executives say.

“We are very excited about these new partnerships and the opportunity to demonstrate that applying behavioral science not only engages customers at a high level but also delivers real commercial value,” says Phil Stein, chief financial officer and partner.

Structure And Services

According to executives, MicroMass recognized the pressures being faced – beyond just brand marketing – across pharma organizations. “From R&D to corporate capabilities to field teams, accelerating outcomes is a critical success factor, and changing behavior is a relevant path,” executives note. “To address this need, MicroMass has applied their specialized approach to develop offerings in other areas such as medical communications, corporate capability building, and clinical educator team training/tools. These additions all ladder up to MicroMass’ vision of providing more patient-centric brand solutions across pharma stakeholders.”

Future Plans

MicroMass anticipates positive returns for its clients and looks forward to impacting patient engagement and behavior change directly at the point of care, executives say. To that end, MicroMass is beginning to partner with health systems and accountable care organizations on programs and services to help them scale impact and to accelerate outcomes in high-risk patient populations.

One project that has the halls of MicroMass buzzing, according to executives, is the agency’s new type 2 diabetes mobile app, Time 2 Focus. MicroMass developed the app to fill a gap in the marketplace and demonstrate the impact of everyday behaviors on health outcomes. Leveraging evidence-based behavior change strategies and gamification principles, this app was designed to help people living with type 2 diabetes build problem-solving skills, so that they manage their condition more effectively day to day in the real world. In mid-2014, MicroMass will launch a clinical trial to evaluate the impact of this intervention on HbA1C levels and plans to offer this app to pharma and health systems customers in late 2014.


Because community outreach is one of MicroMass’ core values, executives say time and energy are always set aside to help make a difference in the community. Even in philanthropy initiatives, MicroMass is focused on partnering with organizations that impact health outcomes. In 2013, MicroMass continued its pro bono partnership with DiabetesSisters on key initiatives such as developing promotional materials for the annual Weekend for Women Conference and helping support the annual orange:will Diabetes Awareness Walk.

MicroMass’ proximity to the Research Triangle Park has led to numerous strong partnerships not only with local pharmaceutical clients but also with community organizations focused on improving health outcomes in North Carolina, executives say. MicroMass raised funds and awareness again for the Masters of the Mulligan golf tournament, which benefits The Healing Place, a homeless and substance abuse rehabilitation facility. In addition to helping support The Healing Place, MicroMass was able to help Hilltop Home communicate its mission by providing fundraising materials. This private, nonprofit residential center serves children with severe developmental and medical disabilities.

Beyond providing creative and strategic services, MicroMass employees came together to support a range of local community projects, including collecting school supplies for BackPack Buddies, organizing a March Madness food drive to benefit Urban Ministries and giving holiday gifts to two families through the Raleigh Rescue Mission.

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