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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

Convergence Point Media: 2017

Written by: | | Dated: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017


Convergence Point Media
205 E. 42nd Street, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Telephone: 212-243-5932



CPM achieved steady growth over the past year, maintaining or expanding its existing client roster while onboarding five new brand accounts, according to its leadership team. “Of note was the expansion of two enterprise relationships with major U.S. Rx portfolios, buttressed with incremental wins in the rare disease, GI, and women’s health categories,” exes note.

The Year’s Accomplishments

Several new initiatives took root in 2016 as CPM continued to develop key areas of focus such as Rx enterprise search evangelism; best practice enterprise Rx digital compliance processes and effectiveness; and dynamic path-to-purchase campaigns for OTC and consumer health products, managers say.

CPM also enhanced its team in 2016 with the addition of Keith Penn as an SEM practice leader, while adding media operations staff to support steady growth. Executives say Penn, a thought leader and advanced subject matter expert, has written three instructional books about paid search and has a dedicated SEM blog in addition to his impressive collection of digital marketing certifications.

“As is the case with much of CPM’s core team, Keith’s agency experience comes from 100 percent pharmaceutical clients,” executives say. “He has managed and grown PPC portfolios in the respiratory syncytial virus, influenza, oncology, diabetes, COPD, cystic fibrosis, cardiology, PD psychosis, and celiac disease categories, as well as for hospitals and healthcare providers.”

Structure & Services

CPM is a pharma-specialty audience activation agency built around a core philosophy called “perspectives-based planning,” according to agency leadership.

“It starts with a discovery process that uncovers the unique ‘digital DNA’ of each brand’s audience – the needs, preferences and beliefs that determine their treatment decisions,” executives say.

“It’s informed by real-world data culled from search engines, social media and custom research, mapped to the patient treatment journey and supplemented by a deep-dive client onboarding engagement process that establishes actual brand business goals as marketing KPIs. This consistent mindset has kept us focused on the leading edge of the discipline, ensuring that our clients are supported by highly knowledgeable, attentive, and experienced subject matter experts focused on creating and measuring brand value. It also keeps us free to serve as allies to agency partners.”

According to agency leaders, this commitment has allowed Convergence Point Media to cultivate three unique strengths. These strengths are a dedicated focus on search/media/inbound marketing for specialized pharma portfolios; MLR excellence and thought leadership on best practices for achieving maximum effectiveness and compliance; and a deep-seated culture of knowledge-sharing and collaboration. “Being a valued strategic search partner requires the perspective and ambition to consider the entire ecosystem,” executives say. “A brand’s visibility is a function of not just its website, but the collective impact of its patient marketing, sales organization, non-personal professional promotions, PR, social media and disease state education efforts. Keyword governance, messaging segmentation and audience engagement can only be fully optimized when a brand and its search partner are aligned on the full portfolio strategy.”

In developing thought leadership and best practices in MLR excellence and achieving maximum effectiveness and compliance, agency leaders say CPM has been leading the way. “Since FDA’s 2009 letters to 14 pharmaceutical companies establishing standards, CPM has been a leading voice in setting standards for guidelines, solutions and processes to ensure the best-practice compliance of search assets,” executives say. “Further, we have helped client brands achieve category leadership by leveraging our regulatory expertise to forge advanced strategies for marketing effectiveness while competitors have either taken ill-advised risks or taken cover in overly broad restrictions.”

And when it comes to its culture, “CPM has a unique history of proactive collaboration with agency partners, stemming from our role as clients’ core strategy agency, positioning us as central point of cross-agency contact, and direct invitation from non-competitive agencies seeking our expertise,” executives say. “We have thrived in this role because search marketing and the destination experience are interdependent, requiring close alignment of the search team with brand strategy, creative and web/digital development. Recognizing this, CPM’s culture is built on essential values associated with knowledge sharing, collaboration and a group focus on measurable accountability. At the end of the day, we understand that our success can only fully materialize if the larger team succeeds.”

According to agency leaders, “We view ourselves as an extension of our client’s team, committed to both strategy and execution – and as dedicated subject matter experts for all things search/digital media. Our goal is to ensure client success by defining meaningful goals and working to achieve them with innovative tactics that adhere to best marketing practices and sensitive pharma boundaries.”

In order to accomplish this, executives view education, collaboration and knowledge sharing as essential value-adds. “CPM provides POVs, Lunch-and-Learns, ‘101s’, spotlights on new search developments, brand workshops and disease state summits, partnering as appropriate with respected search engine and thought-leader partners,” executives say. “The search/digital landscape is constantly evolving and can be a minefield if agencies are reactive instead of proactive. Alternatively, an educated and aligned cross-agency/client team can operate on a higher level and set the gold standard for its category.“

Agency leaders say, “Because client satisfaction and results are why we exist, CPM chooses to place a premium in investing in our current clients with the care and attention of senior, experienced talent – the people who prepare and present new business presentations are the people clients will be working with day to day, so nothing is left to guesswork. “

Future Plans

According to CPM executives, the future of pharma brands belongs to search.

“Our passion for digital pharma stems from its positive impact on the lives and health outcomes of patients served by innovative therapies,” agency leaders say. “We believe that search and the digital ecosystem can and should be held accountable for its impact on brand performance. The full expression of this potential comes when the barriers to data management and systems interoperability are addressed. As search, social, mobile, web, EMR and sales platforms slowly converge and content proliferates through ever-expanding digital channels, we are committed to partnering with our clients’ research and sales analytics teams to measure and optimize the impact our efforts have on patient outcomes.”

The agency is committed to making programmatic advertising a core channel for pharma, much as it has become for other industries with less onerous privacy and regulatory sensitivities, executives say.

“Mirroring the prior wave when social media took shape as a viable pharma channel, the industry is only now beginning to embrace programmatic, but the available solutions are wildly inconsistent in terms of standards and quality,” agency management says. “CPM is devoted to being a leading voice in shaping the environment for programmatic pharma solutions.”

Additionally, CPM is devoted to shaping industry-wide improvements in the quality and effectiveness of digital marketing and measurement, to raise the bar on industry marketing effectiveness and to ensure brands maximize their positive impact on patients’ lives, executives note. Examples include raising display viewability standards; addressing challenges around ad-blocker technology; and finding innovative ways to improve patients’ relationship with ads in general.

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