CrowdPharm offers something no one else in healthcare advertising had offered before: access to the best minds in healthcare around the world.
Founded in 2017 by Mike Myers and Steve Bernstein, CrowdPharm Partner, this full-service healthcare advertising agency does everything—from logo design and convention booth design and planning, campaign launches and creative concepts, to websites and social media. Their core services are not different than those of their competitors. How they deliver these services to clients and their brands, however, is fundamentally different on almost every level.
By combining the skills of their full-time personnel with carefully chosen individuals from CrowdPharm’s global network, CrowdPharm creates teams that are scaled to the demands of its clients, ranging from brand strategists and graphic designers to MDs and PhDs.
The agency has received several accolades including MedAdNews Agency of the Year 2023, MM+M’s Best Places to Work 2021 and 2022, Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces 2022 and 2023, and PM360 Trailblazer’s Professional Campaign Gold 2022.
Rewind To The Beginning
Describing himself as a diehard Wildcat, Mike Myers holds an undergraduate degree in business from the University of Arizona. He had no ties with advertising or the pharmaceutical industry, yet to prep for the job he thought he wanted, he practiced his interviewing skills with Eli Lilly and Company and started his career as a pharmaceutical sales rep in Southern California, combining his love for science and his passion for business in one streamlined channel.
He went on to earn an MBA from the University of South California, and was recruited to New York City when DTC (direct to consumer) advertising was in its infancy. A mutual friend introduced him to Ed Mitzen, who was interested in starting an ad agency. Together with creative guru Guy Mastrion, the trio launched Palio Communications—a firm that took off like a rocket ship and grew to over 150 people and 3 offices around the county.
It was during a conversation with good friend and University of Arizona alum, Steve Bernstein, who runs Bernstein-Rein Advertising, that the idea of creating a new model in healthcare advertising became a reality. The kernel of the idea came from a firm that Bernstein had founded and that CrowdPharm acquired in 2022, called Boom Ideanet.
The Real Business Picture
Being an advertising agency, CrowdPharm is in the service industry. And according to Myers, any client who deals with agency services has experienced frustration to some degree.
With 30+ years of healthcare advertising industry experience, he believes that the industry operates the way it wants to work vs. how clients want to work.
Passing the mic to Mike Myers to paint his picture for you-
“Here’s an example of the disconnect: Most agencies bill their clients in quarter-hour increments. This approach to billing became mainstream when clients were no longer willing to pay agencies a percent of media billings. In a word, paying a service firm for the time they spend on something is counterintuitive. Not that anyone is doing it, but agencies are financially incentivized to work slowly.
Clients are also paying for the “brilliant billion-dollar idea” in an amount equal to the brief period it took to come up with it. It’s counterintuitive for both parties to work this way.
While I completely disagree with it, I do get it. In many ways, technology has minimized the creative work product that agencies produce. If someone’s daughter can build a logo or shoot a video on their phone in 10 minutes, why would you pay an ad agency hundreds of thousands of dollars to do something similar? It’s not the same thing or the same work-product quality, but it’s close enough for clients to be demanding faster agency work and more and more cost savings.”
Make Way For CrowdPharm
Myers and Bernstein wanted to build something better. They wanted to be able to tap into the abundance of global strategic and creative healthcare talent in real time and focus on their people.
CrowdPharm aligns full-time team members in their 5 offices around the world to ensure client continuity and the highest levels of engagement and oversight. Their special approach really starts when they augment these core team members with talent from their proprietary global network, PharmYard.
PharmYard, has 7,200+ members from 120+ countries around the world. The agency builds custom client teams in real time, aligning the right people at the right time to give clients the best quality of work. They can have over 100 people working on a project in 24 hours or less. And they can scale back to a small core group just as quickly, providing high-quality work, flexibly and cost-effectively.
As an example, CrowdPharm has almost 1,000 contractors with cardiovascular experience in their global network. And while they don’t need all of them at one time or for one client, they can provide any client in this therapeutic area with people who really understand this market and its healthcare providers and patients. In PharmYard, the agency has people with experience in every therapeutic area in healthcare.
Behind The Scenes- Challenges and Opportunities
At CrowdPharm, it’s all about their people.
“We have an amazing culture, an exceptional team, and a ‘no a@#hole’ rule. Combined, this has enabled us to attract incredible talent and clients and together we’ve done some really strong work. As we grow, we don’t want to sacrifice any of these things.”
The company also takes measures to ensure optimum customer satisfaction. Surveys are regularly conducted to obtain feedback and used to enhance and improve their way of working and strategizing.
“More importantly, our team members are constantly engaging and working to ensure that we’re doing the right things in the right ways for our customers. I am also in consistent contact with our clients to discuss needs, and issues, and to catch up in general.”
Myers makes sure that the team listens to clients and adjusts accordingly. The team is also firm on their core values and will not sacrifice them at any cost or do things they don’t believe are in the best interest of their business, and therefore their clients’ businesses, regardless of who requests them.
Faith in The Future
The future looks bright for the vision of Myers and Bernstein. They recently launched a sister consulting firm Hot Iron Health in 2022.
CrowdPharm also has plans to expand and recently launched CrowdPharm Asia Pacific with an office in Singapore. CrowdPharm Asia Pacific is a joint venture with WeTheBrand out of Vietnam that enables CrowdPharm to service clients with needs in this region of the world. The launch also helps the agency push work around the world overnight achieving almost two days of work done in one.
Mike Myers also aims to launch further evolutions with PharmYard. The plan is to add artificial intelligence and machine learning to the global network enabling the company to serve better to clients.
One Entrepreneur To Future Entrepreneurs
Myers probably has enough experience to write a book at this point. His best advice for future entrepreneurs is to be willing to fail forward and always be moving. Failure isn’t final or fatal. It is an opportunity to move ahead and improve.
Keep pushing ahead. Success will come to the person who never gives up.
About The Leader
Mike Myers, Managing Director and Partner at CrowdPharm, is a business graduate who has been working in the marketing and advertising industry for over 30 years. With his business partner Steve Bernstein, he plans to lead healthcare advertising to new pathways and heights.