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Over the years, much of Relevate Health Group’s work has been driven by the notion that all healthcare is local. In 2020, that proposition hit home, given the variability with which COVID-19 played out in different parts of the country.

To hear CEO Jeff Spanbauer tell it, the message landed with new force. “It raised the antenna and awareness for a lot of our clients — that doing local and scalable work is really important,” he says. “The way a brand performs in New York is a lot different from the way it performs in Cincinnati or Vermont. Understanding that variability and how to tailor a message to be locally relevant can help companies break through the clutter and drive product performance.”

Amid the pandemic, Relevate moved decisively to bolster its offering. In December, it announced that it had joined forces with data and analytics specialist agency Arteric. The deal fused Relevate’s local marketing prowess with Arteric’s digital chops to create an entity, dubbed Relevate + Arteric, with a unique set of skills. 

Relevate + Arteric

“What we saw was a real opportunity to bring together these two capabilities to create something different and powerful — which, I’d say, is a powerhouse for local marketing at national scale,” explains Hans Kaspersetz, the former Arteric president and chief strategist who’s now Relevate + Arteric’s chief innovation officer.

Indeed, Arteric’s digital fluency should help Relevate play on a larger, perhaps more national stage, allowing them to reach doctors and eventually patients through new channels. Kaspersetz believes the merged organization’s four core products — SpeakerShare, PracticeShare, FieldShare and a lexical analysis tool — should serve to strengthen overall execution.

For example, PracticeShare adds integrated marketing muscle to local KOL and data programs, while FieldShare taps HCP behavior to place timely and relevant messages in front of them. As for the lexical analysis function, it uses machine learning to examine the content landscape and determine the brands that have a higher probability of outperforming competitors.

Taken together, Spanbauer says, the products should help Relevate + Arteric avoid generic, impersonal national campaigns. “We’re helping brands create relevant content that’s going to work the right message in the right market, versus trying to do the one-size-fits-all thing — what we call the ‘peanut butter spread,’” he explains. “We’re a lot more focused.”

While the two firms didn’t formally unite until late in 2020, their combined revenue grew from $24 million in 2019 ($18.3 million from Relevate, $5.6 million from Arteric) to $28.2 million in 2020. The growth was spurred by new assignments from Pfizer (on three brands), AstraZeneca (four), Janssen (five), Clovis Oncology and Sanofi (two each), among others. Overall head count spiked from 91 full-timers at the end of 2019 to 128 a year later.

Kaspersetz sees the trend continuing in the second half of 2021 and beyond. “We’re going to continue to bring innovative new products to market that are based on our data and market insights,” he says. “We’re confident that the transition to national-scale local marketing is going to transform the way brands perform and the way pharmaceutical companies and life sciences companies bring brands to market.”

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The idea I wish I had…

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Dashboard was an amazing tool that compiled data and shared the impact of COVID globally, but allowed users to understand that impact down to the county level. This information has been invaluable as we have managed and communicated during the pandemic. — Jeff Spanbauer