Uptick in revenue to an estimated $16 million
“To continue leveraging our unique perspective working with pharma, biotech, and hospital system clients to develop innovative, locally relevant marketing solutions”
“More and more marketers will find ways to use local data to better target and measure their marketing campaigns”
Last year was something of a startup year for Relevate Health Group. After Healthcare Regional Marketing (HRM) acquired Spirit Health Group in 2015, both agencies kept their names and operated independently until last November. It was at that point they formally united and assumed the Relevate moniker, which company principals say best reflects the common mission of driving local relevance.
Though HRM and Spirit had been in business for a combined 30 years, president and COO Jeff Spanbauer says 2016 felt like the early days of something new.
“So many exciting things happened in terms of our culture and client work,” he explains. “We built a solid foundation and we kept evangelizing the need for local relevance for the healthcare industry.”
HRM’s core competency was helping pharma, biotech, and device companies engage physicians in local markets. Spirit’s specialty was driving consumer and patient engagement for hospitals in local markets.
Uniting the two agencies strengthened business across the board. For example, HRM’s experience in driving physician engagement is helping hospitals, such as new client Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, engage physician groups. “Sharing best practices between the firms has been invaluable,” says CEO Bill Goldberg. “Our ability to innovate across the healthcare market, as opposed to one vertical, shines through.”
Cross-pollination of expertise has also given rise to new offerings including Healthcare Connect, a multichannel physician-engagement service that amplifies brand messaging and sales reach, and Enterprise, a digital patient-engagement platform that drives specific business goals in clients’ target markets.
Healthcare Connect evolved through a series of pilots for a global eye-care company. Given the success of those pilots, the relationship expanded into a multi-year contract for U.S. work. This year, the client extended the engagement to include pilots in Canada.
Enterprise launched last year to help a New Jersey-based healthcare system grow its bariatric-services business. Goldberg explains that the platform delivers specific performance data and can address all local market patient engagement, navigation, or conversion issues. It has since been rolled out with additional clients.
Relevate won seven new hospital clients and 11 new pharma and biotech brands last year. Spanbauer says some accounts were lost on both the pharma and hospital side, mostly due to client budget cuts or restructures. Revenue is estimated at $16 million, up from $13.5 million after 2015 revenue was re-estimated. Employee size is at 77 full-timers, up from 70.
While most of the firm’s work is project-based, Goldberg says it can compete — and win — when pitted against big AOR-type agencies when the work involves a sizable local-market component. Case in point: Relevate recently won an AOR account from what Goldberg says was a global pharma client, for customer marketing.