Barber Martin’s Assignment: Build Traffic for Patient First

By Jim Osterman

ATLANTA–When an advertising agency garners a healthcare account, it usually credits past or current clients in the same field. In the case of Barber Martin & Associates landing the Patient First business, however, the Richmond, Va., shop’s retail experience made the difference.

‘The selection of an advertising agency was crucial for us, particularly as our company will be entering new geographic markets with limited brand recognition,’ said Stephen Storey, executive vice president at Patient First, in a prepared statement.

The client is a provider of ambulatory care centers. It currently has 12 units in Virginia and Maryland, plus 12 more being developed in Baltimore under an agreement with Johns Hopkins. The Richmond-based client has budgeted $1 million for advertising expenditures.

‘We’ve had healthcare accounts before,’ said agency executive vice president Bill Martin. ‘But this one is very vertical and very specific, and it was our knowledge of the retail category that helped us. This whole deal is going to be judged on traffic–how many people we can send through their doors.’

Martin added that organizations such as Patient First seem to be moving away from emergency clinics and more into the primary care niche with the increasing influence of managed care health plans.

The win came the same week the agency was officially named to handle the $2.3 million Virginia Economic Development Partnership account (Adweek, March 31, 1997).

Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1997) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED