North Carolina Hospital Considers 6 Opinions

North East Medical Center Wants to Hire Healthcare Experience
ATLANTA–Six Southeast agencies have made presentations for the advertising and marketing duties of North East Medical Center in Concord, N.C., a hospital about 30 minutes north of Charlotte, N.C.
Carol Lovin, the hospital’s vice president of strategic planning and market development, confirmed that the final stage of an agency search was in progress.
She listed the shops that were invited to present, culled from a larger number which had preliminary talks with the client, as: The Adams Group, Columbia, S.C.; Thurston, Richmond, Va.; Noble Steed Associates, Baltimore; and Charlotte agencies Elberson Senger Shuler, Bryant & Clark Communications and Steedman Communications.
Lovin said that an annual budget had not yet been determined, but a source at one agency not invited to pitch said they were told billings would be between $800,000 and $1 million. An executive at one of the finalists, however, speaking on the condition of anonymity, called that figure
North East Medical Center’s last formal agency relationship was with Newman, Saylor & Gregory of Columbia. The shop parted ways with the client when the facility’s then-chief executive officer accepted the same post at regional competitor Presbyterian Healthcare Hospital and brought NS&G with him.
Since then, the medical center has used a variety of local agencies for project work in what Lovin described as “a transitional phase.”
Lovin said the hospital’s top priority is to hire an agency with an extensive healthcare track record and one with no ties to any other area medical center. The marketing executive said she would “prefer” to hire a nearby shop, but is “fully prepared to go outside the state” if convinced that an agency beyond South Carolina’s borders would do the best job.
“What I really want is a partner,” said Lovin. “Someone who is equally interested in market research, planning, and who’s prepared to focus the advertising on the market research and then doing some tracking.”
Lovin said a final decision would be made before the end of April.