The following blog post is divided into 10 chapters to provide a first-hand account of one public relations professional’s discovery of the hidden treasures in a leading marketing and advertising agency. Check back each week for a new chapter in this enlightening journey.
PART I: Leveraging what had been to understand what could be: A journey toward integrated, strategic marketing and advertising
Working in public relations at a community healthcare organization that had grown into two hospitals, 25 outpatient centers and over $1 billion in revenue for almost 24 years gave me a pretty good feel for the inner workings of an in-house public relations and marketing department. Our public team did everything a multifaceted team could do, or so I thought. Supporting the network’s healthcare and related services for years, responsibilities included media relations; public relations; community, staff and physician relations; event coordination; news releases; publication production; script writing as well as positioning and branding messages. Yes, that even meant dressing up in costume at times — as a blood drop during blood drives and Olive Oil for one grand re-opening. We were garnering community support, winning awards and meeting our public relations goals. What hadn’t we done?
We were about to find out. While communication and public relations had been essential to our organization since its inception, marketing during those early years was gradual in its introduction because our healthcare services were highly specialized and uniquely tailored to a specific senior demographic. As a result, any reference made in our previous business development plans to marketing and advertising was limited. By nature, they were more specific to business development than they were connected to the broader integrated, strategic marketing and advertising landscape.
For years, most things stayed the same in our in-house public relations and marketing department, including our demographic and the majority of our services. But the time came when the playing field changed. Communities grew. Our demographic diversified. Services expanded. It was time for our public relations and marketing approaches to change too. Integrated, strategic marketing and advertising were needed to grow and connect to the right branding and positioning strategy to enhance our corporate identity. We wanted to create differentiation and preference for our brand, which called for something beyond a company’s usual business development goals and in-house marketing practices.
The search for an independent full service Phoenix area marketing and advertising agency ensued, and there was no room for experimentation. We needed an integrated strategic marketing and advertising agency that had already tested the waters, knew the ropes, was experienced with new, emerging AND tried-and-true industry best practices, and could hit the ground running. And we demanded the best of business strategy, creative strategy and new technologies to meet our marketing and advertising goals. FabCom, a Phoenix area marketing and advertising agency specializing in cross channel, cross media advertising, one to one direct and dynamic marketing, and branding and positioning campaigns emerged the clear frontrunner.