Acuity Targets Healthcare

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As talk of consulting companies and advertising agencies moving closer together abounds, Rapp Collins and its parent company, The Omnicom Group, recently announced the formation of a healthcare consulting practice to deepen their healthcare marketing capabilities.


The new consultancy, Acuity HealthGroup, will be headed by Ron Dhoble, who previously was executive vice president and chief operating officer at Torre Lazur Healthcare Group, a healthcare advertising agency of McCann-Erickson Worldwide, and has spend 12 years on the client side with Lederle Laboratories, Wallace Laboratories and Rorer Pharmaceuticals. His title will be president and chief operating officer.


Marketing executives from Rapp Collins and the other Omnicom agencies with specialties in applies statistics, clinical medicine, information science, promotion response modeling, systems engineering and a host of other topics have been identified to serve as consultants in the new firm.


The consultancy's work will support marketing goals identified by pharmaceutical executives surveyed as part of a study conducted by Diversified Agency Services, an Omnicom operating unit. The report found that 85 percent of executives planned to focus more on database-driven consumer marketing and relationship marketing and that 78 percent plan to focus more on direct-to-patient marketing.


"When you look at pharmaceutical DTC ads and commercials, that's one way to go -- but there is also a whole other way to go," Dhoble said. "Companies have said they will spend more on building databases and on individual connections. In lay terms, they want to connect to help people better handle their diabetes, better handle their asthma. The data shows that people are changing doctors and changing plans much more frequently than they did 10 years ago, and that leaves many with a bottle of pills and their best judgment."


While database work may involve relationship marketing and retention work, Acuity HealthGroup plans to be heavily involved with prospecting. Reluctant to reveal precise methods, Dhoble said the consultancy will identify new prospects and conduct back-end work for direct-to-consumer advertising in accordance with privacy regulations.


The consultancy's brochures describe a five-step process through which it will enhance brand profitability:


* Assessing or helping to build a company's database.


* Helping the company segment its customer base.


* Administering marketing through Rapp Collins or other Omnicom Group agencies.


* Restructuring the organization of a company to best handle its new marketing tools and programs.


* Enhancing competencies to help the company stay competitive.


The alliance with Rapp Collins and Omnicom Group agencies will help Acuity HealthGroup provide end-to-end solutions for clients who want them, Dhoble said.


"While many consulting firms can investigate, understand and recommend, we can also execute and measure by saying we have identified these groups in Omnicom or Rapp Collins that can carry out this plan," he said.
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