Fischer & Partners has established itself as the best healthcare public relations firm in the west, and it has done so without recourse to the pharmaceutical sector, which provides the bulk of the revenues for most PR firms in the healthcare marketplace. Instead, Fischer has positioned itself as the premier most knowledgeable firm in several underserved categories: medical technology, hospitals, HMOs, and—in the past year—e-health. Within those practice areas, Fischer provides a full range of PR services, including corporate and product positioning, media relations, crisis communications, sales support, Internet and e-commerce advice, trade show support, employee communications, and investor relations.
The firm has expanded its integrated marketing capabilities over the past 12 months, developing a suite of online programming capabilities including web site design and content development, online direct marketing and online advertising, and also offering clients offline advertising services. At the same time, it refined its approach to media relations, creating a media services group that provides strategy across all accounts and hiring MWW Group veteran Rob Rice as managing director and head of the media relations team. The firm also expanded into the biotech arena at a time when the mapping of the human genome is expected to spur major growth.
The result is that after a year of consolidation—a conscious choice after the departure of a major client and the imposition of a moratorium on new business—Fischer & Partners saw fees rise better than 50 percent in 2000, on a pace for $5.6 million. New business has come from clients such as PacifiCare Health Systems (publicizing the company’s partnership with the American Diabetes Association); biotech company CombiMatrix; Micromed in the cardiovascular sector; and oncology Internet portal IknowMed. The firm continues to handle high-profile assignments for iScribe (a major integrated marketing effort), Alara (for the launch of a new bone densitometry system) and others.
In addition to Rice, the agency hired Betsy O’Brien Merryman, formerly of Porter Novelli, as vice president in the e-health group, adding to a management team that includes founder Roger Fischer and agency veteran Aimee Corso, Jim Bardwil, and Robert Berra. The firm is planning to open its first satellite office, in North Carolina, in 2001.