Advertising Agency in Baltimore, Maryland

GKV is celebrating over 30 years of creating advertising, direct marketing, branding, digital and public relations campaigns that have succeeded in the marketplace by challenging the status quo. While tradition labels us an advertising agency, we bring critical thinking, planning and innovative execution to every communications platform.

 
$100,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
50 - 249
 Founded
1981
Show all +
Baltimore, MD
headquarters
  • GKV
    1500 Whetstone Way, 4th Floor
    Baltimore, MD 21230
    United States
other locations
  • GKV
    India
  • GKV
    Netherlands
  • GKV
    Germany

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Sprint. McCormick, Maryland Lottery, Constellation, L3, Bridgestone Golf, Blue Shield of California, Molina Healthcare, MJHS, Aerotek, Shentel Communications, DSM, Miller Value Partners, Back to Nature, Snackwells

Reviews

Sort by

Multi-Channel Marketing for Healthcare Company

“They continuously exceed our expectations.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Apr. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

GKV develops digital and traditional strategies for integrated marketing campaigns. They produce direct mail, TV and radio ads, and photos for marketing collateral. PPC is used to promote online content.

The Reviewer
 
1,001 - 10,000 Employees
 
Long Beach, California
Kathleen O'Guin
VP Marketing, Molina Healthcare
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

GKV’s award-winning campaigns are generating a substantial amount of qualified leads. Whether they're experiencing random budget cuts or shifts in the market, their talented and flexible team can find marketing solutions to overcome any challenge.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Molina Healthcare is a managed healthcare company that provides Medicaid and Medicare services, in addition to our small marketplace practice.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with GKV?

Two major health insurance companies planned to merge their businesses and offload Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan (MAPD) members to a selection of healthcare companies. As one of the recipients, we built up our Medicare Advantage (MA) capabilities in preparation for the new coverage plan. We soon discovered that the Department of Justice denied the merger, but we decided to continue expanding our services to include MAPD. We didn't have the necessary resources to develop advertising strategies in house, so we needed to find a company who could use their marketing expertise to increase sales before the annual enrollment period (AEP).

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We had been offering and marketing a DSNP product for many years but hadn’t entered the MAPD market in a large way.  Because we needed to get up to speed with MAPD quickly, we decided we need the assistance of a Medicare specialty ad agency that could successfully assist us. GKV was that team.  They helped us with the entire product line for our first annual enrollment period. They helped us mapped out our marketing budget and developed an integrated marketing campaign tailored to specific markets. They were involved in not only the strategy development but also the creative production. We viewed their ad concepts, and from there, GKV produced a mix of direct mail and commercials for TV and radio based on our selections.  They also organized a photo shoot to create additional visual assets for our marketing collateral. As a result of our AEP results, we engaged them to assist us with our DSNP growth plan.  And, we plan to work together during this coming AEP.

What is the team composition?

An account manager, partner, and two junior staff members were present throughout the entire project, but we also interact with their creative team during the production stages.

How did you come to work with GKV?

AEP was fast approaching and executives had made a decision to prioritize MAPD as a growth product/strategy.  In order to assist us, we interviewed several companies.  We eventually chose GKV at the suggestion of one of the newly hired Medicare leaders who had worked with GKV at previous employers.  They had a proven track record of success for MAPD so we trusted the recommendation and it proved to be true

What is the status of this engagement?

We’ve been working with them since April 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We hit our AEP goal and even won an award for their terrific work. The number of leads we’re expecting to gain from the SNP campaign they’re currently working on is hopeful; we anticipate a 91% response rate, with 70% of those being qualified leads. They’re certainly meeting our expectations.  

How did GKV perform from a project management standpoint?

We’re scheduled to meet for an hour each week, but the meetings typically last until we address every topic on the agenda. They’re constantly sharing project files, proofing our materials, and working meticulously until the job is complete. Their organized workflow is impeccable, so they’ve never missed a deadline.

What did you find most impressive about them?

We were in the middle of a project when we had to make cuts to the marketing and advertising budget. Although GKV couldn’t complete our first large integrated campaign, they never made us feel like the circumstance was a burden. They adapted to the changes and helped us meet our AEP goals by maximizing our direct mail material. When we lost a contract for a state, they exhibited the same flexibility and modified our marketing strategy. They understand our industry trends, so they’re able to make adjustments accordingly.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We wouldn’t change anything about our relationship with them. GKV taught us many valuable lessons, and they continuously exceed our expectations.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Their performance is dependent on the information that you provide, so be as transparent as possible. We were upfront about our many challenges, so they were equipped to work with us to find practical solutions.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Agency of Record for Wireless Company

“[W]e've never had anybody help us drive the numbers like they've helped us drive the numbers.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
July 2013 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Initially hired to help increase sales in a single market, GKV is now the agency of record. The team's efforts include a metric-focused approach to traditional advertising, digital marketing, PR, and branding.

The Reviewer
 
501-1000 Employees
 
Edinburg, Virginia
Willy Pirtle
SVP of Wireless, Shentel Wireless
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Thanks to GKV’s skilled implementation of marketing campaigns in newly acquired regions, sales are among the fastest growing in the industry. The team’s blend of creativity and business savvy continues to impress.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

My name is Willy Pirtle and I'm the senior vice president of the wireless division of Shentel. Shentel is a regional telecommunications provider in the mid-Atlantic, providing landline, DSL, cable TV, and broadband services to 150,000 subscribers. The company also owns and operates the Sprint network in four states, providing Sprint Wireless service to 1 million customers.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with GKV?

As a small regional company, we’re at a disadvantage against the big telecom companies. We’d recently spent a lot of money building a network in central Pennsylvania, so our initial goal was to grow our business in that market. We were looking for an agency that had experience with helping so-called “challenger brands.”

Growing our business remains the key challenge. We purchased another regional wireless provider in rural Virginia and West Virginia, which tripled our size. But it was an unknown brand and we're still competing with the larger companies.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

GKV handles a wide range of marketing services for us. They create radio and TV ads. They implement our digital, social, and mobile strategy. They help with public relations, including press releases and campaigns. They were instrumental in the launch of service when we acquired the territory in southwest Virginia and West Virginia. They created a new campaign to introduce us to that market by emphasizing the size of our network and the money we spent to improve service in the region.

We regularly share market research with the team at GKV. Then we get together as a group to talk about if and how we should change our strategy to be successful in each market.

In 2013-14, they helped us rebrand the Shentel side of the organization. The rebranding updated our look by changing the logo and color palette. It also educated employees about what it means to work for Shentel, and how to treat customers.

How did you come to work with GKV?

We were searching for an agency that had experience with challenger brands. We’d used a number of agencies over the years, but were never really satisfied with the performance.

We researched online to figure out what kind of agency would be best (size, geographic scope, expertise, etc.). We invited several agencies to come pitch us based on what they knew about us and what they would do if hired.

GKV stood out because of their focus on measurements and results. Their creativity was good, but they were committed to proving that the creative is going to move the needle. If it doesn’t, they reconsider, reevaluate, and do something different.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent close to $5,000,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Work began around July of 2013, and they remain our agency of record.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Our wireless business is the second fastest growing wireless business in the industry. When you consider that we’re a Sprint affiliate and we’re growing faster than Sprint, that’s proof what they're doing is working. We're not only adding more customers, we’re keeping more customers because churn is low and our Net Promoter Score [NPS] is high.

They're very anxious to be measured, and to help us understand what factors drive our business. That's why they're the best agency we've ever had.

How did GKV perform from a project management standpoint?

I don't deal with day to day project management, but I hear they do a very good job. I know it gets done well and on time.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I’m most impressed with their mix of business acumen and the creative intelligence to effectively move the needle with marketing, advertising, and promotions. They understand creativity alone is not going to drive the marketplace, add phones, and grow our business.

They have a very strong management team. The account team is great; the people they've assigned to us are all top notch. But at the end of the day, we stay with them because we've never had anybody help us drive the numbers like they've helped us drive the numbers.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They could be less expensive.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Make sure you know what you want them to do. Have mechanisms in place to measure what is important to your business. Make them partners in achieving your goals, and you will be successful.

5.0
Overall Score They really couldn't be any better.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They're always pushing us to get things to them on time.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They're always willing to talk about what we can do better, different, faster, and less expensive.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They’ve created many award winning commercials for us.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would absolutely refer them to anybody.

Advertising for Food Production Company

"They have worked tirelessly on our behalf despite not being able to announce who they’re working for."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
Feb. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Using creative tones provided by another agency, GKV provides production of traditional advertising, including print and TV. They also provide social media marketing support on Facebook and Twitter.

The Reviewer
 
1,001 - 10,000 Employees
 
Baltimore, Maryland
Marketing Operations Coordinator, Food Production Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

GKV is able to provide communication strategies that are better suited to local radio and traditional media, and the team has been invited to pitch on additional pieces of work. They have a strong, strategic team, and the team analyzes ever decision carefully. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We are a food production company. I am the marketing operations manager running all the agencies' budgets, packaging, and licensing.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with GKV?

We found that a full-service advertising agency that serviced a $1,000,000,000 brand wasn't well equipped to service a $10,000,000–$40,000,000 brand.

We wanted someone who knew products unique to this market and could support the smaller brands in our portfolio. We needed flexibility to handle different brand needs and the capability to expand into the social and digital sides of the business.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

It started with traditional advertising in print and TV, but they’ve expanded beyond this and are building our social capability. They’re in the process of picking up the entire social aspects of our $1,000,000,000 brands. Our full-service agency provides the creative tone, look, and feel, but the actual physical production is GKV. They take the mood boards and create the various elements, whether it’s for posting on Facebook or Twitter.

We're also inviting them to pitch on new pieces of work.

How did you come to work with GKV?

We did a pitch and GKV won.

How much have you invested with them?

Over $1,000,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in February 2017, and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

They refocused our energy on how we should communicate one of our local brands for radio and other traditional media, though the results aren't in yet.

They’re in mode to create our end-of-year campaign, which is currently a work in progress.

How did GKV perform from a project management standpoint?

They have a good strategic thinking team. They take the strategy, look at it, and put it through their process, and they’re cautious on how they would make any changes. They’ve done a couple of things for us that perhaps they weren't keen on, but they do what's asked of them. I'd rather let it go through their strong strategy process and come out the other end, and then decide if it aligns and what needs to be changed.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Proximity. This is the first time we've aligned with a local agency for more than just local brands, so we have great flexibility. They’re so nearby, people go and visit them all the time. They’re very accommodating, and they don’t even have to be.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Most brands want to show multiple points of difference for an ad. It would be helpful if they were more forceful in saying, “This is why you only need 1 point of difference. This is why you need a huge thing that says, 'Branding for the product.'" They have the better creative eye.

4.5
Overall Score They have worked tirelessly on our behalf despite not being able to announce who they’re working for. I give them a lot of credit for doing that.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They recently pushed back a deadline. It was to their advantage that they did it, but it was a bit unfortunate.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They’re not as cheap as I anticipated. I do question their production costs. There are more efficient ways to produce.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They’re responsive and willing to adapt to whatever we ask.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve recommended them 3 times.

Branding & Marketing for Medical Company

“They understood after a couple of sessions with us what we were looking for.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Sept. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

In an effort to clearly state niche service offering, GKV redesigned a website, making it mobile-friendly and allowing in-house staff to make updates. Additionally, GKV produced three videos. 

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Baltimore, Maryland
Alan Cohn
Founder, AbsoluteCARE
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

GKV’s videos have helped to increase onboarding of new patients dramatically. The videos and website combined now help audiences quickly and clearly understand the services offered, creating a smoother sales process. The team was responsive, and their creative was high-quality. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the CEO of AbsoluteCARE, an ambulatory, intensive care unit medical center. We currently have 3 locations, and we're going to be adding another 8–10 locations over the next several years. These are large medical centers that focus in on the sickest of the sick, people who have multiple chronic conditions and major behavioral and social issues.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with GKV?

It's not always easy for people to understand what we do. Often times, people think we're a hospital. Some folks in our industry think we're a federally-qualified health center, which is different. We wanted to redo our website to explain what we do. We started as an infectious disease medical center primarily focused on holistic care of HIV and AIDS. After many years, we morphed into a chronic care medical center. We needed to change that image and explain the benefits of AbsoluteCARE to our target audiences (the insurance companies and potential members). We also wanted to provide an explanation to providers considering joining our team.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

GKV redesigned our mobile-friendly website. They set it up so our in-house staff can update what they created. They also produced three separate videos for us, one directed toward health insurance companies, one for prospective patients, and one for new team members. They put everything together in a way that allows us to combine the products that they created with marketing collateral to tailor to our audience.

How did you come to work with GKV?

I've known Garry Raim [Partner, EVP Direct & Interactive Marketing, GKV] for decades. He is well-known in the healthcare industry because he came out of healthcare. When we interviewed them, they were realistic about what the right deliverables should be. They weren't the least expensive, but they weren't the most expensive either. They understood what we were looking for, and I had confidence in their competence and their integrity.

How much have you invested with them?

We've spent around $100,000­–$200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We've been working together since September 2016. We're always adjusting, changing, and adding.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

When we showed the video to potential members, it helped us increase the onboarding of targeted new members dramatically, pushing a 2­3-fold increase. In the past, we explained as best as we could what we were doing, but people didn’t understand until they visited one of our medical centers. When we show them the videos, all of a sudden, we get the same feedback that we used to get after they would travel to visit one of our centers. We're able to get the sales process down the path more quickly and inexpensively using these videos, instead of flying people in to see one of our centers.

How did GKV perform from a project management standpoint?

They nailed it.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their creative was terrific. They understood after a couple of sessions with us what we were looking for. They quickly laid out a sketch of what they would create. They were very responsive. They didn't waste time and resources unnecessarily. And, they did it within the time frame and within the budget.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No.

5.0
Overall Score They're terrific. I expect to be using them forever.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They always delivered within deadlines.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They gave us everything we wanted. If they could do it for less, that would be great, but that’s not realistic.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They delivered everything. They under-promised and over-delivered as far as the initial estimates and timeframe. We get rave reviews of the videos from the target audiences.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Multi-Channel Marketing for Insurance Company

"We were big winners that year; we far exceeded the goals that were set for us."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
Apr. 2013 - Dec. 2014
Project summary: 

As the agency of record, GKV provided traditional advertising strategy and creative, including TV, radio, and print. The team also offered digital marketing, CRM setup, display advertising, and metric tracking.

The Reviewer
 
5,001-10,000 Employees
 
Long Beach, California
Former Vice President, Insurance Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

GKV's work quadrupled sales from the prior year, and they far exceeded their goals. The team's strategy and creative work demonstrated a clear understanding of their goals, and the end result was a notch above competitors' advertising. They were excellent planners, communicators, and executors. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the former vice president and general manager of senior and consumer markets for a major insurance company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with GKV?

I was hired to grow the company's market share with seniors. I had similar roles in prior companies, and this company wanted to replicate my previous success. I took a look at the product portfolio and realized it was deficient in terms of how many opportunities were going to market. 

I had used GKV in a prior role and had very good success with their work. I called them in to do an assessment of the company's business planning, the marketing plan, and the multi-channel advertising campaigns. GKV did a full assessment, made recommendations, and I decided to hire them as the agency of record to help support the growth of the business.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

GKV took on all marketing and advertising responsibilities. They helped me contract with a database management company to set up CRM activities. They put together the advertising plan for traditional as well as social media campaigns, and then they executed all of our multi-channel campaigns.

They also helped me internally set up an enrollment tracking system. The company did not have capabilities internally, and GKV helped us creative performance metrics. They also helped set up methods to track the performance of all the campaigns almost from the ground up.

GKV's work in traditional media included direct mail, newspaper, FSIs, outdoor television, both cable and network, radio, and car wraps. The digital side included search engine marketing, Google optimization, banners, Facebook, other social media outlets. You name it, they did it. They provided the creative work for all of these mediums as well.

Our company didn't have many of these capacities internally; we didn't know how to track campaigns, we didn't have a database, and we didn't have a CRM. GKV was able to not only do the traditional advertising of creative and media placement, but they were able to do a lot of the wraparounds: performance tracking, campaign management, a lot of the things that we the capability for.

What is the team dynamic?

GKV's team worked really well our teams; they had a very positive working relationship. GKV was very responsive and they were very helpful. There was very little expertise within the organization when I joined, and I had a very short time period to bring all of this up and get the sales rolling. I needed somebody who could hit the ground hard running.

How did you come to work with GKV?

We did an informal RFP and spoke to 4 firms, 3 others plus GKV. Part of the deciding factor was the track record we had together at my previous company. I knew they understood the business as well as the marketing and advertising needed. They very quickly assimilated with our company's team.

How much have you invested with them?

I spent $1.5-2 million with GKV on agency fees, TV production, creative, execution of the campaigns, and the media buy was around $8 million.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked with them from April 2013 to December 2014.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

I needed to hit 10,000 new sales in 2014, and we achieved 12,500. We were big winners that year; we far exceeded the goals that were set for us. That was the key test. The year prior to when I got hired, my company only garnered about 3,200 sales. For us to go 4 times that amount was a big jump. A lot of the credit goes to the good work that GKV did for us.

The other key metric that I looked at as the client lead was my cost per sale. GKV brought us efficiency, and they reduced our cost by at least one third. I appreciate how diligent GKV is in trying to maximize every dollar we spend.

How did GKV perform from a project management standpoint?

They are rock stars. They are excellent at project management.

They were able to build media and production schedules: concept timeline, to creative timeline, to production timeline, to performance tracking timeline. They were able to plan all of that and able to keep us on that schedule, which is never an easy feat.

They have excellent account managers, whether it's in the media department or account team. They are clearly well experienced and very impressive. They are great at communicating.

They provided relevant timelines, and they set up weekly client account management check-in meetings. By conference call, we went through those timelines every week. If we happened to fall off a timeline, they usually knew it before we did. They communicated, we adjusted and moved forward. They were also very good at hitting the marks, delivering on time and on budget. I never had a problem with them with their costs. They were always right on the money.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They understand the business. They took the time to learn the business in a way that none of those other agencies that we talked to at the time bothered to do. GKV's creative, account management, and thoughtfulness about what the business was and what the business needed ended up making our creative smarter and more actionable than our competitors.

Their deep understanding of the business before they tried to build marketing and advertising plans was a notch above the other agencies I talked to.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I can't think of a thing.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They are really good at meeting deadlines.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Their bids consistently came in lower than the other firms.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They're always on time and on budget.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I already have.