If Carol Hayes’ brain lit up every time she had a great idea, she would be a walking, talking beacon of bright light.
Hayes is founder of Virginia Creative Group (VCG), a marketing and advertising agency that works primarily with medical, dental and orthodontic groups to establish their brands and then draft a plan using a suite of creativity and knowledge. The goal is to bring patients through the door and keep them coming back.
An idea guru, Hayes’ brain is forever engaged, always searching for inventive ways to bring her clients to the market’s forefront. She is a rapid-fire innovator who punctuates her sentences with southern charm.
“I’m constantly thinking,” Hayes says. “I love learning anything new.”
Hayes started in marketing 11 years ago after a dentist asked her to edit a Yellow Pages’ advertisement for him. She realized at that point that there was a whole world out there for her to market. Hayes launched VCG in 2011, operating from her home until recently, when she moved to Oyster Point. She has 12 technologically and artistically savvy employees.
VCG has grown significantly over the years, finding a niche market in medical and dental practices. The firm completes a whole marketing package for its clients. A key piece of that is to conceive a practice’s message and use colorful graphics and succinct wording to relay what the doctors order. It’s a turnkey process, meaning all pieces of the plan are ready for clients with little work required on their part. “We create a flight map. That’s the fun part. We do from A to Z,” says Hayes.
Hayes talks to her clients and their patients to extract just what their brand should reflect, and then she and her staff begin bringing the process to life. VCG covers all potential marketing platforms, including social media and user-friendly websites, to get its clients in front of potential patients. VCG also focuses on the staff and the potential experience patients should have coming in and leaving the office. That all matters, Hayes says. Sometimes, VCG will train a staff in how to improve the office environment for its patients.
“Everything we do is very boutique,” Hayes says. “We make everything just for the practice. We put it all together.”
No one knows that better than Dr. Anthony Martin, the local dentist who first asked Hayes to edit his Yellow Pages’ ad. He has been Hayes’ client since then and says VCG has “revolutionized all the marketing we do.
“Carol and her staff are extraordinarily dedicated to the growth of each practice they work with,” he says. “They design individual, customized marketing plans for us. There is nothing stock about what they do. They have their hands on the pulse of how people look for things,” he says.
“We have seen a lot of growth and that’s single handedly because of Carol,” Martin adds.
With a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s in art, Hayes combines the best of both sides of her brain. Before starting VCG, Hayes was a photography professor at Meredith College. She is a natural learner and teacher who thrives on bringing life to her ideas.
“I’m a self starter,” she says. “I do what it takes to get it done.”
That motto is due in large part to her late father, who used to tell her that success was 10 percent talent and 90 percent hard work. Curious by nature, she is always trying to satisfy her mission to get it all done, especially to exceed her lofty expectations.
“My brain does marketing 24 hours a day,” she says. “I feel like it’s a natural for me.”
Hayes says her team is “talented, hardworking” and at the top of their game when it comes to using available marketing avenues and producing highly creative, effective work. The staff, she says, brings an incredible skill set to the table.
Marketing is a field in constant flux, says Hayes, a planner, list maker and perfectionist to the core. That’s what makes it challenging and fun, she says.
“It’s always evolving,” she says.
“We are constantly looking at what we’re doing to get better and better.”
VCG represents clients in Virginia, Alabama and Georgia. While VCG has grown, mostly from referrals, Hayes is careful to limit the growth.
“We are big on doing it well for a small amount of people,” she says.
Hayes enjoys working with dental and medical practices, bridging the science and marketing worlds by making information understandable, accessible and graphically appealing for the patients. She says that approaching the information from a creative angle and “breaking it down into digestible lumps and making it more understandable” for the patients is key.
“All the pieces have to come together,” she says. “We connect the dots. I love the part where clients see results.”
Watching practices benefit from VCG’s work has been most rewarding, she says. “We get to see great practices benefit,” she says. “We really get behind a doctor whose heart is in the right place,” she says. “We are in this to make a difference. We want to get people to good doctors, good practices and good medical care.”
TO THE POINT:
Virginia Creative Group
Contact: Carol Hayes, owner
Address: 734-A City Center Blvd.,
Newport News, VA 23606