It’s Time to Change the Conversation.

6 01 2011

Women know they need mammograms but they still are not getting them. It’s time we stop simply focusing on hope and tell the truth with love — women die of breast cancer. What is crucial is the rest of the story — mammography saves lives.

With the plethora of “pink” in October and the number of great organizations raising awareness and funds for research and eradication of the disease, awareness is not the problem.  We need to know why women do not get screened and take an emotional approach to move them to action. The facts and figures just aren’t working.

Why aren’t women getting screened? Secondary research shows fear often tops the list. It comes in two forms:  (1) fear of an actual cancer diagnosis and (2) fear of pain associated with the compression. Come on ladies, I have only experienced two thus far in my life but given the options I’ll have a mammogram any day.

Next on the list is time. So providers, take note. Night and weekend hours do go a long way for working women, particularly working moms. And mobile mammgraphy offered at the workplace may not be a bad idea either.

Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, CA, had good success attracting first time mammography patients by using an emotional appeal and a campaign titled “Men.” In an interesting twist, the men most important in our lives — fathers, husbands and sons — were used to tell the sobering fact that women still die of breast cancer and an annual mammogram is a woman’s best defense.

In just two months, the campaign which used an emotional cable spot, posters on bus shelters and buses, banner ads and a landing page featuring online registration, resulted in a 19% increase in mammograms, over 1 million banner ad impressions, 1,540 banner ad click-throughs to a landing page with online registration, dozens of online, print and broadcast stories and most importantly, 180 new patient encounters.

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One response

6 01 2011
Charles Falls

“Awareness is not the problem.” Ah, so true Susen. Awareness could lead to action, but it is NOT action. Marketers who use social media to generate action in the target audience suffer daily from this misconception — they think just getting fans, followers and likes is enough to drive business.

Malcom Gladwell wrote a lengthy piece about the idea of how awareness generated through social media means little, and the Chicago Tribune even wrote about the lack of progress in driving up mammogram screenings through the awareness methods. I summed both articles up and provide links to them here

Last, it’s really nice to see those spots for Mission. To patients, health is connected to emotion. To not tap into that in advertising messages is silly. Almost as silly as not having a call to action.

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