Breast Cancer Campaign to be Highlighted During August AMA Program

22 07 2011

In June, AMA Milwaukee named the recipients of its Excellence in Marketing awards. The awards are given to Wisconsin companies that demonstrate exceptional marketing strategy, execution and results.

Bvk was honored to receive recognition for a breast cancer campaign developed for Mission Hospital in Orange County, California. Mission operates two facilities and both were experiencing a general decline in mammogram appointments and increased competition from both free-standing, investor-owned sites and competing area hospitals. As a result, bvk was asked to develop a campaign that would increase mammogram volume by 13% (200 cases) over a four week period.

Research had shown awareness of breast cancer was at an all time high. However, less than half of the women who should have been getting screened were taking preventive measures. All of the facts and figures were not moving women to take action. Instead of relying on a rational appeal, a compelling, emotional approach was used by bvk to move women to action.

Bus Shelter Poster

The core message was simple — women die of breast cancer and early prevention saves lives. The twist was in the delivery. Unexpected spokesmen were used, including a father, husband and son who each had all lost a woman in their lives as a result of breast cancer.

A TV spot, bus shelter posters, bus sides, posters, rich media banner ads, a landing page and earned media were part of the integrated campaign.

The work cut through the clutter and proliferation of pink by changing the conversation. Mission Hospital exceeded its volume goal with 267 mammograms scheduled and the best news was that 67 percent of the women scheduling were first time patients.

Learn more about micro campaigns and this particular case by attending the August 16th AMA luncheon at the Italian Conference Center. The event begins at 11:15 a.m. with networking, followed by lunch and three 20 minute presentations.

In addition to bvk, work created by Bader Rutter and Boelter + Lincoln will be discussed. A little insight on each project is offered below. I would love to see you there if you have interest. Registration information and full details for the luncheon event can be found online at 

Dimensional Mailer

Budget: Less than $250,000
Winner: Boelter + Lincoln for client Strattec Security Corporation
Boelter + Lincoln’s direct marketing and PR campaign for automotive lock manufacturer Strattec Security Corporation took top honors in the “Under $250,000” budget category. Boelter + Lincoln helped Strattec launch its BOLT® series of locks in conjunction with several trade shows, including the huge Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas. Designed to raise awareness within the automotive aftermarket and commercial truck industries, B+L created a three-dimensional direct mail piece offering SEMA Show attendees a BOLT® lock sample upon redemption. In conjunction with this piece, they also conducted a short-term media relations campaign to secure coverage in automotive and truck trade and enthusiast media. As a result of these efforts, Strattec surpassed their booth traffic benchmark and admittedly high goal of a 25% direct mail redemption rate by seven percentage points. The media relations campaign garnered coverage in over 80 media outlets, including Consumer Reports, SPEED network and several nationally syndicated radio programs.

Print Ad

Budget: Greater than $1,000,000
Winner: Bader Rutter for
client Dow AgroSciences

After a successful launch of the PowerFlex herbicide product, Dow AgroSciences wanted to build upon their momentum and communicate a harder-hitting message. Bader Rutter was asked to help position PowerFlex as a solution for excellent control of tough grasses and broadleaf weeds in winter wheat. The campaign was targeted at 250+ acre winter wheat growers in 13 states across the Central Plains, Pacific Northwest and the Delta. Because the challenges farmers from each of these regions face are different, Bader Rutter tailored the campaign to each geographic region. They developed an integrated campaign using a combination of television, radio, interactive and print media which featured an iconic image for powerful performance against weeds – a battleship in a sea of golden wheat. The campaign immediately caught the attention of growers and earned Dow AgroSciences a threefold increase in unaided awareness – from 2.9% the previous year to 8.9%.


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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Cut Through the Clutter with Microcampaigns

11 09 2010

Are you stuck in a rut, implementing the same tactics and talking to the same audiences year after year? Do you need to break through, capture attention and drive individuals to action? Then maybe it’s time for a paradigm shift – moving from marketing campaigns to a series of fully integrated communication tactics using targeted, emotional messages for the symptomatic audience. This powerful, provocative approach can change the dialogue, encourage interaction and reap results.

 Next Tuesday, I will be part of a  fast-paced, interactive session at the SHSMD conference in Chicago that will introduce the concept of micro-campaigns and take you through practical implementation. I will be joined by Gary Mueller, executive creative director at bvk and Keith Whitworth, marketing manager at Southeast Missouri Hospital. Together, we will ask participants to forget everything they learned in marketing 101 and focus instead on human behavior. We will ask you to look at marketing challenges in a different way, working to unearth an interesting statistic or fact and make it so interesting it stops people in their tracks and gets them talking.

And because the resulting tactics themselves are newsworthy, you can stop even more people and generate ample buzz when earned and social media strategies are included in your plan. Storytelling also allows for physician and patient involvement so expertise and clinical sophistication can also be leveraged. Rather than investing marketing dollars to compete, we want you to completely change the conversation. Then, once you have engaged prospects, compelling calls to action can drive traffic to experiential tactics designed to create interactions and build a relationship or sense of community. Only then can you expect to be viewed as a personal, approachable and trustworthy resource.

If you have been itching to shake things up but been afraid to step outside of the healthcare norms and are attending the conference, I hope you will join us from 1:45-3:00 p.m. next Tuesday. We will  be sharing 2009-2010 tactics from a variety of clients and show how providers have put micro-campaigns to work and created highly visible and memorable campaigns capable of generating an exponential return for every marketing dollar invested.

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What Challenges Do You Face Post-recession?

4 09 2010

I just came across a recent study and wanted to share the results. Accenture reached out to 400 individuals in lead marketing positions at companies with more than $1 billion in revenue to ask what issues were most important as they move ahead.  Here are the results:

 SOURCE:  Onward and Up: How Marketers are Refocusing the Front Office for Growth, Accenture.

Surprised?  I have to say, I am not.  For years now I have been advising healthcare providers to focus their marketing on three core things. It may sound simplistic, but I feel they hold the keys to your success.  But I will admit I order them a bit differently: 

 (1) Never take your eyes off of your prospects — keep your primary focus on acquistion of new patients. And don’t forget that often means your key target is your referral source and not the patient himself. (Channel management is key).

 (2) Build relationships with your current patient base to ensure loyalty. This means you need to start conversations and learn what is important to them. Work to develop meaningful touch points in your communications, use experiential tactics and CRM to cross-sell services over time. Don’t ever assume that exposure to you once will guarantee return visits.  Research shows not even women who deliver their children at your site maintain loyalty to you over time. Needs change and patients shop by condition and even body part these days. Take nothing for granted — work to earn loyalty.

(3) Increase revenue. Seems so simple but I see this as a blend of the #3 and #4 issues on the Accenture study.  You need to be a true marketer and not just a communicator. Work with your leadership and clinical teams to develop new services and products of value to your community. Whether this means you need to recruit in new specialists, acquire new technology or simply extend current offerings, product development is key. But you don’t have to be wildly innovative or invest a small fortune to increase sales — simply making services more accessible (think online registration, second opinion programs, online health risk assessments, same day appointments, retail clinics, etc.) can extend your reach and increase your traffic and revenue.

While the Accenture study was not an exclusive healthcare study, I must say they results were great to see. They confirm that I am not completely crazy and only add validity to my strategic marketing platform and the need to keep your focus narrow and course steady.  When its time to start market planning for your next fiscal year, keep it simple and work to acquire new patients, enhance loyalty and increase revenue and you will be well on your way to meeting your organizational and departmental objectives.

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On February 29, Bryan Should’ve Died.

2 09 2010





Would that get your attention? Outdoor boards carrying this and a similar message went up throughout the Sioux Falls region last week. Today the meaning was finally revealed during media interviews under one of the boards by local stations KELO and KSFY. It was all for the launch of, a landing page designed to help Avera create awareness of the emergency and trauma services it provides throughout the region. In the morning, the reveals will go up — boards that route viewers to a landing page where they can read the story of Bryan and several other individuals who faced death and survived as a result of the medical care provided at an Avera facility.

The campaign which includes both public service and promotional messaging and also includes print and banner ads, was designed to get people thinking about medical emergencies. Often families have a tornado or fire plan but have never discussed what to do in the case of an auto accident or other unforeseen incident. We want people have emergency health plans, to know they should never be embarrassed to call 911 and to acquaint themselves with their nearest Emergency Department.

 The August issue of the Journal of American College of Surgeons reveals cracks in the U.S. trauma system.  An article cites trauma as the leading cause of death of people under 45 in our country and states many regions do not offer adequate trauma services. A combination of a shortage of surgeons and gaps in coverage hinder access to timely, appropriate care. That’s exactly why Avera works to ensure high quality emergency care is available throughout the region. The health system offers emergency care at 27 locations and has eEmergency care available in 14 communities, bringing trauma and emergency medicine consult to areas without 24/7 access to a physician. tells the stories of real people from throughout the region whose lives could have changed dramatically if emergency services were not available. In the case of trauma, access to timely, optimal care during the first golden hour has been proven to save lives, restore function and prevent disability, according to Dr. Brent Eastman, author of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons article. By featuring real patients, bvk and the Avera team were able to show that real emergencies are happening around us all the time and that fast action by local emergency teams can ensure that life saving medical care can be administered. We also wanted community members to have confidence in the care available locally and know outstanding emergency treatment is available throughout the region because of the efforts of Avera and its team of expert caregivers.

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Outdoor Demands Attention.

1 09 2010

Is it possible for a tactic to generate earned media simply because of the approach taken? Absolutely! And great success can result when a public service announcement and education are combined with a unique marketing approach.

Tonight in Sioux Falls, SD, many  folks traveling along Minnesota Avenue took a second look. Over the last week, regular commuters had passed an outdoor board which featured a woman seated on a stretcher. Behind her was the scene of a motor vehicle accident. The board was intriguing but tonight it was down right attention getting. The van on the board was smoking and tonight smoke was trailing off the board — yes, the board was smoking.

 Around town, you can find two similar boards. One features a football player and the other a farmer. Each uses the same intriguing headline which includes a date and the simple statement “I should’ve died.”

What’s this all lead to? Check back on Friday to see how this campaign launch unfolds and whether the unique tactic and a series of emails can generate media attention.

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What Does a Polyp Really Look Like?

6 03 2010

Just ask students in Cape Girardeau, Mo., where three teams of students from the University are building larger than life colorectal polyps. The design contest is part of a larger campaign designed to create awareness of colorectal cancer and the importance of early detection. 

The contest started at 10 a.m. this morning in the local mall and will conclude this afternoon with selection of a winner by a panel of medical professionals and community members at large.

The three polyps will then go on a road show, to help carry forward the message of Southeast Missouri Hospital — early detection saves lives. 

Maximizing its partnership with the mall, the hospital has also installed bathroom stall door clings and has informational take-one cards available providing information on the warning signs of the disease and routing interested individuals to an online health risk assessment for more information and offering a telephone number to schedule a colonscopy.

What a great opportunity to create a buzz by combining both guerilla and viral tactics. Can’t wait to see if the local media picks it up. It all started as a tactic to create a stir but a little imagination and community partnerships made the concept of the oversized polyp expand and grow.

And the winner is…


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