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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Mission or Margin?

7 09 2009

Does it really need to be a choice when it comes to marketing?  Certainly not if you support cause-related marketing.  Whether you take a PSA approach or support micro-educational campaigns designed to increase awareness of a regional or national health issue, you can support your mission while acquiring new patients via screenings or other outreach activity.

Avera, a Catholic health system headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, just launched a bold campaign and one that should help heighten awareness of the need for men age 50+ to get an annual prostate exam. By incorporating experiential tactics (in this case screenings throughout the market) they will make patient and consumer contacts with the goals of enhancing loyalty and gaining new patients. They are also using some less conventional tactics and using media relations to generate earned media, further stretching the budget.

The good news is that this approach does not need to eat up a huge portion of a marketing budget and can easily support other annual service line and/or brand efforts.  In fact, public service campaigns may be available for license (see Serve Marketing or ask me if interested) resulting in a very cost-effective option if the message aligns with your objectives.

You Can Leave the Seat Up

You Can Leave the Seat Up. Just Don't Forget Your Prostate Exam.

The prostate campaign launched today and includes TV, print, radio and environmental tactics designed to catch attention in unexpected places (particularly men’s restrooms). An educational component is available online and includes a health risk assessment. By taking the campaign viral (posting on YouTube, Facebook, Tweeting links and having all hospital CEOs e-mail employees) the reach will extend — just how far is yet to be seen.

Toilet Paper

Tear Here. To Schedule a Prostate Exam: 1-877-AT-AVERA.

   Next time you are faced with the question of mission or margin, just be creative.  Both can be achieved and should be. It is time marketing departments stopped serving as order-takers and became more strategic — reaching out, touching lives and making a difference in the communities served.

If you’re interested in the results of the prostate micro-campaign, let me know and I will share the metrics post-campaign. And remember, healthcare comes complete with a slew of healthy holidays giving you built-in media opportunities if your tactics break through the clutter.  It’s not too late to pull something creative together for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and others that align with your strategic imperatives for 2009 and beyond.

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