The "pulse approach" tactic began in February with Mercy Health promoting its cardiovascular service line followed by its orthopedic, cancer, and bariatric services. DeTora says that in addition to being financially limited, there was also not enough time to do a separate rebranding campaign for each business sector, which is why the health system decided to essentially find one message that would resonate with patients and use it for each service line throughout the year.
"To optimize our minimal marketing budget, we developed an overarching brand campaign creative structure, but launched only service line campaigns all falling under the master brand umbrella," says DeTora. "This was to build brand consistency and frequency of messaging to drive overall consumer preference, while still delivering patients to very specific service lines."
The first step was finding out consumers' perception of Mercy Health. DeTora partnered with Swanson Russell, a full-service marketing and advertising agency, to help carry out quantitative and qualitative brand research. A consumer telephone survey of 800 participants showed that preference for the hospital had decreased since 2010, the last time the hospital system had surveyed consumers.
Knowing that competition had increased, DeTora wanted to find out how Mercy Health could stand out from the crowd. Five focus groups, made up of 15–20 people each, informed DeTora that patients preferred a doctor who would spend time with them.