The Duluth (MN) Clinic Orthopedics department typically faces a lull from October to February. But instead of simply accepting that fact, the organization—which is part of the SMDC Health System in Duluth, MN—decided to do something about it. The team thought about patients who were putting off dealing with nagging bone and joint pain and asked itself: What is it going to take to get those people to call us?
The answer: Create an emotional connection with the target audience, and show they you understand their frustration, aggravation, and fear. In its submission essay, the SMDC marketing team wrote, "We wanted to raise awareness about the immediate access people in our region have to Duluth Clinic's … depth and breadth of orthopedic care, thereby gaining additional referrals."
The campaign, which won a gold award in the service line category at the 2008 HealthLeaders Media Marketing Awards, is also notable in that it had a relatively small budget. Using simple creative, including single-shot TV spots, the campaign came in under budget and still exceeded its goals.
The judges praised the campaign's emotional connection with the audience. "I really like this campaign," one judge said. "Its elements immediately caught my eye, and its theme will resonate with every aging adult who feels his or her bones aching. It's even better to learn that this was creative with such a small budget."
"Message, creativity, and objectives are all top notch," said another.
In the three months following the campaign, patient encounters in the department were up 14% when compared to the same period the previous year. The campaign surpassed its goal by 527 patients. The clinic saw 1,019 new patients and conducted 49 more surgeries.
This Campaign Spotlight was excerpted from Hospital Campaigns That Work, featuring the winners of the 2008 HealthLeaders Media Marketing Awards.