Best in Show, Large Hospitals: Mayo Clinic
"We planned for 4,000 and had an estimated 15,000 attend our opening event," said Sara Lee as she spoke during the ROI roundtable panel at the 2008 HealthLeaders Media Marketing Awards. "On Friday night there were streams of people. It was like a rock concert."
The Mayo Clinic public affairs consultant was referencing the grand opening event of the Rochester, MN, campus' Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center—an 115,000-square-foot employee health and wellness center donated by a patient and benefactor of the same name. Even before builders broke ground on the facility, hospital marketers were constructing what would become a highly successful internal marketing campaign, which won a Best in Show award among large hospitals.
Lee says the campaign had four objectives: to keep employees engaged during the 18-month construction process, to inspire a healthier lifestyle, to generate pride and excitement, and to celebrate the grand opening. They achieved this by launching a print campaign and by promoting the center with special events.
The print campaign consisted of direct mail and magazine ads that feature Mayo employees who are striving for personal wellness goals. This message coincides with CEO Glenn Forbes' ambition to create "the healthiest work force in America."
"What Mayo does really well is share stories. We knew that those success stories were out there, and we wanted to tell them," says Beth Warren, director of the Healthy Living Center. "We wanted to create a sense of, 'Yeah, I can do it, and I can do it here at Mayo.'"
Marketers also decided to use employee testimonials to stress that fitness can be possible despite a busy work schedule. "Sometimes people may think that they've got so many other priorities that wellness falls to the bottom of their priorities," says Lee. "It's basically a way of saying you need to put yourself first. Our primary value is the needs of the patient come first, which is still very true, but you have to care for yourself before you can care for others."
Hospital employees were also invited to take hard-hat tours of the center as it was being built and visit a Web site containing updated construction information and video testimonials of employee wellness success stories. All of this hype resulted in the expectations—exceeding grand opening event, but the campaign's accomplishments didn't stop there.
Since the Healthy Living Center opened, membership has increased steadily by about 150 people per week. By the end of 2007, more than 14,000 members had joined—a 40% increase from the outdated 9,000-square-foot facility's membership.
What's more, employees are not only joining the center, but many are very active participants. Warren says an average of 3,500 people use the facility each day.
Lee says she hopes to keep employees engaged by continuously marketing the center.
"The platform kind of shifted from the opening of a building to ongoing employee health and wellness, which slides into an employee workplace wellness program," she says. "And the HealthyLiving Center is the hub of that activity."
As part of this effort, membership fees are incentive-based—the more employees use the facility, the less they are charged. This tactic, in addition to continued communication, has resulted in a 200% increase in utilization.
Lee says she attributes much of the campaign's success to employees—herself included—appreciating the administration's efforts to improve their lifestyle.
"This [campaign] just elevated my pride and my commitment to my employer for caring about me," she said. "It's not just the building—it's the programs and all the support that comes with it."
Best in Show, Medium Hospitals: Helen DeVos Children's Hospital
When marketers at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital held focus groups to gauge the impact of their "40 Specialties" marketing campaign, they knew they had succeeded when participants would quote the campaign's recurring tagline unprompted: "That's like a gazillion."
And the campaign wasn't just popular with locals—it won a Best in Show award among medium hospitals at the HealthLeaders Media Marketing Awards. The Grand Rapids, MI, hospital launched the "40 Specialties" campaign in 2007 because it needed to capture additional market share and promote its new brand identity—a name change, new logo, and, in 2011, a new hospital.
"There was lots to be done to update the brand and also to communicate the idea that this organization was making a significant commitment to improving children's healthcare by expanding pediatric capabilities through addition of new specialists, and with them new medical capabilities," says Tom Hanley, director of marketing and communications.
The campaign consisted of print, outdoor, television, and radio ads and aimed to stress to parents that children have different medical needs than adults and should therefore see pediatric specialists, something that challenges many children's hospitals.
"With that campaign we emphasized the 40 specialties that we have—neurology, cardiology, orthopedics, whatever it might be—and then began the process of informing parents and educating parents about how their kids' bodies are different than adults. A hospital that understands these differences can be crucial in the treatment of children," says Chris Cook, president of Fairly Painless Advertising, the agency that worked with the hospital.
Because the Children's Hospital is currently part of an adult hospital facility, the campaign's main goal was to increase awareness and market share. The hospital set a goal of increasing market share by 1% per year and 2% year-over-year volume growth.
"Part of our challenge is that until the new children's hospital opens in 2011, we are a children's hospital within an adult hospital system, so it's not like we're visible from the road," Hanley says. "There's not a sense of place yet."
Quantitative research done before the campaign launched found that there was 24% of unaided awareness in the hospital's primary service area and 28% of marketing share in the primary and secondary service area. Twelve months after the campaign launched, unaided awareness rose to 47% and market share reached 33% in the first quarter of 2008. Helen DeVos has also seen a 3% market share increase, compared with 0.5% for all Midwest children's hospitals.
"No other hospital in west Michigan could make that claim in terms of having 40 pediatric specialties, so that was our area of distinction," Hanley says. "This [campaign] is helping get attention. And it's also supporting other marketing and physician relations and business development goals."
He says the hospital is currently working with referring physicians in 37 counties to explain the value of having a children's hospital with numerous pediatric specialties in the state.
Hanley says Helen DeVos has already launched the next phase of the campaign as they prepare to promote the new $250 million children's hospital that is set to open in the first quarter of 2011. They plan to submit it for consideration to the 2009 Marketing Awards.
"It's basically taking the theme of '40 Specialties' and elevating it up to a higher level," says Cook, who accepted the Best in Show award at the Marketing Awards event Oct. 15. "Strategically when you land upon a good idea it makes sense to go ahead and explore and embellish that idea."
Best in Show, Small Hospitals: Clarian West Medical Center
At the bottom of a print ad promoting breast cancer awareness and the Clarian West Breast Care and Research Center—a Best in Show award winner among small hospitals—there is a clue.
It reads: "If you want to get in shape, this is the place to go. Recognize the state bird and you're in the know. Stop by the desk in Avon. Let the hunt begin. The game is now on."
The marketing campaign, called "The Hunt for Pink October," was also a scavenger hunt. The Indianapolis hospital's marketers integrated the game into the advertising in an attempt to have its Breast Care and Research Center marketing stand out in October, a competitive month for breast centers.
"We knew we didn't want to be lost in the sea of pink messaging around Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it just got our wheels turning on how could we be out there, how could we reinforce some of the messages that we've started to build, how could we participate in educating women and stand out and have a little fun," says Cathy Stoll, director of marketing, communications, and public relations. "We wanted to find a way to engage the community in a different way."