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Powerful Patient Storytelling

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, April 15, 2009

Click to view larger version.Shriners Hospitals for Children is facing the same economy, market conditions, and consumer trends as everybody else. With declining fraternal membership and rising healthcare costs putting pressure on its donation-driven revenue model, it needed to raise awareness about its mission and benefits.

Good marketing is all about good storytelling. And the "Defy the Odds" campaign scored such high marks with the 2008 HealthLeaders Media Marketing Award judges on that point that it received a platinum award among large hospitals in the Best Children's Hospital category. They were especially impressed with the 30-second TV spots featuring patient testimonials, calling them compelling, conversational, and effective.

One spot features several children. "I shouldn't be talking to you," says a girl on a swing. "I shouldn't be playing baseball," says a boy at bat. "I shouldn't be doing this," says a girl lacing up a pair of roller skates.

"The success stories were remarkable and heartwarming. Very effective message overall," one judge said. "Seeing and hearing from the children was powerful in this case," said another.

Crystal clear objectives with real numbers qualified the campaign as a success. In the first 11 weeks of airtime, the campaign generated $8,000 in donations, with an average donation of $65. In the first five weeks that the 60-second TV spot ran, 1,768 calls were generated.

Additionally, inquiries and physician referrals are up, and the ads created awareness that led to media exposure and PR opportunities, including mention in a special editorial in the New York Times.

Are you ready to show off your healthcare marketing campaigns? Make sure to enter the 2009 . The deadline for entries is May 29.

This Campaign Spotlight was excerpted from Hospital Campaigns That Work, featuring the winners of the 2008 HealthLeaders Media Marketing Awards. You can order a copy of the book on the HC Marketplace page.

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