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Mammography Campaign Fends Off the Competition

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, May 19, 2010

OSF Holy Family Medical Center is constantly fighting for market share in the Monmouth, IL area. The 23-bed hospital has three much larger competitors within a 30-mile radius and its technology often lags behind. But the hospital held its ground this fall with a highly successful mammography direct mail campaign.

Holy Family marketers saved money by taking a campaign created for its larger sister hospital and adapting it to reach their target audience.

"It was a system campaign used in a sister hospital and we looked at the copy and artwork and it fit our market very well," says Eric Cunningham, the hospital's vice president of marketing and development. "It was great for us, a small access hospital, to be able to use that and put it into the market in a timely and effective fashion."

Cunningham's team worked with hippo, the healthcare division of Kansas City, MO, ad agency Muller Bressler Brown, to tailor the campaign for their market, making sure it would stand out from the competition.

"One thing that is pretty common when you look at these mammography campaigns is there is a fear factor to it—there's a fear of the unknown, fear of getting tested, fear of family history," says Shan Neely, creative director for hippo. "We wanted to take a more positive spin on it."

So marketers quickly came up with the concept that would become the "Make the Time" campaign.

Market research revealed "that one of the biggest impediments of actually getting a mammogram is time," Neely says. Women have jobs and kids and often the key challenge for them is finding the time to do it. "It wasn't that they were necessarily scared of the outcome or following through on it regularly, it was making time to do it," he says.

Before the campaign launched in October 2008, Holy Family averaged 18 mammograms a week. After the first mailing to 4,500 households, appointments jumped 39%. After the second mailing, they increased by 62%.

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