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Research Boosts Branding Results; Here's Proof

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, September 4, 2013

"Mercy probably has a marketing budget for all four hospitals equal to one competing hospital," she says, noting that the competition includes academic medical centers, such as Penn Medicine, who have monster marketing budgets, and as such, big campaigns.

Knowing that, DeTora focused on Mercy Health's target market of households with income $50,000–$100,000, to find out what they wanted from a hospital.

"In this campaign, we really tried to understand what was more important to the consumer first," says DeTora, who says the hospital held focus groups with consumers in the fact-finding phase of the rebranding and also in the test marketing phase.

What emerged from the consumer focus groups was surprising, says DeTora. There was a gap between the consumer's and hospital's definition of a top doctor. Leadership believed that consumers identified a top doctor as someone affiliated with one of the nearby academic medical centers. But focus group research revealed that its target audience defined a top doctor differently.

"They defined top doctors as someone who is going to take the time to listen to them, to understand their medical issue, which was totally different than how the administration defined a top doctor," she says. "That changed the language associated with the campaign."

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