Local marketing experts work to engage today’s patients

You might have heard that our nation’s healthcare system is evolving. This backdrop of near-constant change in healthcare brings challenges and opportunities for hospital executives and marketing professionals. Marketers are moving away from old tactics, such as explicitly sales-y content and press releases, and moving towards newer tactics, such as thought leadership and omnichannel campaigns. We spoke to several marketing experts around Kentucky to hear about how they are tackling the challenge.

Medical News: What is the most effective marketing strategy you are seeing in business to consumer marketing?


Brandi Jones
Associate in Business Development, TEG

As the nation’s healthcare delivery system continues to evolve, trends in marketing are keeping pace. Individuals are performing preliminary research on healthcare providers/facilities prior to making contact while also seeking quality of care, value and specialized expertise as opposed to proximity.

Now more than ever, content-whether published in print, or available on the web-should be presented as meaningful, sharable, interesting, valuable and trustworthy. The audience is seeking experts with specialized expertise in specific disciplines. Marketers must drill down to identify precise interests or other concerning matters to deliver relevant content or solutions in a very timely, personalized manner.

Including thought leadership and optimizing search for online mediums is a key trend to incorporate into your marketing plan. Whether through blog posts, technical papers or research reports, content should be produced with one goal – to demonstrate the company’s expertise in providing solutions as well as show the value the individual will receive in return.


Erik Snyder
Associate Director of Digital Strategy, Scoppechio

Consumerism in healthcare is impacting patient retention. High-deductible plans are shifting costs to patients and as they consider where to spend their healthcare dollars, they value convenience and quality more than loyalty to any healthcare system. This has resulted in high churn rates for many providers and the cost of a lost patient can be significant (up to $400k over their lifetime). As marketers, we are responding by crafting proactive patient retention programs. The use of direct methods like email, social messaging, phone calls and direct mail are all being combined and coordinated to make patients feel valued and appreciated.



Gwen Cooper
SVP/Chief Marketing Officer, Hosparus Health

The biggest trend would be the overall addition of digital as an integral part of marketing, not as a test marketing tool again.  At Hosparus Health we are beginning to test Over the Top (OTT is the term used for the delivery of film and TV content via the internet, without requiring users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite pay TV service) advertising for the millions of people who have cut the cord.  We are chopping our TV buy in favor of some OTT along with our other advertising vehicles.



Mike Dominick
Media Director, Cornett

An ongoing effort to create content is becoming necessary for healthcare marketing. A lot of emphasis is placed on social and web properties to keep the conversation about healthcare relevant and frequent. All while making sure when that social, more casual audience is eventually trying to decide about their treatment options when the time comes, they see you as a trusted thought leader.

Healthcare marketing has always had a tough time being able to properly display what a facility is all about in a simple thirty second broadcast spot or billboard. Those pieces have their part in a greater plan, but there are now more elements in the mix utilizing long-form tactics that build upon the ads used for frequency.



Amanda Newton
VP of Marketing & Business Development , Centerstone

Consumers now have increased awareness of the many service options available to them. Digital marketing is the key to success! The average home has seven connected devices. There is still a stigma associated with getting help for mental health or addictions; therefore, the internet becomes the driver for treatment solutions. Most people research their behavioral healthcare options online. The internet is a safe place to learn from others anonymously. Digital marketing allows companies to target efforts to the people who are searching for answers. More companies are investing in a social media strategy, pay-per-click marketing, geo-targeting and targeted display ads.



Cliff Whalin
Director of Marketing, Wesley Manor Retirement Community

We’re seeing more and more marketing leads generated from online reviews and general internet searches. Many folks say they saw Wesley Manor rated 4.5 stars on Facebook or senior living retirement web sites with whom we partner. This has sparked more inbound phone calls and emails. We actively encourage new residents, as well as potential residents/families who tour, to post online reviews.



Bethany Langdon
Corporate Director of Marketing and Communications , Bluegrass.org

One of the biggest trends has been and continues to be video. Incorporating short, informative videos via various online platforms promotes understanding of services while breaking down barriers to access. Video has stronger audience appeal, about four to one, than text. Healthcare marketing via video makes both a personal and educational impact with potential clients. As a large community mental health center serving 25,000 clients annually, video is, and will continue to be, a key component to promoting understanding of the many services we provide.



Dawn Wiggington
President, dRAE Media & Marketing

While telemedicine is another healthcare delivery mechanism, and not marketing per se, this could be a great emerging marketing advantage for healthcare providers. Improving the quality of patient care is the top reason for health IT changes, and now, telemedicine services are experiencing a breakthrough as medical practices become aware of the ways and means to charge for services. Organizations are beginning to embrace the value-based care and patient engagement telemedicine can offer. While the buyer or patient is looking for innovative, cost-effective, high-quality and easily accessible healthcare services, consumers are also much more digitally attuned than ever before. The stars are aligning for telemedicine. It’s cheaper, more efficient and it’s something that patients will appreciate.

Medical News: Give an example of a successful marketing campaign geared towards consumers. Why did it work?

Brandi Jones, TEG

Norton Cancer Institute’s current campaign, “Caring for the body and the person within,” resonates with me on an emotional and personal level. Most of us know, or are someone, who has been affected by cancer and understands the physical strains. Through this campaign, Norton Cancer Institute has found a connection with compassion to emphasize they care about your mind and spirit, not just the outer layer. The images, video and other content features local physicians, surrounding community members and stories that are astonishingly relatable.

Erik Snyder, Scoppechio

One successful campaign revolved around lung cancer screenings in eastern Kentucky. As the national epicenter of a lung cancer epidemic, eastern Kentucky needed higher screening rates to catch lung cancer when it’s still treatable. We put together an omnichannel campaign for our client, Baptist Health Corbin, that targeted the high-risk population as well as the family of those high-risk residents. This led to a split approach of traditional advertising elements directed to a 50+ audience and a primarily digital approach directed to their children aged 30 to 50. The 50+ audience received a message that lung cancer screenings could give them more moments of joy as a family, whereas the 30 to 50 audience received a message that they could enjoy more moments with their parents if they could convince them to get screened for lung cancer. Together, the campaign increased lung cancer screenings at Baptist Health Corbin by more than 1,000 percent.

Gwen Cooper, Hosparus Health

A campaign that disrupts my thinking in either a good way or a bad way is a successful campaign.  Three totally different multi-media campaigns come to mind, all of which have a common story to tell that is relatable and real:

  1. Jude’s commercials and print ads with current patients.
  2. The American Cancer Society’s “The official sponsor of birthdays.”
  3. The Humane Society’s $19 a month commercials.

Cliff Whalin, Wesley Manor Retirement Community

In July 2016, Wesley Manor launched a rebranding campaign of our memory care center. We renamed it (The Aldersgate) and removed the old tagline description “Dementia/Alzheimer’s Care,” as this had a negative connotation to the public. It is now tagged as “Personal Care and Memory Support,” and is open to those with or without dementia. This opened it up to folks who may not have any dementia, but just need 24/7 nurse-supervised medication management. As a result, this increased our census from 46 to 100 percent, with a waiting list by early 2017, and helped level the playing field with our competition.

Mike Dominick, Cornett

I am consistently impressed with the work GE is putting out. The diversity of industries and the complexity of explaining what GE is seems to be a massive challenge. Utilizing a mix of creative platforms to educate their audience has appeared to be their sweet spot. Ever since they launched GE Reports back in 2008, they have continued push out interesting stories. For example, their current “What if scientists were celebrities” TV campaign puts the spotlight on Millie Dresselhaus, the first woman to win the National Medal of Science and Engineering. It’s emotional, its captivating, and it shows the importance GE places on its engineers.

Beyond the main campaign, they push the same theme on social platforms to highlight different engineers within the company and the extremely technical and exciting things they are working on. All which link back to their GE reports site for a deeper story.

If GE can create interest over things like a massive AC/DC converter being installed at sea, UK HealthCare can easily showcase the power of advanced medicine by showing how Markey Cancer Center engages the Molecular Tumor Board to tailor the treatment of cancer down to the exact individual.

Amanda Newton, Centerstone

Seven Counties affiliated with Centerstone in November 2016, which gave us an opportunity to rebrand.   The name change was communicated to the community in the most economical way possible. We partnered with a local company to handle our digital pay-per-click marketing strategy along with producing TV commercials. Because seven percent of consumers are using a second and third screen while watching TV, reaching the community using two different mediums allowed us to extend to a larger audience. The rebrand to Centerstone also included healthcare marketing strategies such as face-to-face meetings with our referral sources and the community at large.

Bethany Langdon, Bluegrass.org

Reaching clients where they access information is key. Recently Bluegrass redesigned our web site to be responsively designed. Responsive design renders web site content readable and visually engaging regardless of platform. A web site looks great on a smartphone as well as a large format desktop monitor. Four out of five Americans own and use a smartphone. Potential clients are likely to make first connections via a smartphone. Thinking of the mobile screen first is a top priority in healthcare marketing.

Dawn Wiggington, dRAE Media & Marketing

We handled the social media marketing, email marketing and advertising for the Louisville Innovation Summit, an annual conference focusing on medical professionals and innovators working within the aging care industry. We promoted the event in advance through Facebook and increased unique users and fans using low cost targeted post boosting and a strong engagement strategy. This engagement had a marked impact on the amount of attendee engagement during the event itself.

Medical News: What are your favorite social media tools? 

Brandi Jones, TEG

LinkedIn for sharing industry expertise, Facebook for photos/stories, and Twitter for discussing what’s trending.

Erik Snyder, Schoppechio

Facebook Audience Insights. Marketers can’t win the content war with simply more content than their competitor. Relevancy is king.

Gwen Cooper, Hosparus Health

Targeted marketing, either through SEM specifically targeted to an audience or behavioral algorithm marketing.  But equally, I like web sites and other social media tools that support any SEM or SEO.

Cliff Whalin, Wesley Manor Retirement Community

Wesley Manor’s Facebook page and Facebook Live have been fun for our residents, family members, staff and other followers.

Mike Dominick, Cornett

We are loving all things social listening right now. The data that is captured by aggregating all the keywords, hashtags and phrases of a topic or industry, then assessing its context is fascinating.

Amanda Newton, Centerstone

Facebook! We know that women ages 22-44 make most of the healthcare decisions. Facebook is women’s preferred choice for their social media channel.

Bethany Langdon, Bluegrass.org

The traditional social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are effective tools to engage our target audiences and recruit top employees.

Dawn Wiggington, dRAE Media & Marketing

Facebook is my number one go to platform because of the targeting and metric capabilities.

Newer tools, such as location based targeting, which allows you to serve digital ads to people at a certain location like a ball park, for instance, and IP targeting, which allows you to serve up digital ads to people with IP addresses on a certain street or in a certain neighborhood.


Trends in B2B marketing

Medical News: Business to business marketing requires different strategies. How are you marketing to different healthcare practices?


Eric Birdzell
Director of Marketing & Client Services , Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman

As a firm focused exclusively on healthcare, it is critical that we market to many different healthcare entities, and to do so, there are several factors to take into consideration. First, we identify our target audiences: who they are; where they live and work; and what interests them. Then, we ask ourselves and our audience where and how they consume information and how they can best be reached. Finally, and most importantly, we inquire about the challenges are they facing and how we can provide solutions.

We use this information, along with business needs and industry trends, to focus our marketing efforts on specific practice areas. We use public relations to contribute to timely industry topics that are actively impacting our clients. We use media buys and sponsorships to focus on areas such as HIT, supply chain and compliance. We continually produce content for our blog, webinars and newsletters that focus on very specific topics for almost every practice area.


Emily O’Leary
Business Development Specialist, Corporate Services, Bingham Greenebaum Doll

One of the most engaging aspects of this industry is the variety of businesses that exist under the healthcare umbrella. As we approach each potential new relationship, we focus upon gaining a better understanding of their business and bringing together a service team and a fee arrangement that will build the framework for that prospect to have the best potential relationship with our attorneys. At its heart, providing law services is about building better relationships, better businesses, and, in this case, better healthcare.

Medical News: How do you create compelling content to reach business owners and decision makers?

Eric Birdzell, Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman

Creating compelling content requires an understanding of the industry, our audience and the marketing channel being utilized. Our attorneys have a great depth of knowledge on healthcare trends and what is important to our clients. Our blogs and newsletters deal with the latest updates in the industry, which allows our content to be relevant and timely. It is also important that our ads speak to our service offerings in a concise and effective way. We do this by understanding what resonates with our audience and the points we want to convey.


Emily O’Leary, Bingham, Greenebaum, Doll

Creating content for us is really the marriage of two types of thought leadership: original content and sharing content. When it comes to original content, we are not looking to rewrite the law or draft a law textbook for our audience to read. Instead, we are developing content that provides our audience with actionable steps or important considerations to make as they operate their businesses.

As for sharing content, the healthcare industry is made up of a wide range of experts across a multitude of educational and professional backgrounds. Some of the brightest minds in our country and the world are dedicated to solving issues in healthcare from various perspectives from innovative new practices to solving the political burdens of both the industry and the populace. As a result, there is often the opportunity to bring the best information from all these places together to share with our audience.

Medical News: What types of content marketing are you using to reach healthcare decision makers?

Eric Birdzell, Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman

Hall Render utilizes several forms of content marketing including blogs, webinars, videos and social media. Each tactic provides useful information to our clients and partners in a format that best suits them.

Emily O’Leary, Bingham, Greenebaum, Doll

Our content marketing tactics are broken into two distinct buckets: advertising and thought leadership. In terms of advertising, we do traditional print advertising in industry-related magazines and newsletters, and we purchase digital space as well. Our thought leadership, however, is where we spend most of our resources. Our attorneys write blogs for our website and articles for our earned media. They are also engaged in public speaking and presentations across the country. While ads can be powerful, the combination of written thought leadership and the personal interaction of presenting to an audience has been the most-impactful marketing tactics for our attorneys in this space.


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