If you’re like most delivery systems, with far too many service lines, and far few too many marketing dollars, you probably look to February to push your cardiology services across various platforms, and we can’t blame you. You’re likely getting pressure from leadership, and they want to go all out, within budget of course, during February to really make sure cardiology services stands out from the crowd.
Why Advertising During Awareness Months Make Sense
Here’s the thing. Awareness months are a good time to leverage the chatter that is taking place both on and offline. And the public is far more sensitive to the cause, because they can’t get away from it. From Facebook profile frames, to Snapchat Lenses, to Donate to the Cause posts across multiple platforms, people are paying attention and taking action, but in a way that’s relevant to them. Leveraging that social engagement is an excellent way for healthcare marketers to effectively engage in the conversation without a massive investment.
Why Advertising Only During Awareness Months DOESN’T Make Sense…
But if everyone, and we mean everyone, is talking about the same thing at the same time, what makes your messaging stand out?
Quality of care, national recognition, technology, success stories – all really wonderful things to talk about in terms of cardiology care, but here’s the thing. The market is so heavily saturated with heart month specific messaging, that regardless of how great your services, how wonderful your ads or how moving your stories, it all fades into the background of white noise to overstimulated and uninterested consumers.
We get that it’s not you we have to convince, it’s leadership…to which we say, we’ve got you covered. We’re not saying you should be completely dark during February, but it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to max bet your cardiology budget in one month, because the ROI simply won’t be there.
Let’s Remember…It’s About the Patients
Heart disease, cardiac issues and heart attacks are not only an issue during February, and it is a disservice to patients and your hospital system to only advertise your cardiology services during Heart Month. Plus, when you place all your cardio eggs into one basket, you are directly competing with EVERYONE else on the subject. And by everyone, we mean, everyone…including The American Heart Association that runs a massive campaign during February, and because they are a nonprofit, they are running schedules at lower rates than even the best agencies can negotiate. You can’t compete with that…and you shouldn’t want to.
So, what’s a #HealthRaiser to do…
If you look at your total cardiology service line budget, plan to allocate between 10% – 15% to initiatives during February. A visible, well-designed print ad in a major publication, or an informative and engaging paid post on social media are great options. Then, take the remaining budget and spread it throughout the year. Imagine taking that short television run, and instead, leveraging it into a yearlong screening initiative across various digital platforms. We know that 74% of internet users engage on social media, and out of those, 80% are specifically searching for health-related information, and around half of those are looking for a specific doctor or provider, so a strategic, informative and well-designed digital campaign is one of the best methods of reaching an audience that is already looking.
You, as a healthcare marketer, and a #HealthRaiser, can help to establish your hospital system as a true community partner that is always there to provide resources and information, not simply another brand or company that is jumping on the awareness month bandwagon.