Leveraging national health observances is an easy way to make your organization top of mind with your audience.
Every month, it’s something. Heart Month in February. Breast cancer in October. And plenty of other diseases and disorders get their moment on the calendar throughout the year. The key to leveraging them is to plan ahead.
Decide on a new promotion or event—not the same one you do every year. Then develop a robust media plan that includes print, digital outdoor, direct mail and social/online touch points.
Offer screenings. Any time a specific health issue generates buzz in your community, tie into that theme to leverage awareness. One way to do that is to offer the related screenings—either at a reduced rate or with a special perk. Consider these options:
- Extended hours for screenings
- Screenings at additional locations
- Small giveaway for anyone getting a screening
- Create an event around a screening, like Mammos & Manicures or Mammos & Movies in October, Bring-a-Friend mammograms in October, Heart-healthy cooking class and heart screenings in February, Men’s Fight Night (UFC or WWE on TV) and prostate cancer screenings in September
Provide information. Awareness months are prime times to position your physicians as experts. By giving members of your community the medical information they want, your physicians build relationships with potential patients. Some suggestions:
- News sources are always looking for relevant content during awareness months. Distribute a press release about the latest medical news concerning the disease and include quotes from your physician(s) and staff.
- Host lunchtime or evening seminar events where physicians provide specific health tips
- Alert local news stations that your physicians can speak on camera about the importance of early detection and treatment
- Partner with a local celebrity chef to develop a physician-directed recipe book to distribute around heart health or diabetes awareness.
Sponsor an event. For most diseases or disorders with a national observance month, there is a race or community event to raise money for research. This can be an opportune way to get your hospital name in front of potential patients—and to add value to your brand.
If you are obligated or choose to participate in a particular community event, use that opportunity to differentiate your hospital from competitors. Instead of just writing a check or displaying a logo sign, go one step further. Consider these ideas:
- Provide free health assessment or screening for the first X-number of registrants
- Sponsor a media celebrity; provide services prior to the event (for example, a full heart screening or wellness check or mammogram)
- Provide executive physicals for board members or top sponsorship producers
- Recruit someone from your hospital to serve on the organization’s board
Remember, your competitors are sponsoring events, too. To gain traction from your sponsorship, you have to go above and beyond—making your sponsorship meaningful and memorable.
Host an event. How can you show community support while building brand loyalty and educating potential patients? Host your own community event. A number of hospitals have found success by creating events focused on breast cancer, colorectal cancer, men’s health and heart disease.
Educational seminars and free screenings are must-dos for these events, but consider ways to branch out. How can you attract press coverage and make your hospital brand memorable?
- Invite your audience to walk through an inflatable mega heart or colon
- Partner with another company to make your event the place to be
- Create a theme for your event: wind and cheese, girls’ night out, men’s fight night, vendor booths
- Think of a fun venue—away from the hospital—for your event
- Draw a crowd with a celebrity entertainer; some will make an appearance for a discounted fee to assist with fundraising or awareness efforts
Need a cost effective way to market Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Check out the Mammogram campaigns at
Photo credit: Sylvar via flickr
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