Best prac­tices for run­ning an ed­u­ca­tional cam­paign

Modern Healthcare - - HEALTHCARE MARKETING IMPACT AWARDS - By Marine Cole, Ad­ver­tis­ing Age

With the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act in ef­fect, In­de­pen­dence Blue Cross in Philadel­phia wanted to find a new way to reach out to its mem­bers and ed­u­cate them on health­care and what the ACA re­ally meant to them.

“The meth­ods most busi­nesses are choos­ing to com­mu­ni­cate no longer work,” said Matt Gillin, CEO of Re­lay Net­work, the agency In­de­pen­dence Blue Cross hired to com­plete this task. He noted that di­rect mail has proven to be in­ef­fec­tive, that con­sumers re­ceive too many e-mails and that text mes­sages aren’t se­cure enough.

In re­sponse, Re­lay cre­ated IBX Wire, a pri­vate on­line com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nel sim­i­lar to a pri­vate Twit­ter feed that was se­cure and per­son­al­ized. When mem­bers re­ceived their health in­surance card, a sticker on it di­rected them to dial a num­ber to con­firm the re­ceipt of the card and to sign up for the chan­nel.

“They’re now able to rise above the clut­ter to ed­u­cate their user base about medicines, af­ter­care or a spe­cific prod­uct,” Gillin said. So far, roughly 33% of Blue Cross’ mem­bers have signed up.

In gen­eral, an ed­u­ca­tional health­care cam­paign isn’t sup­posed to pro­mote a spe­cific brand or com­pete against oth­ers. In­stead, it should shed light on im­por­tant and of­ten com­plex top­ics.

Ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tives have be­come much more im­por­tant to the health­care com­mu­nity as that com­mu­nity has placed more em­pha­sis on pre­ven­tive care. To that end, a suc­cess­ful cam­paign not only raises the level of aware­ness among the pub­lic and helps peo­ple make bet­ter de­ci­sions about their health, but it also drives health­care costs down.

Best prac­tices to run an ed­u­ca­tional cam­paign in­clude:

Keep it sim­ple. The health­care field, of course, is highly spe­cial­ized, but a suc­cess­ful ed­u­ca­tional cam­paign should avoid get­ting lost in tech­ni­cal lan­guage. At the same time, it shouldn’t be too vague. “Don’t as­sume your au­di­ence has the base­line knowl­edge about the is­sue or the tech­nol­ogy or you’ll to­tally miss the mark,” said Ross Toohey, pres­i­dent at 2e Cre­ative, which worked with Siemens Health­care on its “Breast Can­cer Den­sity/Des­tiny” cam­paign for tech­nol­ogy that can de­tect tu­mors ear­lier. “Your cre­ative team has to be very cere­bral, speak that lan­guage and trans­late it vis­ually.”

Per­son­al­ize your mes­sage. Peo­ple will be most re­spon­sive to mes­sages that speak di­rectly to their ex­pe­ri­ence. In­de­pen­dence Blue Cross’ IBX Wire is a strong ex­am­ple of de­liv­er­ing cus­tom­ized com­mu­ni­ca­tion to cus­tomers based on their med­i­cal his­tory and de­mo­graph­ics. In Siemens’ can­cer de­tec­tion cam­paign, the per­son­al­iza­tion came in a dif­fer­ent for­mat: 2e Cre­ative picked mostly vol­un­teer women who had ac­tu­ally faced breast can­cer to ap­pear in the spot, mak­ing it much more re­lat­able for view­ers.

Make it ac­tion­able. On­line sur­veys can help health­care mar­keters un­der­stand whether the tar­get au­di­ence di­gested the mes­sage, but the real goal is to pro­duce an ac­tion—whether it’s chang­ing some­one’s health habits or prompt­ing that per­son to make a checkup ap­point­ment. In the case of IBX Wire, In­de­pen­dence Blue Cross was able to track whether a short video about the im­por­tance of a flu shot was ef­fec­tive in sev­eral ways, in­clud­ing when pa­tients gave their in­surance card at a doc­tor’s of­fice for re­ceiv­ing a shot.

Don’t be afraid to pro­voke. Un­like pro­mo­tional cam­paigns, an ed­u­ca­tional cam­paign can be darker and more fo­cused on the dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences of poor health­care de­ci­sions, in­clud­ing death in some cases. Such an ap­proach may be es­pe­cially ap­pro­pri­ate if at­tempt­ing to raise aware­ness about is­sues like smoking or tex­ting while driv­ing. “Some­times, you need to show some­thing more graphic,” said Cyn­thia McCaf­ferty, se­nior vice pres­i­dent and se­nior part­ner at Fleish­manHil­lard in St. Louis.

With such a sen­si­tive sub­ject as health­care, the main ad­vice is to make a cam­paign more hu­man so peo­ple would start think­ing about their health in­stead of avoid­ing the sub­ject and de­lay­ing care that could save their lives.

“It’s re­ally about tak­ing a com­plex sub­ject and boil­ing it down to a com­pelling nar­ra­tive,” Toohey said.

The IBX Wire chan­nel de­liv­ers se­cure

per­sonal in­for­ma­tion to

In­de­pen­dence Blue Cross mem­bers.

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