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Here’s To Your Health

4 Feb, 2010 By: Bridget McCrea Response

More healthcare marketers are using DR to reach out to consumers.

Rising Costs
Also driving growth within the sector is the increased attention being paid to healthcare costs — an issue made even more prominent by media coverage of the government’s attempt to adopt a national healthcare reform bill. Not yet passed into law at press time, the bill would constitute the biggest expansion of federal healthcare guarantees since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid more than four decades ago, and is expected to extend insurance coverage to an additional 30 million Americans.

With that additional coverage will come added responsibility for one’s own health — a trend that bodes well for healthcare marketers that use DR methods to reach directly into consumers’ homes via television, Internet, print, mail and other methods. Where just a year ago the thought of managing one’s own healthcare was “scary for most,” says Patti Cmielewski, senior vice president of partner marketing for Linkwell Communications in Needham, Mass., “we’re now seeing an aggressive push for individuals to take better care of their own health.”

Cmielewski, whose firm specializes in value-based programs that encourage healthier behaviors, says DR allows marketers to target messages surrounding weight loss and smoking cessation in a way that reaches out directly to consumers. The medium is equally as effective for pharmacies and retailers that are developing “all-in-one” healthcare support clinics, thus targeting the uninsured with low-cost healthcare options.

The Direct Approach
One healthcare company that funnels much of its advertising efforts into DR is Winter Park, Fla.-based Healthfair USA, a provider of mobile medical screenings. The company’s direct response print, local mail and online efforts have paid off so well that Ray Ekbatani, director of marketing, is considering a DRTV test in the near future. Even without the television component, Ekbatani says DR’s trackability and performance have exceeded his expectations.

“When we run direct-to-consumer print ads, we definitely generate enough leads to make the campaigns successful,” says Ekbatani. “Most of the times the consumers are already pre-qualified because they’ve seen the ads in their local newspaper — there’s enough content there to understand our offer. That pre-qualification provides great connectivity to what we’re trying to do.”

John Bosacker, who handles the print and mail aspect of Healthfair USA’s campaign, says DR and DRTV continue to grow as a media/sales channel amongst healthcare marketers. As senior director of business development and sales for Plymouth, Minn.-based Novus Print Media, Bosacker has worked with a number of national and Fortune 500 providers and start-ups to develop effective DR campaigns over the years.

“Any firm that’s attempting to reach the senior demographic with some type of insurance, healthcare or health/wellness offer is a great match for channel print media (national newspapers, magazines and insert programs),” says Bosacker. “Targeted local and national publication and insert media does a good job of reaching the 55-plus demographic.”

Credit the fact that America’s older generations still rely on print media for their information with driving some of that success. “They grew up with print media, so they’re used to it,” Bosacker explains. “They trust their local newspaper and other publications like The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.”

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