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Top Category Takeaways: Children’s Healthcare and Public Media Underwriting

PMDMC, Corporate Support, health care category

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Healthcare is a top underwriting category for public stations, across markets, across formats. A recent panel at PMDMC 2017 helped shed light on some of the marketing priorities and messaging important to hospitals at a time of rapid change and consumer concern within their industry. And while certainly not every hospital network is the same, the following takeaways from this session, led by a CMO of a prominent children’s hospital and healthcare network, can inform your own conversations with your healthcare/hospital clients:

The Marketing Message

Currently, the children’s healthcare network wants to promote the following aspects of its business:

Access: the hospital has an extensive network of doctors, specialists and business partners making its services more readily available within the local community.

Clinical Excellence: the hospital is committed to the advancement of medical care and innovation across a number of specialty areas, especially pediatrics and obstetrics care.

Expansion: for this particular organization, a new physical location is opening soon -- one that is dedicated exclusively to providing care for children and their families

Marketing Goals and Metrics


Create a preference for and bolster the reputation of the hospital among family healthcare decision makers as the only pediatric and obstetric healthcare network delivering excellence for children and their families.

Brand Health Metrics:

  • Unaided awareness
  • Familiarity
  • Consideration
  • Brand attributes

Brand Awareness Metrics:

  • Digital traffic by source 
    • Direct type-in
    • Organic search
    • Digital advertising
  • Website traffic
  • Market activity 

Marketing Focus

The hospital has two main target audiences for its marketing:

  1. Physicians and influencers who will refer the hospital
  2. Consumers who will choose the hospital for their children and family healthcare needs

They embrace a traditional marketing funnel (below), but the marketing tactics they employ around each step of the funnel change slightly depending on which audience they are targeting.


For example, when it comes to building awareness, familiarity, and consideration among physicians/influencers, the hospital focuses on what they call “reputation management,” or direct outreach about the hospital’s excellence to physicians, and targeted media placementsincluding print journals, direct (e)mail, and NPR – in places these physicians and influencers know and trust.

Conversely, to build awareness with consumers, it’s more of a mass-media “broad reach” approach: advertising in TV, radio, print, and outdoors. This also includes NPR, but the marketing message is focused on an idea of accessibility that the hospital wants to convey.

Digital also comes into play heavily with consumer-facing marketing. The hospital uses digital ads, social media, paid search, native content, and other digital ad units to focus the broader awareness message to one of familiarity, consideration, and action.

The Good News for Public Radio

Public radio has a valuable part to play in both sides of this hospital’s marketing activities. We can deliver physicians and influencers, but we also have the broad reach to build awareness among consumers. It also doesn’t hurt that the hospital’s own doctors listen to us too, and will feel good about hearing their hospital mentioned on the air (think recruitment and retention benefits for the hospital as well!).

Finally, only public radio is able to deliver the all-important trust and perception of excellence for this hospital by association, among the very audiences they are looking to target.

And, while the particular consumer segment(s) various hospitals are looking to target change based on that hospital’s specialty or focus (i.e. not all want to focus on children’s), most hospitals recognize the importance of building and maintaining brand awareness and trust with their B2C and B2B marketing efforts alike.

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