// By Peter Hochstein //
“Duluth, a four-season city with 11,000 acres of green space alongside the great Lake Superior, has miles of trails and over 100 parks, providing a suitable back drop for a multitude of recreation activities.”
Wait! Don’t go away! You’re still reading Strategic Health Care Marketing. The quote above, from Duluth, Minnesota’s Parks and Recreation website, simply helps to explain a population trend that inspired a hospital advertising campaign. It was for St. Luke’s Regional Trauma Center, part of St. Luke’s Health Care System in Duluth. And therein lies a tale.
With two hospitals, 267 beds, and nearly 40,000 annual emergency room visits, according to U.S. News and World Report, you’d expect St. Luke’s to be the dominant health care organization in a small city. (Duluth has a population of only about 86,000 and about 280,000 in the entire metropolitan statistical area.) But there’s an even bigger, and probably much richer, competitor in town. It’s the better-funded Essentia Health system, which can finance a stronger marketing presence.
So how was the smaller St. Luke’s system going to compete? Let Patrice Bradley, CEO and creative director of Swim Creative, St. Luke’s advertising agency, pick up the story.
“Typically here, you go with whatever your family had or whatever your parents got you into,” says Bradley, explaining how local people choose a hospital. “You have allegiance to one system or the other. We did a lot of research trying to figure out ‘Where’s the opportunity?’ The opportunity is young people, millennials, are moving to this area. And they’re moving to this area because it’s beautiful.”
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