By Peter Hochstein
I once knew an advertising creative director who said his constant prayer was, “Grant me the luxury of a tightly written creative strategy.” The following strategy would most certainly have answered his prayer:
Position UC Irvine Health as Orange County’s top destination for cancer care. Leverage our status as Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center.”
The strategy’s author is Patrick Patterson, Director of Marketing and Communication at UC Irvine Health, a California hospital system that has 411 licensed beds, and handles 19,243 patient admissions and 561,000 medical center visits a year, while defending against plenty of competition. There are more than 20 other hospitals in Orange and neighboring Los Angeles County. They include Cedars Sinai, UCLA, USC, and City of Hope.
Moreover, a good many of the hospitals fiercely outspend UC Irvine Health. Patterson estimates that his $1 million total advertising budget puts him in “the bottom quarter” of hospital advertising spending.
The magnitude of this problem became evident when Patterson, and his advertising agency, Maricich Healthcare Communications, discovered a problem. Although UC Irvine Health has one of the nation’s 41 comprehensive cancer center designations for excellence from the National Cancer Institute, awareness in the market of its expertise was low.
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