In a City Loaded with Expertise in Treating Illness, One Teaching Hospital Focuses Its Marketing on Wellness

May 25, 2017

Notable Health Care Advertising

// By Peter Hochstein //

Peter HochsteinIf somebody ever produces a list of the best places in America to get sick, Cleveland will have to be high on the list.

The 1.2 million people of Cleveland and surrounding Cuyahoga County have a choice of three teaching hospitals. One of them, Cleveland Clinic, has an international reputation.

This left the MetroHealth System, with 731 beds, 23 facilities (MetroHealth doesn’t call them campuses), and nearly a million outpatient visits a year, in a bit of a quandary. How could it compete, with a media budget of slightly over a million dollars, against hospitals that Kantar Media estimates in combination were outspending MetroHealth about three to one?

And never mind the dollars. What about what you might call the “awe factor” of Cleveland Clinic’s worldwide reputation? How do you compete against that?

Kristen Popelmayer, manager, brand and strategy advertising at MetroHealth System

Kristen Popelmayer, manager, brand and strategy advertising at MetroHealth System

If ever a hospital needed research to answer a thorny marketing question, this had to be it. So, in 2014, MetroHealth commissioned a quantitative and qualitative “brand health study,” says Kristen Popelmayer, MetroHealth’s manager, brand and strategy advertising. The results were more than informative. They were almost a road map.

“One of the biggest things we learned from the study is that we’re uniquely qualified to deliver the kind of personalized care that people are craving,” said Popelmayer. “People want to be treated like their health issues matter. And we found that this was a relative strength issue for us, compared to the competition. That definitely had a big influence on our brand platform.”

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