Lakeland HealthCare Focuses Its Marketing Efforts on Employees
by Michele von Dambrowski
“Every little thing matters,” says Megan Yore, referring to Lakeland HealthCare’s uncompromising focus on internal communications efforts. Yore, who is director of marketing for the St. Joseph, MI-based health system of 4,500 employees, observes, “Our associates deserve the best brand experience that we can give them – equal to that of our external audience. We feel that this benefits our marketing efforts … informing our employees first [means] they can help spread the word.” She estimates that Lakeland’s employees in their role as ambassadors make 20,000 positive word-of mouth impressions in the community.
Lakeland reaches its associates in a variety of ways – both traditional and digital. Laura Wagner, lead communications specialist, points to a biweekly eight- to 10-page print newsletter called Pulse as among the key efforts to inform employees. “Many of our employees don’t have a regular computer workstation, and it’s easy for them to just grab a printed copy,” Wagner says in explaining why a print version is even available. There is, of course, an electronic version, and email alerts communicate its availability. Past issues are archived on Lakeland’s intranet.
Much of the success of the newsletter is credited to the CEO’s column. “Our CEO really prides himself on writing his column … in his own special, personal style,” Wagner says.
Pulse has also proved itself as a critical communications tool, scoring a much higher response rate than newspaper advertising for attendance at an open house for a new medical complex. A once-run ad in the newsletter, according to Wagner, scored a 60 percent higher response rate than several newspaper ads.