What to do when every orthopedic service line campaign looks the same

How do you proceed when your market is being flooded with orthopedic service line campaigns featuring expert surgeons and touting best in class services? How do you step back, stay true to your brand and resist the urge to do a full-blown
“us too” campaign

More importantly, how do you stop the competition from stealing your knee and hip replacement patients—and grow volume for your bone and joint services? 

You zig when everyone else is zagging

That’s what we did when Lake Region Healthcare, our community hospital partner in Fergus Falls, Minnesota showed us samples of the “patient stealing campaigns” two of its competing hospitals were running. 

The standard orthopedic message

The competition’s campaigns contained the usual orthopedic surgeon headshot. A few nice lines about credentials and special training. The much-used line in orthopedic campaigns about “getting back to your life without knee or hip pain,” and a call to action that created a sense that time was of the essence.

Here’s the dilemma

Patients need to know that the surgeon they are trusting with their knee or hip replacement is an expert. They want to know when they will be able to do the activities they enjoy again without pain. And of course, they need to know how to make an appointment. Those are just a few of the reasons most orthopedic campaigns all look and sound the same.

Pushing beyond the usual

Our challenge was to include all the usual messaging in Lake Region Healthcare’s orthopedic campaign—but in an unusual way. In addition, Lake Region asked us to consider using time as the centerpiece of its campaign.

6 steps: Creating an orthopedic campaign unlike any other

1) Lake Region’s brand is patient-focused, so the first thing we wanted to do was flip the messaging the competition currently had in the market to create an on-brand, patient-focused campaign for Lake Region. 

2) The hospital marketing director was with us all the way, supplying us with patient stories that solidified our thinking and drove our direction. She introduced us to a young woman who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro after bunion surgery. And, a man who had lost one leg, but was adamant about trusting the surgeons at Lake Region to repair the knee on his remaining leg.

3) We knew we had to share these stories—they practically wrote themselves they were so compelling. But how could we connect the patient and the surgeon within each and wrap it all up by urging our audience to make an appointment—plus include time in the mix?

4) We got to work concepting and mulling about time and all the ways we could use time to tell these stories. 

5) We threw out the usual, “It’s about time” direction, and had similar concepts on our list when the magical beginning of every good story—once upon a time— came to mind. We knew instantly that this concept had the makings of a stellar orthopedic campaign. 

6) Once upon a time allowed us to:

  • position the patient as the hero to their own story
  • relate a before and after scenario 
  • incorporate the physician or surgeon as a natural part of the story
  • in most cases, describe how long recovery took
  • create a call to action that would get our audience thinking about their own orthopedic story and how they could change the outcome of that story with the help of Lake Region Healthcare

A happy ending

At the campaign launch we executed a full sequence of messaging and closely monitored KPIs. As of the date on this blog, traffic is up on Lake Region’s orthopedic service line landing page by 183 percent and the hospital has reported a significant increase in conversions resulting in orthopedic appointments. 

Related Articles