Division A-7 Promotional/Marketing

Physicians’ Primary Care of Southwest Florida, a physician-owned and operated medical practice, was formed in 1996 by many long practicing local physicians and has grown to become the largest independent multi-specialty practice in Southwest Florida with 45 physicians in nine offices.  Medical specialties include internal medicine, family practice, obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics.  Concerned about the encroachment of new medical practices, PPC decided in 2008 to hire a public relations/marketing firm to establish its brand, protect its position in the market, and help increase its patient base.  The PR firm started by conducting a communications audit of all communications vehicles and discovered that there was no key message promoting the multi-specialty practice and that each division operated nearly autonomously in their marketing efforts.  A simultaneous environmental audit revealed that there was no cross-promotion signage among the offices and nothing to indicate that the nine offices were related.  Interviews and site visits were conducted at all nine offices with key personnel to determine strengths, weaknesses and marketing goals.  Based on this research as well as demographic data obtained from the Economic Development Office, a two-year marketing plan was developed.  Since research shows that most family health decisions are made by women, the primary target market was women of child-bearing age with younger and older women as a secondary market.

1)    Develop a new logo and tagline that would tie the various practices together as one “family” of physicians;
2)    Bring consistency to the marketing efforts by implementing strategies that would promote ALL of the divisions;
3)    Promote PPC as an expert news source with a goal of three major news announcements during 2009 that would reach a minimum of 500,000 readers/viewers.
4)    Increase the overall patient base by 5% over two years with a special emphasis on the obstetrics and gynecology division since it has the most physicians.  Goal for this division was a 10% increase.

 To help unify staff behind the marketing goals, an employee contest was conducted to select the PPC tagline.  “Let Our Family Take Care Of Your Family” was the winner in more ways than one.  Not only was it a good branding message, but it helped staff work together beyond their own office walls and think about how they could work collectively to help PPC.  Several potential logos were drafted with physicians from ALL offices having input into the ultimate choice which showed three silhouette figures in calming colors of blue and green.  The new logo and tagline were incorporated into the new identity package, building signage, patient newsletters, Web site and advertising.  To reach the targeted market of women, ads were placed in newspaper sections with heavy female readership (Healthy Living) and in Southwest Florida Parent & Child Magazine.  Postcards were sent to households within a one-mile radius of each office reminding them that all of their family’s health care needs could be met at PPC.  Sponsorships were bought at family reading festivals and at soccer fields to reach soccer moms.  Three major news announcements were made:   PPC was the first to offer the HALO™ Breast Pap Test, among the first to offer digital mammography, and was honored to have two doctors named among the best in the U.S (another example of being considered an expert source).   A guest column was obtained at no charge in the Parent & Child Magazine and physicians wrote guest columns on a rotating basis, further building upon their reputation as an expert source.

1)    The new logo was an instant hit with both staff and patients.  Staff received new uniforms with the new logo, which replaced an older logo that looked more like printing presses than friendly, caring physicians.  Signage was replaced on buildings and a new ad campaign carried the new brand.
2)    For the first time, cross-promotion began in all of the offices.  OB/GYN offices made first appointments for babies as they became old enough for pediatrics; husbands and other family members were linked with family practice and internal medicine.  Signage went up listing all specialties in every office.
3)    News of the three major stories was published in three local daily newspapers, and aired on three network affiliates, reaching 1.2 million readers/viewers.  When major health news is announced, the media now call PPC for comment, showing their position as an expert source.
4)    Over the two-year period, the number of new patients increased by an astonishing 24.6% (nearly five times greater than goal).  The OB/GYN division showed the greatest number of new patients with an increase of 73.4% (seven times greater than goal).  Doctors reported that they were now caring for entire families of two and three generations.

Communications Audit/Environmental Audit - $5,000; Logo/ID  package $2,000; Newsletters (3 issues – 10,000 each) $19,758; Postcards $8,188;  Advertising $27,709; Sponsorships $4,000; PR firm - $27,000; misc. $10,000
                                    TOTAL        $103,655