Division A, Category 7
Lee Memorial Health System Healthy Bonita Estero Campaign

RESEARCH/SITUATION ANALYSIS: Lee Memorial Health System (LMHS) operates six hospitals in Lee County, Fla., and enjoys an 82% overall market share. LMHS competes with two hospital systems based in Collier County for an area known as South Lee County, which includes Bonita Springs and Estero, two adjacent communities that are located halfway between Fort Myers and Naples. There are no hospitals located within these communities, but one LMHS hospital and one NCH hospital are equidistant in opposite directions (about 10 miles). LMHS’s market share for South Lee residents was 32% in 2008. Residents of these two communities are primarily age 50+ empty-nesters who are affluent, retired CEOs or business owners, live in gated golf communities and are seasonal residents. They are very knowledgeable about health care; know how to access the best physicians and medical centers and have the financial resources to travel for treatment at any facility they feel offers the best care. (Demographic research is included in the notebook.).

OBJECTIVES: LMHS had one objective for this campaign: Increase market share among South Lee residents by 2% over 2008.

IMPLEMENTATION: Briggs & Rogers created a hyper-local, 12-month integrated marketing communications campaign called Healthy Bonita Estero to connect the residents of Bonita Springs and Estero to Lee Memorial Health System, its physicians, and it services. Our messaging strategy centered on positioning LMHS as 1) offering technologically advanced treatment methods and 2) its close proximity to Bonita Springs and Estero. Knowing that our target audience wants (and can find) the very best medical treatment, we highlighted services that are offered exclusively in this area by LMHS and promoted high-tech equipment available at its facilities.  Our community relations strategy centered on  illustrating how close LMHS facilities are located to this area and to bring LMHS into their backyard, so to speak, by highlighting the services available in their community and by scheduling events, lectures and classes in local venues. These strategies were supported by a multi-faceted campaign that included press releases, placed news articles, highly targeted direct mail, a hyper-local website, e-newsletter, multiple events and a paid advertising campaign, all focusing on the highly advanced, highly experienced health care professionals and resources offered by LMHS. A micro-website was created as a central focus of the campaign (www.HealthyBonitaEstero.org). It includes profiles of well-known area residents recommending LMHS facilities, a series of videos about high-tech treatments, a map that locates physicians and services in their community, a feature about the hospital closest to the community, links to LMHS’s full web site, a list of LMHS medical staff physicians practicing in Bonita Springs and Estero, a listing of local health events with a registration link, and an opt-in to receive the e-newsletter. The e-newsletter is sent every two weeks and includes stories about new treatments and technology, wellness tips, a profile on a local resident, and promotes upcoming health events being held locally. A 10-part complimentary health lecture series brought 15 LMHS medical staff physicians to a local venue to discuss medical topics of high interest to residents, including brain aneurysms, joint replacement, breast and prostate health, weight loss surgery, heart disease, diabetes and pain management. A speaker’s bureau was formed and gated communities were solicited to schedule physician lectures exclusively for their residents.  Two series of classes  memory classes for seniors and parenting classes for young parents were held, each receiving significant press coverage. The parenting classes have sparked an exciting new partnership with the Bonita Springs YMCA. LMHS participated for the first time in a community event called Celebrate Estero by staffing a booth and handing out educational material. Profiles of community leaders who had been treated at LMHS facilities, and who spoke highly of their experience, were included on the website and sent out as news releases. A dozen press releases and 15 placed news stories in publications zoned to the area promoted health events, resident profiles and touted high tech treatments and technology. A four-part postcard series used variable-data printing to customize the card to include the specific name of the recipient’s gated community and the number of minute’s drive it is to the nearest LMHS emergency department. The series was sent over a six week period to 17,000 households beginning in the summer of 2009 and again in spring 2010. Paid advertisements in print, online, TV and billboard were created with the tagline “World Class Health Care is Closer than You Think” and were placed in local publications.

EVALUATION: The campaign not only met its objectives, but overwhelmingly exceeded them. Year-over-year data shows market share gains from 31.9% to 34.3%, a 7% increase! LMHS gained considerable market share in high tech services lines such as cardiovascular, general surgery, neuroscience and oncology patients within the target audience. Other notable results include excellent survey results from the seminars, which attendees rated 9.43 overall (out of 10), extensive press coverage and significant traffic spikes when each postcard was mailed. Perhaps the most flattering result was a request from the mayor of Bonita Springs to place a link to the campaign website on the city’s own website – making LMHS the only health system featured, and illustrating that the campaign fulfilled its mission to better connect LMHS to the residents of Estero and Bonita Springs.

BUDGET: The budget for the year-long campaign was about $650,000. This included $500,000 for paid advertising placement, $30,000 for the lecture series advertising, rentals and a/v, $5000 for the website and e-newsletters, and $24,000 in production and printing costs. LMHS contracted with Briggs & Rogers for 520 hours of the agency’s professional time.