|You may have noticed recently that you’ve been seeing more about Abbeville Area Medical Center (AAMC). Newspaper ads. Billboards. Parking lot banners. Television advertising. In fact, the hospital is embarking on a new campaign to help get the word out about its services with the goal of making Abbeville Area Medical Center your #1 choice when you need medical care.
The new marketing campaign is being created in response to a community perception survey completed in 2010, according to AAMC CEO Rich Osmus.
“The hospital contracted with a professional survey organization to conduct telephone interviews to find out how the community perceived the hospital,” said Osmus. “The survey was done over a one-month period and included residents across Abbeville and McCormick Counties. We wanted to see how we measured up when compared to other area hospitals.”
Survey participants were asked a series of 32 questions including “Which hospital provides the best quality of care”, “Which hospital comes to mind first?”; “Which hospital do you prefer to use for your healthcare needs?”; “The top reasons for preferring one hospital over another”, and other similar questions. Specific questions were also asked about which area hospital was preferred for different types of care, such as outpatient services and emergency care.
Overall AAMC did well in comparison to other area hospitals, but certain areas were identified in which community perception could be improved. Survey results indicated that those who were familiar with or had used the hospital rated it higher, while those who had not used the hospital or knew little about it rated it lower. The survey also indicated that people were not aware of the many specialists and specialty services available at the hospital.
After reviewing the survey results, the hospital determined that it needed the assistance of a marketing firm to help build awareness, improve overall perception and build market share. AAMC chose Cross + Associates, whose marketing team has more than 100 years of combined healthcare experience. The agency, which has offices in Columbia and Raleigh, NC, first met with key stakeholders who had an interest in the success of the hospital: department managers, the Board of Trustees and the physicians and surgeons on the Medical Staff. These groups were able to identify AAMC’s primary strengths and how it could differentiate itself from other hospitals in the area. One key element that emerged repeatedly was the staff’s extraordinary level of dedication and commitment to the hospital and its patients. Another message that was also heard several times was that people needed to know they had a choice of where to go for their healthcare needs. In the end, Cross + Associates felt that the top three reasons people should choose Abbeville Area Medical Center were that it was the smaller, smarter and safer choice.
At a Smaller hospital you are treated with a level of personalized care that is unmatched. Smarter, because AAMC offers many of the same services available at a large hospital, but it’s more convenient, there’s less hassle, and it has board-certified physicians supported by an outstanding clinical staff. It’s Safer. AAMC has a low rate of hospital-acquired infection a factor that is becoming more and more important to patients when choosing a hospital.
By taking these factors into consideration, Cross + Associates developed a new tagline for the hospital that highlights these three advantages:
Smaller. Smarter. Safer.
While the proposed new tagline and advertising campaign resonated with hospital leadership and the hospital’s Medical Staff, AAMC executives wanted to be sure that the message was shared with the region’s community leaders before launching the campaign.
A number of community focus groups were held with leaders from across the region to introduce the campaign prior to rollout. These meetings were held in Calhoun Falls, McCormick, Due West, Donalds and Abbeville. The feedback from the groups was extremely positive.
“It was important for us to introduce our plans to community leaders in our region before embarking on a campaign launch,” said Osmus. “We were extremely pleased with the feedback we received from these groups of prominent citizens. In fact, many people attending expressed their excitement that we were finally sharing the many wonderful things about our hospital with the rest of the community.”
The initial campaign rollout began in early July. The agency chose to develop testimonial campaigns using two actual AAMC patients who were thrilled with their care and were eager to share their stories. One patient’s story focuses on the benefits of a smaller hospital and the other patient’s story tells why AAMC is the smart choice for them.
A third testimonial ad that focuses on the safety factor was also created, but it comes from a physician’s perspective. Since hospital-acquired infections have become such a hot topic across the country, both physicians and patients are seeking hospitals such as AAMC that offer excellent safety records.
In July, the hospital also introduced a monthly Ladies Night Out series, an event that provides women with the opportunity to learn about various health-related topics in a fun and relaxed environment. In July, the topic was Stress Urinary Incontinence presented by board-certified urologist Dr. Michael Turner. The August 25th program will feature board-certified Greenwood OB/GYN Dr. Amy Forrest discussing Weight Management Issues Following Childbirth and Menopause.
The campaign will be rolled out in phases over the next year. The hospital hopes it will increase awareness of its excellent clinical services and encourage area residents to choose AAMC for their healthcare needs. For more information, visit www.AbbevilleAreaMC.com.