3 Adaptable Little Ideas to Add Spice and Life Your Big Picture Marketing Plan

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

Animated 3D stick figure holding up an "on" lightbulbBy this time in the planning process, you’ve nailed all the big picture items for 2014. All your major building blocks—marketing plan, campaigns, goals and budget—are stacked, and the countdown to the New Year is ticking.

What’s next we’ll call “adding icing to the cake.” Here’s a roundup of ideas that don’t qualify as major efforts or big-ticket items, but they are the kind of extras that can localize and personalize branding, public relations efforts and community involvement for a hospital or medical practice.

Feel free to adapt these concepts to suit your situation. You may not be able to use every idea, but you can take core concepts as idea starters and mix up your own batch of “icing” to properly flavor the concept for your individual requirements.

“Hunt for Your Health” – Connecting with the fabric of the community…

In Western Pennsylvania, the Butler Health System created a free event for local outdoorsmen titled Hunt for Your Health, held at the Butler City Hunting and Fishing Club. “You can get information from local hunting experts and physicians and discuss hunting safety, Lyme Disease, emergency warning signs, and tree stand safety. Food will be available along with raffles, gifts, prizes and blood pressure screening.”

The big/little idea: Good health and community outreach aren’t limited to the traditional health fair. Hunting, fishing and outdoor activities are popular in many areas, but an informal event like this one can be staged in almost any venue, theme or active civic organization from symphony society to bowling league. Where can you connect with the fabric of our area?

When video games are part of the prescription…

The Children’s National Medical Center (Washington, DC) is using an Xbox and Kinect motion controller at their Pain Medicine Care Complex. They describe what they are developing as a one-of-a-kind video gaming therapy, combined with “holistic therapeutic tools and digital data collection to enable short and long-term measurement of patient progress.” The developmental work of Children’s National Medical Center is detailed in this Washington Post article from earlier this year.

The big/little idea: Video games and activity-oriented software might have role as therapeutic activities, given the proper medical determination and supervision. But more generally, having a well-stocked game room can provide a unique distraction for friends and younger family members. It’s definitely more appealing and engaging than a stack of well-worn magazines.

Recognition is healthy reinforcement…

You don’t have to look far for a healthy living class, Tobacco Cessation for example. But how about an after-the-party party? What caught our attention was a “Healthy Living Recognition Event” with the purpose of recognizing the individuals who had successfully achieved positive outcomes in hospital-sponsored programs such as improved cholesterol, blood sugar control, weight loss and tobacco cessation.

Making healthy living choices—and the considerable effort that goes with lifestyle changes—is worth doing and it’s worthy of recognition.

The big/little idea: First, recognizing the individual for a positive outcome is great reinforcement, and deservedly a point of pride. What’s more, it can attract media attention. After all, sponsoring and beginning a “stop smoking” effort is not nearly as interesting as a PR item as having a party in honor of the people that complete the task. 

Apply a dose of creativity and imagination to these ideas and see what you can cook up for local spice. What’s your “little idea?” Share it with us below.

Lonnie Hirsch


Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.



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