Fun or Foolish: You Can’t Afford Out-of-Home Healthcare Advertising Unless It’s Also Effective

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

One of the things we like about the ad industry term “out of home media” is that it can mean so many things that are fun, foolish and effective. But the first challenge for healthcare, provider and hospital marketing planners is budget—or lack of it—to do all the things that are creative and fun.

But if the “fun” part of an idea gets ahead of the “effective” part (meaning will it produce measurable results), then the whole thing is “foolish.” There’s no fun in that.

To illustrate, here are a few fun out-of-home media examples. It’s stuff you don’t see everyday, and all were effective (some more than others). But enjoy these with a few words of caution.

  • Plan your marketing and advertising with traditional media in place first.
  • Stick to your budget; don’t risk your entire year on a special event or promotion.
  • It’s not all for laughs. Measure results; Return-on-Investment is the genuine payback.

Segway advertising is not a mass media. In fact, we hardly ever see Segways…or Segways with signs and Wi-Fi laptops from EMC Outdoor.

Segway Wi-Fi Onboard

Segway Wi-Fi Onboard

Mercy Healthcare took the two-wheelers to the sidewalks in Sacramento to engage people about open enrollment awareness. How this is measurable: Interested individuals could use the Segway-mounted laptops to connect to Mercy’s open enrollment website on the spot.

The dentist ad with tear-off teeth. Even if you don’t need a dentist, you almost want to “take a tooth” from this clever and attention-getting poster.

dentist poster

Take A Tooth Poster

Printing cost is probably affordable, although posting on utility poles (if permitted) could be labor intensive, even in Muskegon, MI. Dentist John Mullaly can measure results using the take-one coupon.

Reaching women out of the home and in the grocery store. Chicago’s Norwegian American Hospital went to the grocery store to increase awareness for their Women’s Center of Excellence.

women's center floor graphic

Floor Graphic about Women’s Center

Highly targeted placement included floor graphics, grocery cart panels (in store) and parking lot posters (outside).

shopping cart posters

Women’s Center Cart Poster

Look for other posts about Out of Home media, including this one about billboards that recognize shoppers, and using billboard to promote ER wait times. But don’t confuse special purpose advertising or event promotion with practice marketing “born losers.” The test isn’t “fun;” it’s all about being effective. If you need a reality check, give us a call first.


Stewart Gandolf
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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