Marketing to seniors

Mercy Health System

“If you build it, they will come.” It’s a slogan that works well in movies, but not in healthcare. Even the best programs that offer real benefits—at low cost—won’t truly thrive unless they are supported by robust healthcare marketing campaigns.

And the most successful campaigns may not use a hard-sell approach. In fact, the most effective way to promote some programs is to give consumers content that supports—but doesn’t explicitly detail—your program.

That’s what the team at Mercy Health System discovered, as they worked on a print marketing product for their senior population.

Serving key community members with Mercy LIFE

The Mercy LIFE program is designed for people 55 and older who live in Philadelphia or Delaware County and qualify for Medicare and Medicaid. The program is free for those who are eligible. The goal of the program is to help vulnerable seniors stay healthy and active—so they can continue to live independently in their own homes. Each person who enrolls has access to a customized program of care. And there are four adult day centers available, which put seniors in touch with a team of caregivers, including doctors, nurses, therapists and more.

A traditional marketing campaign would likely focus on the features of a program like this. A printed piece following this model might tell readers about:

  • Open hours.
  • Services offered.
  • Value gained.
  • Number of people served.
  • Success rates.

The Mercy team wanted to do something a little different. To them, the program is really about serving the community. A publication that shared that same goal—of being helpful—seemed like a better fit.

Communicating core values in print

The Mercy LIFE publication is filled with articles of interest for people who fit in this key demographic, as well as their caregivers. Readers who open the publication will see stories about:

  • Nutrition.
  • Exercise.
  • Vaccination.
  • Budgeting.
  • Medication management.

These are topics that the audience needs to understand in order to stay active and healthy at home. And these are the stories that help readers understand the kind of care they might receive if they enroll in the program.

The printed piece also includes member profiles, which shed light on who enrolls in the program and the benefits they get from membership. These profiles strive to be helpful and entertaining, but they can also work as a bit of a push to encourage people to enroll.

Measuring the impact

Each edition of the printed piece contains a few action items. Readers are encouraged to:

  • Visit the website and check out an online calendar of events.
  • See an online sample menu of meals served at the centers.
  • Call to determine whether or not they’re eligible to enroll.
  • Visit social media channels for more information.

These disparate CTAs give the Mercy team a great deal of information to measure. And the results have been spectacular.

According to Taryn Duckett, Director of Market Strategy and Planning at Mercy LIFE, visits to the website rise in the month following publication. Calls to the call center increase during that same time period.

“I can always tell when the publication is hitting homes, because I see requests for information rise,” Duckett says. “Since the publication’s inception we have enrolled many seniors in the program and the ROI is clear to me.”

A dedicated team gets the work done

Like many healthcare communicators, Duckett’s workdays are packed. While she believes in the value of the publication, she also doesn’t have an extensive amount of time to devote to content planning and strategy.

Coffey’s team stepped in to help. Before each edition goes into publication, editors develop an editorial plan and submit it to Duckett for approval. With that plan in place, she can focus on the other parts of her job that need attention, while her publication moves forward as planned.

“The Coffey Communications team is not only reliable and resourceful, they are 100 percent invested in the product,” Duckett says. “They are an extension of my team, and their services are invaluable." 

Print ROI

Print infographics

Multichannel marketing

Disease management content

Marketing to seniors