In a world inundated with digital advertising, physical ads may seem a bit pedestrian. But studies have shown that physical advertisements take less cognitive effort to digest and are much more likely to be recalled at a later date, even when the subject is unaided. According to a study sponsored by the Canada Post, unaided brand recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to a physical piece of advertising (75%) rather than a digital advertisement (44%).
Hospital advertising is as much about connecting patients with the healthcare that they need as it is about looking after the hospital’s bottom line. While there are plenty of digital channels available to reach patients—most of which are worth exploring—digital advertising can be costly. Furthermore, tracking the ROI of pay-per-click advertisements can be difficult for hospitals who rely on walk-ins rather than online commerce.
Placing physical advertisements in high traffic areas is still one of the most cost-effective ways for hospitals to expand their local patient community. High traffic areas could include busy intersections, airports, shopping malls, pharmacies, or supermarkets.
Supermarkets still play a central role in people’s lives and serve as community centers for surrounding neighborhoods. A place to convene, catch up with friends, and shop, they are flush with shoppers on the weekends and after work hours. This makes them an ideal location for hospitals to spread brand recognition and deliver important messaging to their patients. What’s more, consumers go to the grocery each and every week lending great frequency to the messaging.
Often, when one thinks of ads that they might see in a supermarket, they are thinking about shopping cart advertising. While this form of advertising can be effective, it is much smaller, isn’t interactive, is less exclusive, nor does it give something back to the community for free.
Hospitals Should Provide a Service
Marketing is often seen as a one-sided enterprise—an attempt by an organization to elicit business form a target population. But healthcare advertising as well as hospital marketing serves a secondary and more important purpose. Advertising on billboards, kiosks, and other physical displays is often an important solution for hospitals that wish to convey information to individuals when they are out of their homes and on-the-go. When they don’t have immediate access to a computer, a smartphone, internet service, or other digital channels and are out living in the physical world.
According to BMC Health Services Research, “Billboard advertising appears to be well suited to engage the less fortunate, providing a productive pathway for the conveyance of helpful, supportive details, yielding healthier populations, enhanced opportunities, and better communities.”
For underprivileged and underserved communities, physical displays and kiosks in high-traffic areas serve as a means to inform them not only of the availability of certain medical services, but also of their need for regular attention from medical professionals regarding certain procedures, such as immunizations. In disadvantaged communities, advertising in supermarkets is not only an effective way to expand one’s patient community, is can also be a critical channel for patients who might not otherwise be aware of medical resources in their community.
Furthermore, when hospitals advertise in supermarkets using kiosks that dispense hand sanitizing solutions and wipes, they are providing a free and indispensable service to the community. While supermarkets tend to be clean upon first glance, they are also filled with large groups of people and, therefore, large clusters of germs and bacteria. Providing shoppers with easy access to germ-killing solutions is an easy and effective way to prevent the spread of disease and advertise in a way that aligns with a hospital’s mission.
Becoming a Fixture in the Community
If your hospital intends to expand its patient community, supermarkets provide an excellent opportunity to acquire tens of thousands of impressions every month. By simply applying some artwork and messaging to this functional device, your hospital can provide an invaluable service to your community through a well-maintained kiosk. The messaging is precise in terms of the right zip codes and areas to segment based on income and ethnicity. Advertisements may also be updated monthly to keep up with the health calendar and/or promote multiple service lines to ensure messaging remains as fresh as the produce. To practice what you preach and provide a dose of wellness throughout your service area to drive positive brand opinion and goodwill all year long.