Archive for category Marketing Strategy

Healthcare Marketing: When, Where and How to Promote Awards

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In the healthcare industry, awards and recognitions are everywhere. From US News & World Report to Healthgrades, and Leapfrog to AHA/ASA, awards are presented to healthcare providers for quality outcomes, patient safety and in recognition of individual service lines. Winners of these recognitions tend to display these awards every opportunity they can. However, it is essential to communicate these awards effectively to receive the best ROI – which isn’t always tangible. 

For internal audiences, awards and recognitions are a major source of pride. For a leading physician, service line directors or a department nurse, awards are a direct reflection of the individual and team impact on their patients. Collectively, awards and recognitions can elevate an organization’s perception as a great place to work, supporting recruitment of the best talent and retention of existing employees. Flyers, posters, and announcements can help to build that internal pride surrounding the recognition.

For external audiences, this isn’t as clear. Market research has revealed that when asked if awards factor into healthcare decision making, the average person will say no. On the surface, awards don’t make an immediate impact and in general, people don’t understand the difference between awards and what they truly mean.

Yet, the perception of credibility is a huge factor in the decision making process, and recognition by a third party can support an image of quality of care in the market place – if utilized correctly. The challenge is understanding when, where, and how they will be most effective.

Because there are so many varying methodologies, names and designations, awards are best promoted in a message that educates current and prospective patients, authenticates the recognition and utilizes relevant communication vehicles. Press coverage, newsletters and an organization’s website are intended to provide real-time updates and information, and allow for additional content that explains and supports awards. Service-line collateral can also be an effective medium to include key recognitions, as these types of materials are often being used to compare providers and healthcare options.

The more controversial tool for communicating awards is within advertising. The most effective service line campaigns connect with audiences by emphasizing the emotional factors tied to positive patient outcomes. If including an award in a print ad, on a digital banner or within a radio spot, the required award language or badge can often take away from other messaging that will more powerfully disrupt, resonate and motivate. On a billboard, when the window to make an impression is only have 3 seconds, an award can clutter a message and take away from a brand awareness opportunity.

The decision to purchase and promote an award is undoubtedly significant, as the cost for a single recognition can vary from $10,000 to $100,000. That’s why it is imperative to communicate awards in the most effective manner that supports qualitative ROI.

“It’s the quality of the award message, not the quantity of its use. If an investment is made, the best way to respect that investment is to leverage the award in the appropriate way and let it support your brand, not become your brand.”


-  Michelle Torr, Sr. Advertising Executive

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WIIFM: A Strategic Approach to Website Development

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Brand experiences occur when a consumer walks into a store, office or restaurant, or when a product is used or a service is utilized. Brand experiences also occur when a consumer visits a brand’s website. A website is a 24-hour extension of the brand experience, and acts as a 24-hour sales person (even if the site isn’t e-commerce).  The look, functionality and content are demonstrations of a brand’s values, and when the online image is consistent with the physical brand experience, it establishes and sustains trust, credibility and consumer loyalty. For those who have not yet experienced the brand firsthand, the website sets the stage for what the person can expect.

That’s why it is essential to approach website development with the same level of strategic thought put into business planning, brand development and marketing execution plans. When a website isn’t strategically planned, the brand can suffer, creating a disconnect in the brand and experience, resulting in loss of customer buy-in and loss in short and long term sales.

But when it is, the benefits are significant:

  • Cost reduction – Ensures that what is built meets the business objectives, and isn’t more (or less) than needed.
  • Efficient resource planning – Identifies what and when resources are needed, including time, budget and staff.
  • Measurable progress – Creates measurement criteria for success and allows for a more informed iteration.
  • Maximizing website value – Creates an efficient experience and brings added value to users.
  • Foundation for iteration – To improve the management of the website, planning allows for smaller release cycles and iterative design.
  • User success – Understanding what users want and need will make them successful, and they’ll make the brand successful in return.
  • Coordinated efforts – By thoroughly researching what is necessary on a new website, business strategies will be more aligned and resources will work more in sync.

So what’s involved in website strategy development? Orange Label and Jon Farjo, strategic digital partner and Chief Strategist of Omatik, identify two critical areas to creating a solid long-term plan: research and planning.


  • Analytics review – Analysis of data to determine what is currently happening on the current website, if one exists, and understand how users are accessing the website, what they are doing while they are there and identify areas of opportunity for improvement.
  • Stakeholder interviews – Asking a series of relevant questions designed to understand the current and future direction of the business model and how the redesigned website will facilitate the desired user experience. Answers will help to inform recommendations for the new website.
  • User interviews and usability studies – For areas of utmost importance, especially where transactions or lead generation occurs, it’s best to understand how users interact in greater detail. Meeting with customers, investors, donors, etc… to determine how they feel and use these areas will give additional insights in the strategy. It is always helpful to obtain a third eye perspective, as it often times can provide insight on missed or unforeseen issues.
  • Business plans – Upon understanding business operations, a website strategy can assist, automate, and elevate these activities.
  • Competitive research – Analyze what competitors are doing well and looking at areas of opportunity to capitalize on.



  • Recommendations reporting – Based upon the findings within the research phase, recommendations are presented in the areas of Information Architecture, Accessibility, Usability, SEO, Social Media, Email, Design, Content, Development and Technology/Integrations.
  • Phased rollout – Taking all of the approved recommendations and putting them into manageable phases. This is key to launching more quickly and efficiently, as well as creating longer-term value for users.
  • Resourcing –This is perhaps the most important part of the strategy since it will inform necessary budgets and staffing to execute the website redesign properly.


Research and planning is unquestionably a thoughtful, time intensive exercise, but the benefits are significant, ensuring a positive connection between the brand and viewer while supporting key business objectives.


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TBLS: Greenwell Farms

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Taking Social to the Next Level 

In a world of major coffee shop chains and large multi-national coffee producers, Greenwell Farms has thrived by creating and maintaining a boutique and organic brand that is followed by Kona coffee enthusiasts worldwide. Their brand identity has remained a key component of their growth since 1850, yet throughout their 160+ year heritage, how they’ve communicated their brand story has evolved time and time again. Several years ago, social media became a primary driver of their core messaging and recently, Greenwell reinvested in their social approach to generate even greater awareness, gain new followers and strengthen their position as a unique lifestyle brand.

Incorporating Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+, the comprehensive social media strategy is focused on generating relevant, shareable, consistent content. Each platform has its own detailed, individual strategy, yet tied together with a singular voice and intertwined themes to achieve a unified content marketing approach.

What’s truly unique about Greenwell’s social media plan is its infrastructure, which leverages OLAA’s resources along with Greenwell’s internal staff and their public relations and web development partners. This approach allows the entire, extended Greenwell team to collaborate and generate a pipeline of content ideas that are reviewed, narrowed and scheduled for distribution on a weekly basis. The content is then formatted for each platform and fed into the appropriate social media sites. Postings and analytics are monitored through reports and quarterly phone calls, to explore new opportunities for optimized engagement.

Because Greenwell is a family-owned and operated farm, it attracts a particular audience, who prefer the intimacy and eco-friendliness of smaller brands. And, with a new social media strategy, they are able to generate greater attention, new customers to their online store and attract visitors to their Hawaiian coffee farm. Plus, as a beneficial outcome, this integrated strategy enables greater synergy and efficiency across their landscape of social media platforms.

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Nuance #5: Your Hidden Audience: Physician Marketing

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Many times within large medical organizations, an intense marketing focus (of both dollars and attention) is brought to external campaigns for the public, with a priority of driving patient volume and brand awareness.  Another significant portion is often directed to primary and specialty care physicians, to support referral volume and recruitment efforts.

While both are certainly a priority, what about your own physicians? Many times, if physicians don’t see your brand, your organization’s latest news or ad campaigns in their personal lives, they assume it’s just not happening. An internally directed strategy keeps your physicians informed, and like any marketing plan, should be targeted based on the audience’s behaviors.

A good first step? Find out what those behaviors are by surveying your physicians with a few simple questions:

  • What are your media habits / what media do you access for information and entertainment? (specific radio or TV stations, websites, publications, etc…)
  • What time of day and days of the week do you use media?
  • What tools do you prefer to use for professional and interpersonal communication? (email, phone, text, fax, printed materials, etc…)
  • How often do you prefer to receive updates from the organization’s executive team?


Selling and reselling your organization to your internal audiences, ensuring that they are bought into your brand should be a priority. In addition, all communication efforts should be approached strategically, with defined goals and objectives and a long-term plan designed to achieve them.

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Is Your Hospital Ready for an App? 3 Steps to Find Out.

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Remaining relevant and up-to-date on all digital platforms is essential for healthcare advertisers and providers’ long term success. For some, this includes having an app, which more and more hospitals are beginning to implement. But before investing time and dollars into app development, there are questions to ask to determine if an app is the best healthcare marketing solution. Based on the hospital’s marketing goals and objectives, is an app effective? Is it worth the cost? Is it App Worthy? Below are 3 Steps to help you answer these key questions and prepare for an effective hospital app strategy:

Step 1: Establish web presence that translates across all devices and has strong mobile visitorship, and review Google analytics and traffic trends to uncover patient, staff and community mobile behavior and needs. Websites for hospitals and healthcare organizations play a significant role in patient experience and in managing the hospital’s brand perception in the marketplace. Learn more here.

Step 2: Develop an app concept that addresses needs of the mobile or tablet-based user that are not and cannot be met by the optimized website, and therefore, will offer a new or different experience to patients and the community. For a hospital or healthcare provider, this experience could be scheduling an appointment, real-time Emergency Room or Urgent Care wait time updates, or an interactive physician referral tool. There must be a strategic, defined purpose for an app that will enhance an individual’s life, in a way that is unique, not provided anywhere else, and is true to the brand and brand strategy.

Step 3: Allocate the necessary resources for ongoing app management. For example, if the app is for appointment-setting, will the software between the mobile app and in-office desktops sync? If there are bugs, is IT or another vendor available to address issues in real time? If for a physician referral platform, is there a designated process for updating physician information and insurances accepted as changes occur? Plan ahead to ensure that the app will run smoothly, otherwise you risk the integrity of the user experience.

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WIIFM: Using Digital Marketing to Reach Baby Boomers

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With more than 100 million consumers generating $7 trillion a year in goods and services, the Baby Boomer generation has more disposable income than any other age group. According to, Baby Boomers control 70% of disposable income in the United States. They are generally in a stronger financial state than other demographics and have a growing number of personal and professional interests, which continues to impact the economy by creating new business opportunities. 

So, how do you influence Baby Boomers and increase market share with this lucrative demographic? There are many relevant ways to reach this age group, yet one often overlooked method is digital marketing. A common misconception is that online marketing and advertising only appeals to younger generations, such as Millennials. Although it is true that the younger demographics were the first adopt online technology, Baby Boomers were not far behind.

Understand Online Behavior
In fact, much of the technology being used today was invented by famous Baby Boomers such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The tech savvy generation spends on average of 39.3 hours online per month and 1 in 5 use social media as a means to find healthcare information. (Read more on Digital Healthcare Advertising)

Send the Right Message
However, when using online marketing to reach Baby Boomers, it is important to understand that they were the first generation to be constantly exposed to advertising messages coming from all angles. Quantity of ads alone is an unlikely way to secure new customers and gain their loyalty. To create an online campaign that captures attention and elicits response, it is important to focus on quality, which Baby Boomers associate with customer service and personal communication. Provide contact information, feature a live chat on your website, and encourage current and prospective clients to connect on Facebook.

Be Social
Baby Boomers are among the fastest growing groups on social media – particularly Facebook – using social platforms to keep up with family and friends, read the latest news and current events, and stay connected to brands. To remain relevant and top of mind it is important to be present with a social media and content marketing strategy that resonates.


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3 Reasons Why Healthcare Providers Should Use Digital Advertising

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Digital marketing capabilities and digital advertising products have grown immensely in the past few years, and continue to provide innovative, relevant and cost effective solutions for reaching target audiences. Brands across industries benefit from these technological advancements, and healthcare organizations are no exception. Digital outreach, when implemented strategically as part of an integrated advertising plan, can cause hospital marketers and medical providers an increase in website traffic, online engagement and marketing ROI. Here’s three reasons why…

1.) Tracking

A challenge in the medical world is tracking advertising campaign results due to patient privacy issues and the role of insurance in the decision making process. However, digital marketing vehicles provide analytical information and data regarding campaign audiences and response.

“Digital tactics such as search engine marketing, targeted email blasts and display advertising offer real time insight into the age, gender, location and behavior of visitors, as well as performance statistics for every link, keyword, placement and creative component tied to the strategy.  This allows healthcare marketers to optimize much more efficiently and effectively, and therefore produce an increased ROI and response.”

-          Michelle Torr, Senior Integrated Advertising Executive

2.) Targeting

When advertising for any product or service it is essential to target the appropriate audiences.  The targeting capabilities associated with digital have grown immensely – including behavioral, geographic, keyword and contextual, retargeting and more. For hospitals and healthcare providers this is a key benefit, as digital campaigns, even those running concurrently, can include custom targeting criteria and layers by message.

For example, geographic targeting can and should vary per service line. Urgent care, emergency services and primary care will likely require a tighter radius, since these are services sought close to home. However, for more complex surgeries or specialized treatments, patients tend to be willing to travel further to receive the best care and therefore, the geographic range can increase greatly.

Contextual and keyword targeting add layers based on content. For example, if a user is looking at symptoms for Chicken Pox, based upon the live text on the screen, an ad can be served for a PCP or urgent care center nearby. This creates a direct response opportunity for a “transaction” to occur and provides value to the user who may need assistance quickly.

Through these targeting tactics, digital advertising allows specialized services to be promoted to a relevant audience and prospective patient base, in a way that is cost efficient and relevant for today’s consumers.

3.) Relevancy

“There is an abundant amount of information about health on the web. This is the first place people look to find information about healthcare providers, insurance, doctors, and symptoms. There is relevancy for being online and with digital targeting, you can be even more specific and reach people who are looking for the information and services you are promoting.”

-          Michelle Regrut, Jr. Integrated Advertising Executive

From Millennials through Baby Boomers and beyond, consumers turn to the web for information. When an organization isn’t present on the web, or when that presence isn’t representative of the organization’s values, it reflects poorly on their credibility and relevance in today’s world. This is especially the case for hospitals and healthcare providers, who rely on advanced technology for care and where quality can be defined by life-saving experiences. A strong website that is content rich and responsive is the core component of maintaining a credible digital brand and supporting a positive patient experience (read more about hospital websites here:

But a website alone isn’t enough – consumers need to be able to find you when they need to. Search engine marketing, strategically placed digital display banners, content marketing and social media presence all work together – especially when integrated with traditional marketing tactics, to drive site traffic and provide real value to patients, their family members and the community.

To read more on why advertising in the healthcare industry is important, click here:

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TBLS: National Merchants Association

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To achieve thriving brand leadership, a business leader must think long term, see beyond the current state of the company, and be fearless in the face of change. For OLAA client, Heather Petersen, CEO of National Merchants Association (NMA), exhibiting these characteristics has provided the determination to achieve long-term goals and has brought NMA’s vision to life.  Along with being an educational resource for the latest rules and regulations of the electronic transaction processing industry, NMA is also one of the fastest growing merchant service providers in the world.

When NMA reached out to OLAA, the firm had already achieved a core level of industry brand awareness.  However, to fully tap into their potential and continue to grow in such a fast-paced industry NMA understood the need for a more aggressive and coherent marketing strategy to drive brand loyalty and capture additional market share. Through the Orange Label ProcessTM, OLAA developed a 2014 campaign theme and execution strategy to powerfully position NMA in the high-risk niche of their industry.

“High-Risk? Done.” This became NMA’s core message – a bold, focused, and confident power statement that strongly resonated with prospective Independent Sales Agents (ISA) and Independent Sales Organizations (ISO).  To drive this theme, OLAA developed a strategic marketing execution strategy that implemented powerful trade show and print advertising presence utilizing NMA’s revitalized marketing message.

The tradeshow components were designed to be a branding vehicle and increase engagement with potential merchants and agents. In order to do this, OLAA supported NMA’s messaging and marketing tactics by developing the “GoPro Giveaway,” implemented at each tradeshow.  Marketed through a strategic direct mail and e-blast campaign that tied in NMA’s newly launched ProAgent Partner Program, NMA created more excitement, enhanced booth presence, and increased vital face-to-face communication opportunities with ISO’s and ISA’s.

In addition to tradeshows, OLAA negotiated and secured premium ad space in niche print publications. These trade magazines were selected through customer feedback obtained from OLAA’s View From the FieldTM.

“I see a company that is aggressive in a positive way; NMA appreciates marketing and advertising. As a result, they’ve been able to differentiate themselves through a powerful marketing campaign. They are changing their industry by how they have embraced market leadership.”

-          Kelsey Phillips, Integrated Advertising Executive

Heather Petersen has a clear vision of where she is taking NMA. By embracing OLAA’s aggressive marketing strategies and tactics, NMA is successfully cutting through industry clutter and mundane tag lines to differentiate themselves from their competitors and present a clear and effective message to their current and prospective customers.

“NMA’s vision is clear. Their willingness to invest in success, their energy to make the vision real, and their drive to deliver the best product and service is what makes them a Thriving Brand Leader.”

-          Wes Phillips, Agency Principal, Integrated Advertising

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Nuance #4 10+ Service Lines. 100+ Physicians. Who and what do you promote?

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When it comes to annual planning, how do you begin conversations to manage goals set by your organization’s strategic vision while also achieving marketing objectives and satisfying physician demands? It’s important to identify what to focus on and when, considering the financial and political landscape of the short and long-term.

The questions below will help to focus conversations for fiscal year planning and determine the service lines to be prioritized and promoted.

- What service lines have been profitable in the previous fiscal year?

-What service lines generated positive cash flow in the previous fiscal year, or have potential to generate positive cash flow in the next fiscal year?

-What feedback has been shared from key physicians and/or the executive team regarding messaging, media vehicles or service lines that they believe deserve more attention?

-Has any positive or negative feedback been shared regarding any previous campaigns?

-From a business development perspective, what service lines will be growing and/or changing in the next fiscal year?

-Will there be any new key announcements to the community?

-From a competitive perspective, what service lines have opportunity to shift market share to your facility?

Not only will these questions focus strategies up front, they will also arm you to answer the age old question: “Why aren’t you promoting MY service line?”

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Content Marketing – Create or Curate?

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“The ultimate goal of content marketing is to create a sense of trust and comfort…”

-          Drew McLellan, Owner at Agency Management Institute

When developing an effective content-marketing strategy, one big question to ask is: “Should we create content or curate it from other sources?”

Original, unique content requires the creation and stock of articles, white papers, case studies and consumer research. Whether produced internally or through a network of freelancers, consistent, ongoing development of quality content requires significant company resources; i.e. time and dollars. Yet, original content demonstrates expertise and contributes to organic search rankings.

Curating content requires time to identify and analyze quality sources of shareable information, and compose the firm’s point of view on the information. The costs in terms of time and money can be significantly less, yet on its own does not establish credibility or thought leadership.

So which one is better? Which pros outweigh the cons? Do you create or do you curate?


Just like most aspects of a healthy and successful lifestyle, it’s all about finding the balance. OLAA’s content marketing strategy incorporates both original content and curated articles so that we can achieve our goals with our resources available – us. We craft and post original content on a weekly basis to share our expertise and experience in the world of advertising and marketing. Through our unique writing style, this outlet also allows us to communicate our brand voice and authentic personality.

Sharing content weekly doesn’t fully achieve the goals and objectives of our social and content strategy. And, we recognize that there are other experts that have differing opinions, experiences, and areas of expertise that both we and our followers can learn from. That’s why curation is part of our approach. When we curate content, it helps us stay active in the advertising community, share our additional thoughts on marketing-related topics, and it allows us to focus on creating consistently valuable and powerful original content with our followers.

“An effective and sustainable content marketing strategy includes both original information AND the qualification and curation of thought leadership from 3rd party sources.”

-          Wes Phillips, Agency Principal at OLAA

For us, a balance between curated content and original content has been the most effective for achieving the goals of our digital strategy with our resources available. For companies to find the balance that best works for them, it is essential to first define their business objectives, key performance indicators and brand voice.

What are your thoughts on “Curate vs. Create”? What approach has worked best for you? Feel free to leave your comments and thoughts in the section below!

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