How Hospital Marketers Can Differentiate a Bariatrics Campaign

Bariatric surgery can help eligible patients live longer, happier lives. Yet despite recent research showing that some forms of the surgery are no riskier than other common minimally invasive surgeries, only 1 percent of eligible patients undergo elective bariatric surgery. Interestingly, 80 percent of them are women.

For hospital marketers hoping to reach female prospects, this is fertile ground. Making interested (but tentative) prospects aware of your hospital’s expertise and capabilities in this service line can lead to increased volume and satisfied patients.

Here’s how to create an impactful campaign.

Educate your targets.

The barriers your target audience face may vary by demographic. Research shows that women have a more positive outlook about bariatric surgery outcomes than their male peers, which may make them more receptive to messaging about the life-transforming potential of the procedure. Consider holding free informational sessions to combat lack of knowledge, one of the top barriers to surgery among morbidly obese patients, and to assuage patient fears.

Consider a testimonial campaign — but differentiate.

Seeing the positive outcomes others have experienced can be a powerful motivator, so advertisers have long used testimonials as a convincing form of social proof. But that means the popular, time-tested method isn’t exactly edgy. To make your testimonial campaign stand out, incorporate unexpected elements. One example: Women often choose to undergo bariatric surgery so they can keep up with their families. So why not turn the camera on the kids of a mom who’s had the procedure? Showing a kid who’s excited her mom is more involved in her life is not just heart-warming; it’s effective.

Make an integrated campaign work for you.

To drive action, you need to meet the consumer where she is with the right message on the right channel at the right time. Don’t wed yourself to digital if you find your demographic responds better to direct mail. Consistent measuring and optimizing will help you achieve this.

Back creative with data-driven insights.

What do your prospective bariatric patients really want? It may be different than what you think they want. Before crafting creative, build out your strategy: Ground your quantitative research by performing focus groups and interviews first, which can help you zero in on the right questions to ask your target population. From there, your creative team can begin to create visuals and messaging that truly speaks to your target.

Kathy Selker
I’m Kathy Selker. My work as managing director of Stratos and previously as CEO of Northlich, has taught me a great deal about how hospitals and health systems can best connect with women to make the most positive impact in their lives.