Hospitals Use Direct Mail to Reach out to Mammogram Prospects

March 21st, 2011 by

Mammograms aren’t recommended for everyone. So using a mass marketing approach to convince individuals to get screened can produce its own form of medical waste.

That’s why DeKalb Medical opts for the more cost-effective strategy of sending direct mail only to those most likely to respond.

Segmenting prospects for a targeted direct mail campaign

The three-hospital system based in Decatur, Ga., does this by segmenting its data and sending tailored postcards to three individual age groups: women nearing 40, women ages 40 to 49 and women ages 50 to 64.

DeKalb Medical further segments those prospects by identifiing loyal patients who have not come in for a mammogram, local non-patients who have a high risk of developing breast cancer and patients who should be excluded from marketing because they’ve come in for a screening within three years.

The hospital even can identify who has health insurance. “Mail lets us go directly to those patients who will improve our bottom line, which will then allow us to provide free services for those who are underinsured,” says Terri Whitesel, director of corporate communications at the not-for-profit hospital. “We can’t do that type of screening using TV or radio.”

Creating direct mail imagery for target market profiles

Additionally, mailers for each age group are versioned for Caucasians and African-Americans in terms of imagery reflective of the audience and copy that offers relevant statistics for both targets.

“We know that our particular market is heavily African-American, and we also know they’re at greater risk for many of these diseases,” Whitesel says.
But all the mailers have a friendly tone that conveys a serious message. “We don’t want women dying of breast cancer,” Whitesel says. “We want to try to catch it early and make sure we can help them help themselves.”

DeKalb Medical sends about 2,000 postcards a month. About 46,000 pieces have gone out to about 30,000 area individuals to date, and more than 1,500 women who have received the mailer have come in for a mammogram.

Whitesel is pleased with the response but also focuses on the greater potential, or the lifetime value, of a customer who comes in for a mammogram and may return for other services.

Bottom line, direct mail is highly responsive for hospitals and medical practices. Hospitals attract area newcomers with New Mover lists; can reach out for specific health issues with Ailment Sufferer lists; and market demographically to reach women, families with children or other market segments for specific hospital programming.