How Effective Healthcare Marketing can limit Patient Outmigration

Dan Diveley
VP of Business Development

How Effective Healthcare Marketing can limit Patient Outmigration

How often do you, as a rural hospital marketer, think this about lost patients?

“Come back!  This is where you need to be!”

I still remember these words by Sister Eilleen. I was 16 and waiting for an evening teen religion school class at my church to begin. Out of the window I saw Jeff, a friend, being dropped off by his mother. Jeff got out of the car and proceeded to walk towards the church. But as soon as his mother drove away, he quickly changed directions and headed towards the foosball arcade. When the nun saw this, she quickly opened the window and yelled,

“Come back. This is where you need to be!”

How often do you hear yourself, like Sister Eilleen, nearly screaming this to lost patients? Outlying hospitals seem to face an all too similar problem: local residents leaving their city to visit a hospital in a larger community.

Patient Outmigration is a big concern for rural hospitals. The National Research Corporation surveyed 200 U. S. hospitals and published some of the results in their article, The Case of the Impatient Patient. According to the research, 37% of those that travel to a distant hospital report doing so because of the reputation of the provider outside of their locale. These people travel an average of 66 to 90 miles for a variety of services including Heart Care (13.9 percent), Orthopedic Treatment and Surgery (13 percent), Neurology (11.5 percent), and Cancer Treatment (9.5 percent).

And another interesting outcome from the research was the household income level of these outmigrators. Conventional wisdom may lead to thinking those with high household income are more likely traveling to other cities. However, the opposite seems to be true – the lower the HHI, the higher rate of percentage of patient outmigration. As the report notes, the poorest households had the highest outmigration rate, while those earning over $100k had the lowest outmigration rate of all.

We here at Geile/Leon speak with many outlying hospitals. What we hear is that often the local hospital offers the same level of care, outcomes and amenities as a big city hospital, all located within a very short drive, yet some patients insist on going further for their care. So if it’s not better care that attracts patients to larger hospitals, maybe it’s a perception problem (This is one of the many issues facing the healthcare industry as you can read more in our Healthcare Marketing Whitepaper).

Are your local residents making the long drive to other cities when they could receive the help they need close by at your hospital?  Do you have a good story to tell but not getting the results you hoped for?

If patient outmigration is a concern, give us a call at 314-727-5850 and ask for Tim Leon. We would love to hear about the issues you are facing and maybe show you a few relevant examples of how we helped our clients with similar challenges. At Geile/Leon, we enjoy working with rural hospitals ranging from 80-200 beds. We’ve helped them refine their brands, improve their messaging, and increase patient visits.

Maybe with a few adjustments to your MarCom will keep you from yelling:

“Come back! This is where you need to be!”

We are looking forward to meeting you. And if you’re not ready to meet right at this moment, that’s totally fine. But we’d definitely recommend checking out our Special Report for Healthcare Marketers in the meantime by filling out the form below:

Healthcare Trends

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Trending from G/L: The Future of YouTube Advertising

Luke Smith
Senior Account Executive

Trending from G/L: The Future of YouTube Advertising

We have all seen the pre-video commercials on Google’s YouTube that play before your chosen content starts up. And we all probably wait for the very moment that we can click the “Skip Ad” button . While YouTube has been around for over 10 years, commercials have only really been prevalent for 5 years or so.

With anything relatively new, there is a learning curve and marketers are beginning to understand that this format should not be treated like a normal TV spot. It requires a different thought process.

“Storytelling has changed. With television, there is a beginning, middle and end. A digital campaign- there is no real end. Once you put it out there, what it becomes is another part of the idea…” stated David Droga, Creative Chairman of Droga5.

Emily Anderson, Creative Director at Ogilvy added, “The number one thing would be, who do you want to watch it? And then start there and work backwards.”

As the storytelling aspect of YouTube advertising is refined, it should be noted that the formats are ever evolving and marketers will need to adapt as new technologies emerge.

New Advertising Technology Coming to YouTube

Standard YouTube commercials may quickly become a thing of the past as new formats are developed. Jaunt is working with Bud Light to introduce experiential, 360-degree video ads to YouTube.

As Virtual Reality becomes mainstream, Google’s YouTube is at the front of the pack of early adopters. The new technology allows viewers to not only view the video but also interact and experience it by enabling them to drag and view the entire scene in a 360-degree radius.

YouTube Ads product manager JR Futrell states that the new 360-degree format is “a truly mobile-first video ad product,” – something worth noting considering half of YouTube’s views come directly from smartphones and tablets.

Major consumer brands are jumping on-board and gradually perfecting the art of storytelling through these new, unique formats. Nike, A-B InBev and Coca-Cola are examples of some of the brands leading the charge.

But what’s next? As VR headsets become more prevalent, brands, and content providers alike, will be able to provide even more immersive and interactive experiences. Google already has a cardboard VR headset that you can place your phone in to get the full experience and it costs next to nothing to obtain one.

As VR hardware like Oculus Rift becomes more readily available (and cheaper), the possibilities for delivering VR content are truly endless.

If you’re interested in learning more about the newest advertising technologies and how they can help your brand, shoot us a message.

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Consumer Engagement: Think Your Marketing is Tough? Try Selling Heart Attacks.

Dave Geile
Creative Director Managing Partner

Consumer Engagement: Think Your Marketing is Tough? Try Selling Heart Attacks.

We admit, creating and executing a successful healthcare marketing plan is tough.

After running an advertising agency for 25 years, we have done a lot of healthcare and hospital branding and awareness campaigns with success of course; but your customer, or patient in this case, really isn’t fully engaged in your message unless there is a need. For instance, I can probably make a Dairy Queen Blizzard look pretty good and get people to pay attention and they may even dash out and buy one. Try doing that with cardiac care.

I ran across a great blog on Marketing Healthcare by Stephen Moegling. It stuck out to me because he used an example I have used many times myself (As a matter of fact, just used it recently in a meeting with a health system marketing manager). He compared healthcare marketing to other big ticket, seldom needed purchases such as cars. Everyone who needs a car probably has one, and once they buy one, you won’t see them again for 3-5 years. So the car companies try to keep you engaged with their brand, and when the need eventually comes around again, their image is swimming around somewhere in the back of their customers’ mind space. Your healthcare marketing plan should have that same impact.

In healthcare, having a relevant brand means engaging consumers today for solutions they may need tomorrow. – Moegling

My point is, I have lived through this process of marketing healthcare many times and I think this blogger is right on. The other aspect that stood out to me was that he didn’t even mention expensive TV and radio, but he did list some very doable suggestions (many we have used ourselves) to help keep your healthcare brand out there and part of the “considered set” when the healthcare need arises. His list is below, and you can read the entire blog here. It’s worth taking a look at and passing along if you are in the healthcare industry.

-Downloadable questions to ask your physician about a specific condition
-Microsites for more in-depth interaction among consumers and your services
-Email campaign with links to wellness information, classes and events
-“Ask the Expert” monthly web chat led by physicians
-Interactive kiosks in hospital lobbies and common waiting area
-Men’s health promotional events at local hardware stores
-“Afternoon Tea” women’s events
-Heart healthy shopping menus at local grocery stores and restaurants
-Sign-ups for Facebook “fan” exclusive promotions
-Twitter/tweet announcements from live events
-Sign-ups to hospital Twitter accounts get entry into raffles
-New resident gifts for completing surveys or calling to get a new physician
-“Find a new physician” promotions with a call center or website payoff
-Use Flickr and other photo sharing sites for cutest baby contests
-Baby fairs and other community events
-Meet the Physicians Night at housing community clubhouses
-Clinics for sports medicine promotions (proper stretching, nutrition and rest)

If you have questions about how to create, execute or evaluate a successful healthcare marketing plan, fill out the form below and let’s discuss your options!

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Trending Now from G/L: Brand Storytelling, Groupon’s Social Win, Web Design and Knowing Your Consumer

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending Now from G/L: Brand Storytelling, Groupon’s Social Win, Web Design and Knowing Your Consumer



Every Monday morning, the G/L office starts our week by meeting together and updating everyone on new business, old business, this week’s needs, last week’s successes – all the good stuff. We always take time at the end of these meetings to discuss what is trending now in our marketing and design world. We decided that what we talk about isn’t only beneficial to us, but to our clients and followers – so every Monday morning we share our favorite trends with you.


Last week, we talked about innovative technology, how brands are positioning themselves and algorithm changes to know for clients. This week, we discussed amazing ways brands are telling stories, a social media win by Groupon, Web design and knowing your audience.


By Generation
Nike came out with a new ad called Ripple. This ad is the epitome of storytelling as it shows two generations of golf meeting one another, involving the brand through the entire journey. Nike isn’t prominent in the video, you may not even know it is a Nike ad until the very end. This is a characteristic of great brand storytelling – get your audience to remember the story and they will, in turn, remember the brand telling it.

Using Real-Time
Baseball is a sport of history. This year, Major League Baseball moves forward with a real-time approach to what baseball is and means to all of us right now. This isn’t just one ad, but a season-long campaign called “This Is Baseball.” This campaign will celebrate memorable plays and outstanding players and teams as the season unfolds.

Read the full story from Ad Age, and watch the new ads here.


So often we see brands failing on social media, this week we talked about Groupon winning at planned social media. Groupon knew that the product they were promoting strongly resembled a very, very different product. They knew the joke, with a product like this, how could you not? Instead of cowering away from the subject, Groupon embraced it and planned the post knowing it could be trolled and prepared for the responses.

Here are a few of our (more appropriate) favorites:

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 12.21.54 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-06 at 12.26.09 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-06 at 12.22.26 PMRead the full story from Ad Week about how Groupon planned the post here.
Read the full story from Ad Week about the responses to the post here.

(If you are reading this at work, then you’re welcome for not including a picture of the Banana Bunker with our brief; can you imagine what your co-worker would think? Product shopping for your produce while on the job is a definite no-no.)


When we share trends, we like to keep in mind what will move our clients’ brands forward as well as our own. If we’re always giving the best advice to our clients, we should do the same for ourselves, right? So, if you are a part of an agency, consider the next few trends to assist in processes for your clients and your own brand.

Web Design
Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 11.58.44 AMFrank Chimero, a Brooklyn Web designer and Missouri State University , created a website interpretation of his talk from Webstock 2015. The website shows the process of Web design from Dial-Up to the future and all the challenges that designers and brands may face along the way with how to overcome them. We encourage using his talk and website as a resource for Web design and transformation.

View his website here.

Big Music Needs Big Budget
Established songs and artists require high financial stakes. It makes sense for a brand to want to associate itself with an already successful piece of culture; however, it also speaks volumes for a brand to connect with an artist on-the-rise and take advantage of the opportunity to build campaigns and partnerships that benefit both parties. The artist gets some much-needed exposure and the brand gets a sound of its own without the price tag (which frees up some budget to be reallocated to support the campaign).

Read the full assessment from Ad Age here.

4 Out of 5
IBM released a study stating that 4 out of 5 consumers feel that a brand doesn’t know them as individuals. Even more, 80% of marketers think they understand their audience. Yikes. As an agency, it is part of our job to research and connect our brands to their audience in an authentic way. So where is this divide coming from? How do we fix it?

Read the full story from Bulldog Reporter here.

The long weekend brought us a lot of information; want to talk about these trends with us? Did you see an interesting trend we haven’t talked about? Let’s chat. Connect with us on Twitter or Facebook.

Did you miss the last trends we shared? See them here.