Q&A: Redefining Awareness Month Success – Strategies for More Effective Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigns

Health awareness campaigns continue to grow in popularity and visibility each year. From highly branded, targeted digital media and print campaigns to multi-day walks with thousands of attendees, support for cause sponsorship alone is predicted to reach $2.06 billion in 2017, a projected increase of 3.6 percent over 2016 (according to Sponsorship.com).

Health systems can still keep their services relevant and continue to drive new patient volume without spending an entire year’s budget on one awareness campaign. Rather than competing with awareness month advertisers for new customer acquisition and sinking thousands of precious marketing dollars during the awareness month itself, we advise taking a more strategic approach.

During a recent webinar, Chris Girardi, VP, Campaign Center at Evariant shared strategies for running effective multichannel health awareness campaigns that keep your health system’s brand primed to new and existing patients.

In case you missed the live session, here’s the full Q&A from the presentation:

What are the most effective calls to action (CTAs)?

There are two different types of CTAs – hard and soft. The CTA is always asking people to take an action and fill out a form. With a hard CTA, the form fill can be for scheduling an appointment or signing up for an event. A soft CTA asks the person to take an action such as downloading a brochure or a guide.

As it relates to Breast Cancer Awareness, the most effective CTAs are:

1. Come in for a screening

2. Talk to your doctor about a screening

3. Request a second opinion

Essentially, soft CTAs can lead to clinical conversions with the right follow-up plan in place to guide people through the decision process. Going into the market with one hard call-to-action like “schedule an appointment” only gives marketers one shot with the campaign. Hard CTAs are a little more upfront, whereas soft CTAs show up higher on the conversion funnel and help to educate prospects. With Awareness months, asking someone to come in for a second opinion is a much softer CTA because a lot of the work on the patient side has already been done – the patient doesn’t have to come in for additional tests.

Can you talk about how to fit an “assessment” CTA into an awareness month strategy?

Assessment CTAs should be focused on genetic background and testing. For example, a CTA could be “Has anyone in your family had breast cancer?”

Did you say that most people do not self-schedule?

There are many other touch points and opportunities for people to schedule appointments to see an OBGYN to discuss breast cancer. Typically, we find that most (not all) people are not actively looking to schedule a mammogram on their own, but are being told by their OBGYN or PCP to schedule one as part of their yearly care.

You said in October you want to do targeted keywords for search – can you explain what you mean when you say, “very long tail keywords”?

A long tail keyword is one that has four to six words that are meant to be used as a phrase. So rather than a generic phrase such as “breast cancer treatment,” a long tail keyword would include the specific genetic testing and even the location. For example, “invasive ductal carcinoma in Chicago.” Choosing relevant keywords for website pages, landing pages, social media, and blog posts can help a health system’s pages rank higher than the competition in search results.

With breast cancer awareness month being in October, an ideal promotional approach would run for six months with consistent alignment between online and offline tactics as indicated in the Campaign Flow and Monthly Strategy graphics outlined below.

Awareness Campaign Flow Graphic

Awareness Campaign Flow Chart

What do you mean by “pixel everything?”

To run effective remarketing ads, which we always suggest as a best practice component for any digital campaign, you must first identify the audiences who will see the ad by capturing data. Because more data allows for better targeting (right message, right person, right time), we suggest pixeling everything on your site so you can create micro-audiences as necessary.

These audiences are based on a pixel that tracks someone’s online behavior on your website(s).

A pixel is essentially a short snippet of code that is placed on any digital asset – a landing page, a button, link, etc. The information that is captured can include an individual’s user ID, the source that user came from, the location of that user and the information from the page the user was looking at. The information captured by the pixel is relayed into a third-party software, such as Google Analytics, to be recorded and processed to then provide insights into the activity of a particular individual. Proper tag implementation and function is the basis for all web analytics, media campaign measurement, downstream big data analysis, and ultimately insights about the performance of marketing and advertising efforts.

By capturing all of this information, you’re able to create very specific first-party audience segments and run highly targeted remarketing campaigns for those people that visited a specific page, downloaded something specific, or are from a specific area.

Do you have suggestions on effective audience segments, like on Facebook?

The easiest audience segments should include anyone that is associated with breast cancer foundations, anyone that has donated in the past, is looking to get involved, etc. There are “typical” age ranges and geographies that you can target; however, limiting to just that would be detrimental to the overall goal. Don’t forget to target both men and women, as well as any and all connections!

What are the best KPIs to measure the success of awareness tactics?

With awareness campaigns, I suggest focusing less on the number of leads captured, but more on the overall engagement. To do this, measure metrics such as the time spent on the specific site or landing page. Also, look at social metrics such as how many people have liked/shared/commented on your posts. These metrics show how your messages and brand is resonating. For the healthcare industry in particular, social media can help engage patients, providers, and the public with relevant and timely information, as well as communicate the value and credibility of the health system.

Going beyond awareness months, marketers need to measure the success of campaigns across several different areas, including lead management (leads and conversions) and revenue (ROI, leads to ROI, CPA). Lehigh Valley Health Network shared how their marketing team delivers C-suite ready dashboards that cover more than just likes, shares, click-throughs, and site visits in a recent presentation.

What’s the suggested budget split (online vs. offline)?

For awareness month in general, the budget should be 80 percent to offline marketing and 20 percent to online. Offline marketing will impact a much larger audience and also tends to be very expensive as compared to online. We find that the impact of offline is very clearly seen (via lift) on the online, digital efforts.

What do you recommend for engaging 80,000 fans at a NFL breast cancer awareness game?

This is a fun exercise! If you don’t have the funds to sponsor the event, I’d say to focus online marketing efforts to engage people on their mobile devices. Here are a few ideas…

1. Host a Facebook Live event. Have a representative onsite at the event to comment on the game, the atmosphere, etc.

2. Use third party audience segments to target and serve advertisements specifically to people that are watching the game.

3. Find the exact coordinates of the stadium the game is taking place at and use geofencing to show the fans unique messages on their mobile devices.

4. Outside of the digital space, you could do some guerilla marketing. Guerilla marketing relies on high energy, imaginative advertising that makes an impression, takes the audience by surprise, and creates a copious amount of social buzz.

Can you explain when and where geofencing is an ideal strategy for display?

One of my favorite applications of geofencing is competitive conquering. As it relates to breast cancer, consider creating campaigns that are in the radius of your competitors’ imaging centers or anywhere that they perform mammograms. As for timing, geofencing campaigns can be used to target people when they’re driving to the appointment, sitting in the waiting room, and even as they just leave.

Have you done any digital campaigns to target physicians (PCPs specifically) to try to drive mammograms throughout the year?

We would target PCPs like we target consumers. The message and time frame would be different – since PCPs are extremely busy people – but we have the right audience segments and the ability to reach them with tailored messaging.

Can you talk a little more about how Evariant helps clients’ digital campaign efforts?

The Evariant Campaign Center is a full-service “agency.” We have a team of more than 20 individuals with years of campaign and marketing experience. We understand the nuances of healthcare provider markets. We have the resources to strategize, design, develop, and deliver campaigns with a high return on investment. Our methodologies incorporate the instant feedback mechanisms required to ensure your campaign evolves and continues to reach your intended audience.

Final Thoughts

Breast Cancer is the most community driven market of any service lines that a hospital system typically promotes. This creates a unique experience for us as marketers to interact with our audiences through emotional and engaging messages and media tactics. In order to be effective and optimize your budget wisely, remember to implement a clear set of goals, audiences, and desired actions for your multichannel campaign. Just being present is no longer a strategy that will differentiate your health system from the crowded market. Your goal should be to utilize the inherent awareness created by the entire market to create a lasting impression that carries far past awareness months.



Evariant provides a leading healthcare CRM solution suite designed to help health systems transform the healthcare experience for their consumers, patients, and physicians. Built on the Salesforce Platform, our solutions foster richer consumer/patient engagement and tighter physician alignment. Powered by cutting-edge data and analytics, Evariant enables health systems to effectively communicate care options that increase revenue and market share, while optimizing network utilization. Many of the top health systems have selected Evariant to thrive in today’s hyper-competitive and rapidly changing environment.