SUCCESS STORY | Executive Resources  

Intalere Members Save Up to 92 Percent on Local Advertising Costs

Every year, healthcare facilities large and small spend millions of dollars on advertising expenses, from elaborate television campaigns, to web-based announcements, to necessary items like listings in local and regional directories. Although many times overlooked or dismissed as “old school” or irrelevant, traditional print directory advertising remains an “under the radar,” but costly, media channel.

Why do healthcare facilities overlook directory advertising as a place to trim costs? There are many reasons:

  • Renewals only come up once a year and can auto-renew without member approval. Last minute deadlines make it more likely for providers to simply ‘renew as-is’.
  • Contracts and pricing are hard to decipher and understand. Advertising charges are often buried in phone bills and many customers have no idea what the true cost of directory ads are. For example, an eye center in Florida thought they were spending $350 a year, when the real cost was closer to $35,000.
  • Many small bills can add up to large costs. Directory sales representatives sometimes take a ‘divide and conquer’ approach by placing many smaller ads, for many departments, in many different places. Each area has multiple publishers producing overlapping directories, making the process time consuming.
  • Programs are bundled with special plans that increase costs when providers try to reduce expenses. Print may be given ‘for free,’ but costs are just shifted to digital products to maintain level of expense.

Healthcare providers still need to connect with consumers in today’s increasingly complex local advertising environment. Let’s take a look at how several were able to rein in, refine and optimize their directory advertising and save up to 92 percent in the process.

The Challenge

New Mexico Cancer Center (NMCC) provides cancer care to 1 out of 3 New Mexico residents needing treatment. With five locations across the state, serving both rural and urban areas, reaching their broad and dispersed patient population is a communication challenge. Their marketing team had been tackling numerous challenges in dealing with the local directory publisher, including the running of incorrect advertising for NMCC for an entire year that had never been approved.

Similarly, Eggleston Orthopedics in Lake Jackson, Texas, was looking to reassess and uncover savings for marketing and advertising. They were unsure of direct ROI from their directory investment, and increasingly skeptical about investing 60 percent of their total marketing budget into print and internet directory advertising. “With rising costs of providing healthcareand decreasing medical reimbursement, our office was in need of a more cost efficient means of marketing,” said Julie Eggleston, administrator, Eggleston Orthopedics.

As a rural health provider operating in Southern Colorado, Rio Grande Hospital services a broad geographic area with a large seasonal population increase. Rio Grande’s market area has multiple directory publishers and Rio Grande advertised with all the local providers. After staffing changes, responsibility for directory advertising ended up with the CEO, Arlene Harms. She became frustrated by ongoing publisher errors and the fact that directory advertising was consuming over 70 percent of her marketing budget.

After learning that Intalere offered a directory management and savings contract, each of these providers decided to seek assistance for a better approach.

The Solution

These members connected with Intalere partner DAI Agency, who used their proprietary database to track down advertising expenses for each member, provided savings case studies of how similar facilities had integrated savings solutions and projected savings potential prior to contracting.

DAI built a customized program for each provider that included a single point-of-contact for all print and digital advertising placement, a performance guarantee that they would gain at least 40 percent savings, and handling of all design and placement of ads for free.

Since more and more prospective patients look online, Google listings for each customer were researched and optimized. This includes adding descriptions, logos, photos and proper categorization, and securing ownership for the Intalere member.

Despite the fact that more searches take place on mobile devices than desktops, most members do not have a mobile optimized website. Each member was provided a complimentary mobile site as part of the service.

The service also provides complimentary results tracking for print directories as well as digital offerings, such as mobile websites. This allows members to evaluate which channels of communication their patients are using most. They can also report and assist with any online reviews that exist for the member on sites like Google, Yelp, Healthgrades, RateMD, Vitals.com and others.

The Outcome

Each facility was able to optimize their print and digital directory advertising.

In NMCC’s case, by evaluating new patient acquisition channels, directory usage, advertising expenses and available discounts, a new marketing plan was developed to meet all requirements at lower costs. They were also able to enhance patient access and convenience with a mobile optimized website and an optimized presence on Google.

By leveraging the Intalere savings solution, NMCC was able to decrease directory costs by 83 percent while enhancing their overall marketing efforts.

By taking advantage of Intalere discounts, untapped free advertising and smarter media purchasing, Eggleston Orthopedics realized an annual gross savings of 92 percent. Directory advertising now accounts for less than 10 percent of the overall marketing budget while better helping patients connect with the practice.

Rio Grande realized an annual net savings of 47 percent, corrected numerous errors in their directory listings, secured and optimized their digital advertising and Google listings, and eliminated redundant advertising coverage.

“Intalere made the process very easy and saved me quite a bit of time in addition to money. In previous years, some of the listings were incorrect, despite an abundance of time used for design and proofreading. It was a smooth, organized process to use the Intalere team,” said Rio Grande CEO
Harms.

Eggleston agreed. “They assisted our office in identifying where our referral sources were coming from and adjusted our marketing dollars to match. In the end, our marketing dollars will be spent in areas that will reach the most number of people in our community.”

The CEO of a large orthopedic practice in Wyoming, who realized an 81 percent savings on advertising contracts also spoke to similar success. “Despite saving more than $70,000 a year we have noticed no decline in our patient volumes. More and more, patients are looking to other avenues that we must market to, such as Google, our website and other internet sites. In our market, word of mouth and referring doctors have a great deal of influence on who calls us for an appointment,” he said.