Marketing Modern Medicine

The expanding healthcare sector welcomes promotional opportunities

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act was heralded by some as a way to improve access to healthcare; by others, it was decried as another example of bureaucratic bloat. Regardless of where patients fall on the political spectrum, the reality is that healthcare needs and the industry that serves them continue to grow at a healthy pace. As a result, healthcare professionals are taking on more responsibility for communicating services and benefits to more patients—i.e. customers—and using promotional products to deliver the message.

Wendy Franklin

Wendy Franklin

Wendy Franklin, MAS, a St. Louis, Missouri-based promotional marketing expert for distributor Geiger (UPIC: GEIGER), has been helping her healthcare clients deliver messages through promotional solutions for more than 20 years. “Health care is intensely competitive. We have two very large systems here that employ 20,000 people each, so marketing is extremely important to them,” she says.

Franklin says her clients most often use promotional items for two distinct audiences—community members and facility staff. “I do as much for employees—health and wellness, recognition—as for community outreach,” she says.

One community outreach program, for which Franklin developed a kit of message-driving promotional items, earned her a 2016 PPAI Pyramid Award. Her client partnered with a pharmaceutical company to work with expectant mothers who opted in to a program that helped them maintain a healthy pregnancy.

“The campaign was geared toward providing calming and relaxation techniques to reduce the mother’s stress level. The promotional kit we developed included a fragrance candle, workout towel and journal for recording exercise and diet,” she explains.

Franklin believes health care is an industry that holds great potential for promotional consultants. To build business with clients, she recommends distributors seek out human resources and marketing professionals working within the system. “The decision makers can be different employees, depending on the organization, but the key areas I would first contact are human resources and marketing. From there, just ask for referrals.

“I think it’s easier to build a client base in healthcare than in other industries,” she adds. “But you have to work to differentiate yourself because, chances are, they’re already buying [promotional products] from somebody. When I’m training salespeople, I will always advise them to find healthcare clients. Any healthcare-related business is going to be intensely competitive.”

Look to products like these for your next healthcare-focused projects

beacon finger duster

Keep the message at their fingertips with a Frizzy Finger Duster. The washable, reusable, 100-percent microfiber material is great for cleaning computer monitors, keyboards, telephones and more. Hand these out at health fairs, fundraising events or during appointments. Choose from blue, gray, lime green and pink.

Beacon Promotions BEACONP

Makana Line badge clip

Wear a badge you can be proud of. This retractable badge reel holder allows your ID, timecard, key, etc. to be instantly accessible whenever you need it. This easy to use item features a 24-inch extendable cord, carabiner, a snap-strap ending and a metal belt clip on the back side. Includes a full-color epoxy dome imprint.


Heritage Sportswear visor

Cap a successful wellness program or awareness event with the Flexfit 110 Tech mini pique visor. It’s made with moisture wicking, quick drying, water-resistant Spandex fabric with matching undervisor. An adjustable hook-and-loop closure with square ring makes this visor perfect for participants of health fairs and fun runs. Choose from black, navy and white.

Heritage Sportswear/Virginia T’s UPIC: HERI0002

ACS front & back

Add some chemistry to a client’s office with lab-style test tubes filled with paperclips, pushpins and binder clips. The unbreakable tubes, displayed in a contemporary cork base with cork stoppers, are refillable.

Primex Innovations, Inc. UPIC: Primex


ADG stylus pens

Put a fine point on healthcare needs with a Tahoe click pen stylus. The retractable ballpoint pen is classically styled with a comfort grip, polished barrel and on-trend accents. Choose from five barrel colors. Black ink only.

ADG Promotional Products UPIC: ADGPROMO


drum-line notebook

Brighten up a wellness promotion with full-color Impression Journals that feature full-color artwork on the cover and imprintable sheets.

Drum-Line UPIC: ADGH1356


Make healthy messaging stick with peel-and-stick vinyl skins that work on a variety of flat, smooth surfaces including walls, stainless steel, glass and more.

Magna-Tel, Inc. UPIC: MAGNATEL

wow line coloring book

Kids will get a kick out of learning to stay healthy with this eight-page coloring book. Glued binding ensures little fingers won’t be hurt by staples.


just for women glass nail file

Make an awareness campaign sharper with a pink-handled nail file packaged inside a white case that can be imprinted in black or silver.

Diamond Cosmetics, Inc. UPIC: Diamond1


Take inspiration for your next project from these industry case studies

Celebrating Precious Gifts

A hospital was looking for a gift to give new mothers who visited its newly remodeled maternity ward. The hospital chose a themed Frame-It FLEX®BarelyThere™ mouse pad with a picture of each recipient’s new baby inserted into the frame. New families appreciated the heartfelt gift while enjoying the versatility of being able to use it as a mouse pad and a memento of their time at the hospital with the interchangeable picture frame.

Source: Digispec

Making Dentist Visits Delightful

A dental practice launched a Smile Club to help make dentist visits more fun for children. The program included a wide range of in-office and take-home items for which the dental practice needed a partner with full-service capabilities. Distributor Advantage Print Solutions worked closely with office staff and

a local design firm to help coordinate and source promotional items, branded apparel and printing solutions for a range of marketing materials, including a custom-printed passbook for young patients to bring to every visit. The dental practice continues to maintain a successful program that helps put more smiles on young faces.

Source: Advantage Print Solutions

Encouraging Employee Wellness

A major pharmaceutical company sought a reasonably priced item to kick off its latest employee health program. The item needed to be one that could be distributed to all company employees through a series of health fairs. The item was expected to promote good health, serve a practical function and be seen and used daily by employees. The item also needed to show both the health program’s toll-free call center and its dedicated website.

Distributor Sonic Promos created 8,000 custom phone pads with antimicrobial protection and attached instructional cards and distributed them at various health fairs, generating significant foot traffic to the company’s health and wellness booths. The program saw significant web traffic, with much of that attributed to the marketing of the pads. The client was pleased with the item’s ability to offer two messages, one short-term (on the disposable card attachment) and one long-term (on the phone pad). As a result, the company has seen an increase in program participation among staff members and employees.

Source: Sonic Promos

Who’s Working In U.S. Healthcare?

Ambulatory Healthcare Services

Offices of physicians, dentists, other health practitioners; outpatient care; medical and diagnostic labs; home healthcare

Number employed: 7.07 million

Top Jobs

Medical secretaries

Medical assistants

Medical and health services managers

Licensed nurses


General medical and surgical hospitals, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, other specialty hospitals

Number employed: 5 million

Top Jobs

Licensed nurses

Medical and clinical lab technologists

Radiologic technologists and technicians

Nursing and Residential Care Facilities

Nursing care facilities, residential mental health/substance abuse facilities, elderly community care, other residential care

Number employed: 3.3 million

Top Jobs

Home health aides

Licensed nurses

Medical and health services managers

Social Assistance

Individual and family services, food/housing/emergency relief, vocational rehabilitation, child day care

Number employed: 3.6 million

Top Jobs

Social workers

Personal aides

Social and community service managers

Social and human service assistants

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Marketing Trends For Healthcare Organizations In 2016

1. Fewer independent practices

2. Patient self-education

3. Appealing to consumers and insurance companies

4. Growing emphasis on digital channels

5. Social media interaction

filed under june-2016 | ppb
Read time:
Comments (1)
Linda White
June 21, 2016

Kudos to Wendy for her hard-work and tenacity throughout the years --- consistently managing her healthcare clients (and others client's too!) with a very targeted, well thought approach--- while always offering the newest/most up-to-date products. She truly has the intended client "message" in mind at all times---and delivers. :)

Leave a reply