Campaign's Wholehearted Approach Garners Healthy Response

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A one-year direct mail and direct response television campaign has served to boost heart attack screenings at the Indiana Heart Institute at St. Vincent's in Indianapolis.

Started in August 1999, the campaign netted an overall response rate of about 2.3 percent, said Laurie Kowalevsky, account supervisor at Publicis Mid-America, Indianapolis, which managed the campaign for the institute.

The institute launched the campaign in response to a trend of declining cases at its heartcare center, Kowalevsky said. Competitive pressure, along with new technologies that have lessened the amount of treatment heart patients need, led to a steady drop of an important source of revenue.

To reinvigorate the institute, the hospital decided to begin offering free heart screenings and a heart-health education campaign, Kowalevsky said. Between August and December 1999, Publicis, using staff from its Indianapolis and Salt Lake City offices, designed and dropped six different mailers totaling 126,000 pieces and garnered a nearly 2.24 percent response rate at about $50 per lead.

Publicis used a list from HCIA/Sachs, Baltimore, to aim for a demographic that was most at risk for heart attacks, Kowalevsky said. People targeted in the initial campaign were men and women age 55 and older.

The mailers invited people to attend heart screenings at the hospital, Kowalevsky said. At the same time, the hospital ran DRTV ads encouraging people to call and sign up for a heart attack risk assessment.

In April, Publicis began a new phase of the campaign, dropping another 43,000 mailers and receiving 1,200 responses, Kowalevsky said. The 2.7 percent response rate from this mailing was the best rate of the campaign.

By this time the campaign's focus had shifted to a younger group of people who were just beginning to enter the period in their lives when they were more at risk for heart attacks, Kowalevsky said. Where Publicis had aimed previous efforts at the 55-and-older demographic, the company now was sending mailers to people in their mid-40s.

"We were really able to nail down the profile for prospects," Kowalevsky said. "We included [the] younger demographic in there to catch people in the early-onset phase."

This month, Publicis took a different tack when it mailed 15,000 invitations to a lunch featuring heart-healthy cooking tips, Kowalevsky said. About 270 people responded, which resulted in a 1.7 percent response rate.

"We're happy with the response," Kowalevsky said. "But it's not one of our bigger events."

The company is preparing to ship another 30,000 mailers to support its scheduled September screenings for peripheral vascular disease and aortal-abdominal aneurysm.

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