When my business partner and I took ownership of Jennings, we agreed to a couple of guiding principles:
- In everything we do, we would be committed to improving the health of the individuals and communities we reach by way of our clients. As a healthcare marketing firm, we would not be peripheral to health and wellness; and we would only work for clients who share our values.
- No matter how much we grew (reputation and/or staff size), we would always be willing to work with small healthcare organizations with limited resources.
It is not uncommon for small hospitals to approach us about working with them. The conversation usually starts with them saying something like: “We probably can’t afford you.” Or “You probably wouldn’t ever consider working with a hospital our size.” I always share with them our philosophy and then begin a conversation to explore their strategic needs. Over the years, we have learned that there are ways for us to bring strategic expertise to the table while making the overall marketing program accessible/affordable for smaller organizations. For ad campaigns, we often create a broad program with graphic templates (print ads, digital ads, posters, PPT templates) that they can execute on their own using a local graphic artist and copywriter.
This brings me to the topic of healthcare marketing awards. We win somewhere around 120 awards each year for work we produce together with our clients. Having just returned from the NESHCo Lamplighter Awards Gala, where our New England clients won 34 awards, I have a renewed sense of where I find fulfilment relative to winning awards. The answer is simple: I take the most pride in the awards we win with our smallest clients. (Important: We win awards “with” our clients, not “for” our clients.) These organizations are typically severely under-resourced both in terms of budget and FTEs.
Although a number of our healthcare clients won Lamplighter Awards this year, I was most pleased to see two of our smallest clients, Copley Hospital (Morristown, VT) and the New Hampshire Hospital Association, receive a number of awards for work we have done together. Copley Hospital, a critical access hospital in rural Vermont, won three awards for their community blog (Live Well Lamoille), where they brought together a number of community organizations to collaborate in an effort to promote population health. The hospital has a marketing, PR and development team made up of two hard working professionals.
The New Hampshire Hospital Association won a total of five awards, primarily for communications tools we developed together to help them with their advocacy efforts.
I love seeing our smallest clients produce award winning and groundbreaking work! Often, the key to success in not the budget, it is about strategic insights, creative thinking and having the right people at the table. We are certainly honored to sit at the strategy table with these organizations.