CRM Kick-Starts Successful Direct Marketing Campaigns at St. Bernards
// By Jane Weber Brubaker //
St. Bernards’ marketing team tried to run direct mail campaigns on their own, but they weren’t working. Today, it’s a different story.
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At St. Bernards Healthcare in northeast Arkansas, trying to prospect for new patients among new movers wasn’t working. That changed when the health system adopted a CRM platform, Virgin Pulse, in 2017. “Before we had this system in place, we tried to reach new neighbors in all kinds of ways,” says Laura Pickens, vice president of marketing and public relations at St. Bernards. “We weren’t good at it. We would pay for lists and try to do our own mailings, and that was costly. We couldn’t show a return like we can with this platform.”
Today, St. Bernards’ “New Movers” direct mail campaign, targeted to anyone with a new address in the system’s primary or secondary service area, is working like gangbusters. “We had a 69.7 percent response rate, which is incredible,” says Lydia Parkey, executive director of St. Bernards Medical Group. These results are for the life of the campaign, beginning in 2017, with an eight-month pause in 2020 due to COVID.
The response rate reflects actual patient visits — not just appointments — for services at St. Bernards. “This is anybody that took any action within our system — appointment with a provider, visited an urgent care, imaging, surgical procedure — anything,” Parkey says. “I think that’s one of the things we love about the CRM system…we can actually see that you came in as a patient.”
Based on this success, St. Bernards deploys a full menu of campaigns, reaching out to patients and prospects at key times.
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