One-On-One with St. Louis Children’s Hospital

| By: Nathan Sprehe
Nathan Sprehe

St. Louis Children’s Hospital—one of the top 5 pediatric hospitals in the United States according to Parent’s magazing—recently came to Almanac with a pretty straightforward request: “we need to highlight our surgery team for referring pediatricians in the region through a direct mail piece.” Children’s has much to be proud of and they wanted to share it: an accomplished team of board-certified pediatric surgeons, the highest verifications for trauma care, 24/7 access to the surgery team through Children’s Direct, a focus on low dose radiation and wound care just for little people…even a hot air balloon in the cafeteria!

The marketing team at Children’s knows that the most influential component in referrals is a strong relationship between referring pediatricians and surgeons. And they work hard to foster those relationships–luncheons and learning opportunities for pediatricians at the hospital, and occasional meetings on-site at pediatricians’ offices. But pediatricians and surgeons are busy people. Whether treating patients, attending to ongoing training and skills development or trying to squeeze in some family time of their own, the two groups don’t often get an opportunity for much face time. So how do we use direct mail to get these two groups talking?

After we met with the surgeons, we knew we needed something different than the traditional brochure or clever promotional product. We needed to cut through the clutter and get these doctors to connect. Our solution: develop a series of documentary-style videos highlighting who the surgeons really are, to take the place of one-on-one get-to-know-you meetings that are just too difficult to schedule.

The resulting pieces reveal an incredibly genuine, passionate and, above all, human group of people who really do care about the kids they take care of. The physicians share their thoughts on their work, families, memorable cases and more, and a community pediatrician provides an additional viewpoint.

As a mechanism to drive pediatricians to view the videos, and to reinforce the messaging, we developed a companion direct mail package containing profile cards on each surgeon and an invitation to watch their personal videos. The cards were mailed out in two separate mailings, providing an additional reminder to pediatricians. The final printed piece was covered in a soft touch coating to give the cards a playful, tactile feel.

Although the first mailing dropped only a couple of weeks ago, the result has been incredibly positive. Viewers find the videos interesting and memorable–at a recent speaking engagement one of the surgeons was even asked a question referring to her video and an issue she addresses in it.

Our thanks to the general surgeons at St. Louis Children’s Hospital (and to our local pediatrician) for their flexibility and the inside look they gave us into their worlds–both professional and personal.

All the videos can be viewed on our Vimeo page here:

Director / Photography: Jay Fram

Mailer package with surgeon profile cards

mailer detial

Surgeon profile cards