How awareness months can fuel powerful healthcare marketing strategies

Abstract composition of of squares in the layout of a calendar.
April 2024
Working in healthcare marketing, you’ve likely had someone pass by your desk and ask, “What are we doing for <<insert health awareness month here>>?” What’s been your response?

Often it comes down to your organization’s point of view and how health awareness months align to the brand’s identity. For many, these acknowledgements are not simply a one-time social media mention — they’re part of a larger strategy. For others (I’m looking at you, lean and mean healthcare digital marketing teams!), these efforts can fall squarely into the “nice to have” column of an annual plan overflowing with “need to haves.”

But, with over 150 such months each year, where do you start, if at all? Here are some strategic tips for those able to tackle these extra initiatives.

3 ways to build a healthcare awareness month strategy

1.

Choose the perfect cause(s)

There are a myriad of worthy causes that your organization can choose to support with healthcare marketing.

Here’s a comprehensive list of some of the healthcare awareness months that are recognized worldwide:

January: Cervical Cancer Health Awareness Month
February: American Heart Month
March: Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month
April: National Cancer Control Month
May: National Osteoporosis Awareness Month
June: Scoliosis Awareness Month
July: Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month
August: National Immunization Awareness Month
September: Pain Awareness Month
October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month
November: American Diabetes Month
December: Safe Toys and Gifts Month

When evaluating the awareness month(s) your organization could support, consider:

  • Brand alignment: Choose health conditions that resonate with your organization’s mission, values, and expertise.
  • Relevance to your audience: Select awareness months relevant to your target audience’s interests. Research common concerns and demographics to make informed choices.
  • What are your competitors doing: Research which competitors are also acknowledging similar healthcare awareness month(s), what are their approaches, and which channels are they using? Plan topics and activities that help your organization stand out as a thought leader.
  • A creative approach: Your topics and activities are an opportunity to get creative — showcase your brand voice and visual identity in a way that differentiates you from your competitors.

2.

Build a strategy that wins (and matters)

Once you’ve achieved stakeholder buy-in for your selected month(s), it’s time to develop your campaign strategy. You will want to:

  • Develop a memorable theme: This should connect your brand to the awareness month. If you plan to run this campaign each year, will the theme be evergreen or will it evolve? Or will you choose a completely new theme each year?
  • Create engaging content: Choose formats that your audience is excited about. Maximize your efforts by creating one or two more robust assets that can be used to create shorter-form assets (i.e., one webinar = many pieces of content).
  • Partner with influencers: You don’t necessarily need a high-cost influencer — there are likely people around you with relevant perspectives. Look to internal SMEs or customers, industry associations, societies, or patient advocacy groups. These relationships can amplify your message, while signaling a higher level of commitment to raising awareness for the health issue.
  • Organize events and activities: Live and virtual events are a great way to engage your audience and champions of your awareness month. Consider inviting members of a related society or a patient advocate to attend and speak.
  • Don’t forget to track and analyze your data: This is your best opportunity to win the hearts and minds of internal stakeholders. Include recommendations for where and how you would adjust the campaign to improve performance in the future.

3.

Think beyond the month

While awareness months offer a period of concentrated focus, remember that your commitment shouldn’t end there. You can integrate your theme into your overall marketing strategy by:

  • Continuously sharing valuable health information: Regularly publish articles, tips, and resources relevant to your chosen health conditions.
  • Support advocacy initiatives: Partner with relevant organizations to raise awareness and support policy changes.
  • Build relationships with key stakeholders: Connect with healthcare professionals, patient groups, and community leaders to foster ongoing collaboration.

Raising awareness and building a brand

By strategically leveraging awareness months and integrating them into a broader strategy, you can effectively raise awareness through healthcare digital marketing, build trust in your brand, and achieve your marketing goals. Remember, the key lies in aligning your chosen health conditions with your brand identity and audience, and in delivering valuable and engaging content that resonates with them.

Pro tip: Consider incorporating patient testimonials and success stories into your marketing efforts during awareness months and beyond. This allows you to showcase the real-world impact of your work and connect with your audience on an emotional level.

Lorraine McMeekin
Lorraine McMeekin
Senior Director, Strategy – Healthcare
With more than 16 years of experience in healthcare marketing, Lorraine leads the Healthcare Strategy practice at StudioNorth.

Related Posts