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3 Tips for Executing a Successful Traditional Marketing Campaign

By Peter Decoteau

In today’s marketing landscape, digital platforms reign supreme for several obvious reasons: compared to traditional marketing, they’re cost-effective, much more targeted, easier to measure, and quicker to update, pause, or otherwise shift gears on the fly.

For all these reasons, digital marketing tends to get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to talking about marketing strategy and execution. Still, traditional marketing platforms, such as TV, radio, print, and sponsorships, can be effective components of a complete marketing strategy — they just require a bit more patience and some additional planning to make sure your messaging is successfully getting in front of the right audience.


In the July 2021 issue of Impact (https://bit.ly/3vM6uHz), we explored some best practices for measuring your return on investment (ROI) for traditional marketing campaigns. Setting your goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), and tracking methods is a vital part of any marketing campaign, and while it’s much easier to track metrics on digital platforms, there are plenty of ways to more clearly align KPIs to goals that prove causation and/or correlation through traditional channels.

Before launching any kind of traditional marketing campaign, make sure to start with an end goal in mind, define what data might indicate progress toward that goal, and make sure you have systems in place to measure that data. For example, if your end goal is simply to increase new bookings in a certain geographic area, you may determine that your top KPIs are related to clinic phone calls and website visits from within that region. On the flip side, if you are participating in an event and your goal is to bring new people into your “Conversion Funnel” so you can continue to market to them in the future, your KPIs might be names and emails collected and added to your email platform, followed by open and click-through rates for follow-up emails. For a much more detailed breakdown of how to best measure ROI for traditional marketing, read the 2021 article at www.ppsimpact.org/minding-the-gap-measuring-the-roi-of-traditional-marketing.


Traditional channels may reach audiences quite a bit broader than is intended, but the best campaigns speak to targeted segments of that audience specifically. You can see this in most advertisements you (often unknowingly) consume throughout the day — from TV ads for life insurance you don’t need to radio ads for a local daycare, even though your kids are in high school. The promotions are reaching you, but you are clearly not their intended audience.

When planning a traditional marketing campaign, it should be well understood that your messaging will reach a majority of people who don’t want or need your services. The instinct, then, might be to broaden your messaging to appeal to as large a part of that audience as possible, but instead the goal should be to hone in on one or two certain types of individuals, identify which channels they engage with and which messages appeal to them the most, and focus specifically on them. The best way to do this is to create “marketing personas” for your ideal patients.

A marketing persona is a fictional person you’ve developed who represents a certain archetype of a prospective client. By defining characteristics such as age, income, education level, interests, needs, behaviors, and ambitions, you can start to get a clear picture of what types of media this person consumes, what their fears and hopes may be, and what messages may inspire or provoke them to action. To learn more about how to create marketing personas for your ideal patients, revisit an article from the March 2019 issue of Impact, “Creating a Marketing Persona in 5 Simple Steps,” at www.ppsimpact.org/create-a-marketing-persona-in-5-simple-steps.


You’ll often notice that the advertisements and marketing messages that resonate the most are not explicit sales pitches or “calls to action” but are instead engaging stories that inspire and entertain or pieces that share relevant, useful information for a target audience. When possible, lean on your people; share compelling stories of patient success featuring people who reflect your marketing personas, or highlight your clinical knowledge, focusing on the needs or challenges facing your marketing personas. Through these types of messages, you’re able to show what your clinic has to offer instead of just talking about it.

Of course, it may be difficult to tell a story in a half-page print advertisement or provide much useful information in a 15-second radio spot. In these instances, remember that your marketing strategy and messaging should be comprehensive and connected, meaning that a print ad featuring a single testimonial or a radio ad offering a quick tip for relieving back pain can be tied to a series of similar content shared in various ways on those platforms and across traditional and digital media. If you’re targeting your audience effectively, they will see this messaging on a number of different channels and get a clear sense of the “bigger picture” story you’re trying to tell.

Another way to get more out of “smaller” marketing activities is to build relationships with the people who help make them happen. Local print, radio, and TV love their loyal advertisers, even at the smaller levels, and are often looking for news stories, human interest stories, or experts to speak on specific topics. Tap into your media reps as a resource for getting pitches to the right person and let them know your people are available to assist with their needs for topical health news — getting your name out there while giving them a reliable resource for good stories and expert analysis is a win-win.

Approaching a traditional marketing campaign that will reach a large audience by focusing only on your target audience may seem counterintuitive, but it will ensure the best return on your marketing dollars, bringing you patients whose needs match the services you offer and helping you grow your clinic for long-term success. 

Peter Decoteau

Peter Decoteau is the Director of Marketing at Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers (PTSMC), Connecticut’s largest private practice physical therapy company. He can be reached at peter.decoteau@ptsmc.com.

Copyright © 2018, Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. All Rights Reserved.

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