Selling promotional products to the health care market doesn’t have to be a headache. We spoke to George Klare, national account executive for Proforma Design Management, Alvarado, Texas, to learn how to get health care clients, how to keep them and more.
Promo Marketing: What kind of promotional and print work do you do for the health care market?
George Klare: We are currently involved in both print and promo for health care companies. The items vary from PR events, employee recognition, patient printed materials explaining their procedures, hospital information, post care information, surveys … so on. For instance, the PR materials are usually distributed in a geographic area near the hospital. So it’s easy to pick a facility when given the option if you recognize the name from the events being held. They also promote their ER services too, which allow folks to visit when it’s not a serious accident (broken arm, leg, infection.) That allows the hospital to then internally refer physicians that are affiliated as well.
PM: How did you break into the health care market and get your first clients?
GK: Our first account started with cold calling a local hospital. They became a client and through that relationship building and calling other facilities in the local area.
PM: What is some advice you have for others trying to break into the health care market?
GK: I would honestly recommend attending health fairs that are advertised. Typically, you would meet the person in charge of marketing for those events and would allow you to get face-to-face time, and see what their level of interest may be.
PM: How has the Affordable Care Act changed health care marketing, if at all?
GK: We haven’t seen any negative downturn of business due to this at this time. We also haven’t heard from our sources that anything has been shut down due to the change.
PM: What do you think the key to a successful health care promotion is? Why?
GK: Our promotions always include new ideas from our MVPLP’s and PLP’s [preferred limited partners]. They help us win programs by using their internal marketing tools, as well as our Proforma Marketing Initiatives that showcase our products and services. Our MVPLP’s and PLP’s are on board with Proforma 100 percent. They do free virtuals with our customers’ logos. They often provide almost no-cost spec samples when needed. They will do whatever it takes to help us bring them more business. I’ve had our PLP’s meet at their office to showcase products and meet for apparel offerings. You just have to ask.
PM: Are there any products that are more popular than others in the health care market? If so, what are they and why do you think this is the case?
GK: Apparel is definitely one of the top items. Employees that aren’t directly involved with patient care often wear logoed items and the PR events provide screen-printed shirts to various organizations. Visual brand is very important in making choices in your health care.
PM: Why is visual branding so important in the health care market?
GK: It’s like driving down the highway and your kids see the “golden arches” of McDonald’s. We are very visual as adults too. We see a logo, and we recognize that it’s part of a place you drive by often and then when in need, your brain is already programmed to go back to that place that it associates with whatever that need may be in health care.
PM: Do you have a favorite health care promotion that you’ve done? GK: We love using Jetline and Tekweld with presenting items. They both bend over backwards to ensure we have virtual presentations [and] product samples, among other services that include personnel CSR/sales support.
Ashley Chiaradio is the Senior Content Strategist at Total Retail. Ashley has been creating content for more than 7 years, and provides a unique insight in covering the retail industry having worked directly for retailers in the past. She’s passionate about profiling women leadership in the space.