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Lanier takes on 'The last frontier'

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Though health care providers spend considerable amounts of money handling documents-everything from sensitive patient records to insurance claim forms-Lanier Worldwide discovered in a series of focus groups that doctors and hospitals haven't thought of this as an area where they can cut costs. This news came as somewhat of a surprise to Lanier, which has marketed copiers and document management systems to this and other niche markets for several years.

"In C-level focus groups, chief physicians and hospital administrators told us they had made efforts to reduce other costs across the board," said Leighton Schroder, Lanier's director of solutions and market development. "But document management was one of the least-looked-at areas for cutting costs. It was the last frontier."

This presented a tremendous opportunity for Lanier to reshape its marketing communications plan. "Now our messages drive home a huge cost savings for hospitals and physician offices," Schroder said, "and the fact that at the same time we can greatly improve the quality of the patient care they provide."

Lanier put these ideas together and launched a campaign last fall, fittingly called "The Last Frontier." The campaign used an "Indiana Jones"-like theme to show hospital administrators how Lanier can rescue them from unnecessary document management costs.

"Hospitals have historically been our main target, as they are much larger organizations with much greater buying power," Schroder said. "We targeted different groups of individuals-business managers, key physicians and top-level administrators. Having multiple touches within an organization builds greater awareness among decision-makers and influencers alike."

The campaign consisted of four different direct mail pieces, which went to thousands of acute care facilities, as well as specially created marketing-driven Web pages-all with a call to action. In addition, Lanier made a big splash at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society annual conference this winter-which delivered an audience of 20,000 health care IT professionals-with a booth that played up the cliff-hanger "Last Frontier" theme. "Everything we did came with a good sense of humor and excitement to draw interest, but we were sure to hit home with how we could save hospitals money," Schroder said.

Lanier was thrilled with the campaign's results. "We had an excellent response rate offline and online of about 5% to 6%," Schroder said. "We turned over many leads to our sales organization, which includes 80 representatives strictly dedicated to the health care vertical."

In fact, the campaign was so successful, Lanier has carried the theme over to reach a new target this year. "We're starting to market our solutions directly to physicians' offices, but it's a very difficult audience to reach," Schroder said. "Doctors are interested in what we have to say, but they're very busy. Copiers and documentation systems don't seem as critical to them as, say, new X-ray equipment."

To meet this challenge, Schroder said, it's important to reach out to secondary audiences, such as physicians' office managers. "If we can get our foot in the door, we have an extremely high conversion rate. We make them wonder why they had never looked more closely at their document management processes before," he said.

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