Flo Healthcare message reaches distinct audiences

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Flo Healthcare, which was acquired by Emerson in May 2006, had a unique marketing challenge: It needed to communicate its value proposition as a premium provider of mobile workstations to the health care industry while raising awareness of the brand as part of Emerson.

After the acquisition, Flo retained its brand identity while becoming part of Emerson Storage Solutions' InterMetro division.

"Flo Healthcare has focused on the premium end of the mobile workstation market, providing integrated solutions that allow clinicians to spend more time with their patients," said Sami Jajeh, principal of Arketi Group, Flo's marketing communications agency. "Because Flo is a premium provider in the space, they really have to justify a premium price. The product set is not a commodity, and there is a great difference in the approach to marketing."

To communicate the value proposition, as well as raise awareness of the Flo brand as part of Emerson, Arketi developed an integrated marketing program called "Improving Connections. Improving Care" that included print ads, direct mail, a Web site, a white paper program, e-mail and trade show activities.

Each of these integrated elements was designed to reach distinct audiences, including clinicians, hospital administrators, biomedical engineers and IT professionals.

For example, one print campaign featured one-third-page ads that ran on three consecutive pages of health care publications, with each ad targeting a different audience segment. The first ad had copy reading "Flo is ME [medical efficiency]," targeting clinicians; the second ad read "Flo is IT," targeting IT professionals; and the third ad read "Flo is US" (unparalleled support), aimed at hospital administrators.

The campaign ran in publications including Advance for Health Information Executives, Health Data Management and Pharmacy Purchasing and Products.

Another ad campaign, called "Cart Envy?" illustrated the benefits of Flo wireless mobile workstations compared with those of its competitors, which appeared silhouetted in the ads.

The campaign ran in Health Management Technology, Health Data Management and the trade show publications of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Flo used the HIMSS show, held in February, as a platform to raise brand awareness. At its booth, it performed a skit based on its "Cart Envy?" ad campaign, playing up the differences between Flo carts and the competition.

Show attendees received a free bobblehead of a Flo cart if they visited the booth.

"HIMSS '07 was our trade show debut as an Emerson company, and Arketi's out-of-the-box thinking, which included buzz-building activities like a creative direct mailer, skit and bobbleheads, drove visitors to our booth," said Keith Washington, VP-general manager at Flo Healthcare.

He estimated that the number of leads generated at this year's HIMSS show was up by 45% over last year's show.

Another key component of the campaign was a program that encouraged users to download a white paper explaining the total lower cost of ownership of Flo workstations.

"It may be cheaper upfront to buy a lower-end solution, but it is much more expensive in the long run due to more maintenance and upgrade costs," Jajeh said.

"One of the key tenets of all of the campaigns was a strong call to action. In everything we did, from the quick reference guide [available online] to the ads to the trade show, we focused people on getting the white paper and getting leads through the Web site."

On the Web site, which Arketi designed, information is personalized for Flo's key audiences. In addition, the site features case studies of Flo clients, a wireless hospital guide, the white paper and request forms for demo units, newsletters, sales appointments and other information.

The campaign is ongoing, and includes newsletters, search engine optimization, the development of new content and calls to action on the Web site. In addition, Arketi is working on a Flash-based online demo for the site.

"The marketing program Arketi put together improved our market penetration and helped us maintain brand strength during the acquisition by Emerson," Washington said. "As a result, Flo Healthcare was able to capitalize on the Emerson brand, emerging as a clear leader in the wireless mobile workstation space."

Since the campaign broke, Washington said, Flo's market penetration has increased to 13% from 9%. In addition, revenue is up 20% over last year and Web site traffic has increased 200% since February 2006.

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