A few years ago, I came down with a bad case of the “marketing bug” and I just can’t seem to get over it. I have found marketing to be very contagious. You have one successful story or event and you just can’t wait to do another one! I have also learned the benefits go far beyond the publicity it brings to our services. It has given me much professional satisfaction and reward!
So, last fall I was thinking….. “What creative marketing story could I come up with for this year?” Hmm…… let me think….. 2011 is the 20 year anniversary of our pediatric Cochlear Implant program, so maybe we could locate one of the first patients we implanted and find out how they are doing now! People love those “Where are they now?” stories. So, I contacted our marketing department and they thought it was a great idea. Luckily, we were able to find Ashley (the cute little girl in the picture above). We contacted her and she willingly agreed to come in for a picture and story.
I remember sitting in the marketing department anxiously awaiting Ashley’s arrival the day of her interview. Would she remember me? What would she look like? How would her speech sound? Would she still have that big smile and cute laugh? I was actually a little nervous! To my delight, Ashley walked through the door and we took one look at each other and immediately embraced in a warm hug. It was like a big family reunion. And, I had the answer to all my questions. Yes, she did remember me and coming to therapy here 20 years ago. She also remembered some specific tips I had given her to improve her articulation skills (in fact, she was still using them today!). Her speech was surprisingly clear and intelligible. She also still had that warm smile and cute giggle when she laughed. Hearing her talk about her marriage, job and school work made me very proud. Little Ashley had grown into a mature, successful and happy young lady.
Ashley’s story and pictures ran in our hospital newsletter and the Ohio Speech Language and Hearing Association’s website. It turned out to be a very effective marketing tool. The responses from everyone who read it were positive. I was very proud of Ashley and the small part I had played in her life.
So, I hope I have inspired you to come up with your own marketing story. I guarantee it will have a positive effect on the patients and you will find it professionally rewarding. Please check with your employer before looking up any former patients to assure you are not breaking any HIPAA laws. We were able to look up Ashley as it was approved as a marketing story.
Terry Wiegel M.S.CCC-SLP is the director of rehabilitative services at Dayton Children’s Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. She has been a speech language pathologist for almost 32 years, working mostly with pediatrics. Terry is also the public relations and marketing director for the Ohio Speech Language and Hearing Association.