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Anatomy of a Patient Awareness Campaign That Drives Demand

We worked with I-FLOW*, LLC, a Halyard Health Care Company, with the launch of a new patient awareness campaign designed to empower patients to ask their doctors for the ON-Q* pain pump after surgery. The marketing campaign aims to educate patients about alternatives to narcotics for post-operative surgical pain relief with the ON-Q* pain pump. To reach today's patient, we decided to do an integrated campaign by developing a digital strategy to meet patients' growing online healthcare needs.

The objective of the campaign is to increase awareness for the medical device and ultimately increase the number of people who choose the ON-Q* pain pump.

direct to patient marketing

The ON-Q* patient awareness and education campaign includes:

  • Patient website -
  • Blog
  • Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and YouTube communities
  • Rich media ads
  • A PPC campaign
  • Print education materials, including in-office magazine cover wraps

Increasing Awareness for an Existing Product in the Marketplace

When you have a product launch for a brand-new-to-the-world product, there's some inherent novelty and excitement that helps propel it. But how do you increase brand awareness for an existing product in the marketplace?

This is a common problem many marketers face. You have a good product that people like, but not enough people know about it. You need to increase brand awareness first, so you can increase adoption, and ultimately meet your business objective - to increase sales.


When you want to increase brand awareness for a product in the increasingly crowded marketplace, you have to do something to elevate your product above the rest. It's not enough to simply manufacture a product and hope it sells itself. It won't. There are simply too many competing alternatives.

This is where branding is key. Branding goes beyond a logo and visual identity. It's what differentiates your company and gives people a reason to buy your product instead of other offerings.

The Role of Branding in Successful Medical Device Marketing

ParkerWhite's motto is, "We give brands life." We believe in branding that creates an emotional connection with consumers. Health and medical companies provide products and services to satisfy some of the most important human needs: health, safety, and wellbeing. In today's healthcare economy, with life science companies increasingly pressured to satisfy the patient, making these emotional connections is absolutely essential for long-term success.

To bring the ON-Q* brand to life, we wanted to put patients back in control of their post-op pain management and empower them to request the pain management that will work best for their individual needs.

Through our 5D Branding Process, we realized that one barrier to product adoption is that patients don't always feel like they can ask their doctor about particular treatment options. Patients may not realize that they have the right to know about all of their treatment options. In order for patients to receive the best care, it is in their best interest to work closely with their doctor to determine the best treatment for their unique situation.

In order to overcome this objection, we decided to provide patient education, and to teach patients that they can become their own advocates when it comes to choosing healthcare treatment options. ON-Q* is more than just a medical device that's part of a surgery experience - it's a brand that makes a powerful emotional connection to patients who need surgery - but who also need decision-making information, educational support, and empathy.


It's not enough to satisfy patients' basic needs anymore - brands in today's competitive environment need to satisfy emotional needs as well.

To connect with patients, we first wanted them to feel at home in the ON-Q* community. The ON-Q* community is intended to be a safe, welcoming space where patients can learn more about post-op pain management. Patients can get support and valuable resources to help them prepare for their surgery. The core idea behind the campaign is to empower patients to become more knowledgeable about what treatment options they have, to be proactive about discussing their particular needs with their doctor, and to feel comfortable asking their doctor for the pain management solution that's right for them.

Digital and Social Strategy


The hub of any solid digital strategy is a website. We worked with the ON-Q* team to develop a responsive patient website that would look good on any device, whether it is a desktop computer, mobile phone, or tablet. Blog content, social media, SEO, and social advertising help drive traffic back to the ON-Q* website.

A physician finder on the website allows patients to locate a medical professional near them who offers ON-Q*.

Real stories from patients help other patients to know that they are not alone. Social listening research indicated that many patients were interested in using the ON-Q* pain pump, but wanted to hear from others' experiences first. These patients often took to online forums to ask peers about what their ON-Q* experience was like and if it helped them.

A blog is the anchor of ON-Q*'s social media strategy. This is where ON-Q* can feed patients hungry for more information. It allows the ON-Q* brand to be positioned as the go-to source for post-op pain management.

Social media integration provides more access to peer testimonials and an active community where patients can participate in conversations with each other and with the ON-Q* brand.

Through ON-Q*'s social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google Plus, the company can reach out to patients preparing for surgery.

Social media allows ON-Q* to:

  • Provide patients with helpful resources and information
  • Give positive feedback
  • Listen carefully to online conversations for potential opportunities
  • Make meaningful connections with patients
  • Expand brand awareness
  • Tap into audiences who may not be reached through traditional media

An Integrated Effort

In coordination with our online effort, an offline effort was aimed at patients who are already at the doctor's office, using magazine cover wraps on TIME and People to targeted geographic regions and physician specialties.


To ensure alignment across key stakeholders, we also coordinated with ON-Q*'s call center:

  • We talked to the hotline nurses about the most frequently asked questions and concerns, which gave insight into what topics would be most important to cover on our blog and in our communities.
  • We informed them about the campaign and let them know they will be able to direct patients to ON-Q*'s new online resources.

This will give the call center more ways to help the patients, facilitating a more efficient knowledge transfer, and ultimately contributing to overall patient satisfaction.

The ON-Q* patient campaign is driving long-term strategic objectives for sustained market growth, requiring monitoring and adjustment. The work isn't over - we will be in a process of continuous measurement as we use the feedback to optimize the campaign for best results.

Anatomy of a Patient Awareness Campaign That Drives Demand