A Conversation with Pam Schwartz, INSIGHTEC Senior Marketing Manager and Rachael Adler, G&S SVP & Healthcare Leader
INSIGHTEC is a global medical technology innovator of incisionless surgery. Its groundbreaking technology is approved for treatment of Essential Tremor (ET), a disease that afflicts approximately 10MM Americans and Tremor-dominant Parkinson’s Disease. To increase awareness and educate patients and caregivers on an often misunderstood condition, INSIGHTEC and G&S partnered on a “Get a Grip on ET” campaign, now in its second year. To learn more, we sat down with Pam Schwartz, Senior Marketing Manager for INSIGHTEC, and Rachael Adler, SVP and healthcare practice leader at G&S.
This is your second year for the integrated #GetaGrip campaign. Tell us about its evolution.
RA: It all began in March 2019 when we tapped into Essential Tremor Awareness Month, calling attention to the symptom of uncontrollable hand-shaking and the need for greater empathy and understanding. This year, we built on our previous success by tapping into that emotion from a completely different perspective. Using the same tagline, the same assets and a fresh landing page, we enticed engagement in a more human way, bringing patients and their caregivers back to their identities outside of ET.
How did you forge an emotional connection with patients and caregivers?
PS: In year one, it was about pushing ourselves to find a creative, provocative theme. #GetAGrip emerged from not only the idea of taking charge of a situation but also the challenges that ET patients face in grasping simple objects in their daily lives. Millions of people suffer with this disease, but most are unaware they even have it.
This year, we based our campaign on the premise that what defines you is your passion, not your medical condition – implying that, by deciding to get treatment, you can return to your passion and to who you are. We also amplified the success stories of patients who were able to resume those passions after “getting a grip” on their ET. The emotional connection drove people to participate in a more personal way, offering a completely new and inspiring layer of engagement.
How does ET Awareness Month fit into the brand narrative for INSIGHTEC?
PS: Nearly every major disease state or condition has an awareness month. Throughout my career, I’ve worked at other healthcare companies, where awareness months were a low-priority component of the larger marketing strategy. At INSIGHTEC, we own ET Awareness Month. Awareness is a flagpole issue for us, as ET is such an unknown and undiagnosed condition. It engages not only our direct-to-consumer efforts but also our partnerships with patient advocacy groups and providers who can help spread awareness about this condition together.
How did the pandemic reshape this approach?
PS: We were lucky that everything was already set in place before COVID truly hit with full force. The campaign itself launched digitally at the beginning of March, so we didn’t need to change our approach to the rollout. It was only in the following months as the pandemic worsened that we needed to pull back and pivot the messaging. As elective surgeries were put on hold – INSIGHTEC’s incisionless brain surgeries included – we needed to shift the messaging to focus on creating awareness about the disease, since the treatment could not be delivered at the time.
Did the team encounter any challenges in achieving a balance between elevating ET awareness and introducing audiences to the INSIGHTEC brand?
PS: That’s always a challenge for us. Traditionally, we’ve focused our efforts on the condition, the treatment and the patients, which can make it difficult to insert our corporate brand into the story. Most providers will not align with a specific company or vendor. It’s not always easy to build name recognition among the end consumers because ultimately, it’s their provider who delivers our treatment.
We hope that by building awareness of the condition, its symptoms and the incisionless treatment option, patients and families who are living with ET can receive an accurate diagnosis and seek out treatments that can improve their quality of life. Connecting with the end consumer helps us create pull-through from medical centers that use our treatment method, so it still adds value to the brand.
RA: As with all disease states, there is an emotional connection to this condition. When you hear the term “cancer,” you know what it is; you understand the fear and the pain inherent in that word. When you hear “Essential Tremor,” you probably don’t have a direct connection or understanding of what it means. Just starting from that point presents a significant challenge. Educating patients – many of whom fear a Parkinson’s diagnosis – and providers about the symptoms and diagnosis is only the first step.
The majority of our messaging focuses on the company’s innovations and its leadership in incisionless surgery – even beyond Essential Tremor. The company’s medical technology is being used in over 70 clinical trials for a variety of other disease states; once those begin to show positive results, we can pursue more avenues with the INSIGHTEC brand. Right now, with two approved conditions, awareness precedes brand recognition. Our focus is as much on building the market as it is on attracting a pipeline of patients for treatment.
How did executing a fully digital campaign enhance your strategy?
PS: With a digital campaign, the most valuable elements are agility and adaptability. You don’t have to be locked into something that’s not working, and you can make a change and implement it immediately. For example, this year’s campaign started with a three-pronged form that requested more information from users about themselves and their passions. Within the first few days, we could tell we were asking too much. People simply weren’t responding in the numbers we had originally hoped to achieve. So we changed it.
When we streamlined the form with less fields and a more seamless submission process, responses flooded in. By nimbly pivoting away from a less-effective focus on lead generation and toward the human stories we really wanted to capture, we lowered the barrier for sharing and were able to extract value in a new way. We harvested countless stories about passions that fed into content we could leverage long after the campaign. With the integration of our campaign design, we were already prepared to promote these assets across social media with infographics and animations. It was exciting that by making the emotional connection first, we could create tangible value from the campaign that we can sustain throughout the year.
How have the results demonstrated success for the campaign?
RA: We have built not just incredible awareness but also action. In year one, we reached an overall audience of over 3.3 million, with 60,000+ website sessions and nearly 10,000 downloads of the infographic and symptom checker. In 2020, traffic more than doubled, with 142,595 website sessions. Form submissions rose from 439 in year one to 2,216 in year two. I’m incredibly proud of our team.
Any further comments about the campaign or the engagement?
RA: These types of projects allow us to tap into strengths across the agency. By leveraging different capabilities within our own team and the INSIGHTEC in-house team, we drew out our collective creativity, pushing boundaries and people in different ways. Especially within a digital world, a fully-integrated campaign can create stronger emotional connections in real time and offer crossover benefits for every person and channel involved.
For INSIGHTEC, engagement also translated to greater awareness of Essential Tremor and the life-changing power of the treatment it offers. Each year, by educating more people about the disease, we hope to combat misperceptions and add to the success stories we can amplify.