This is a retrospective case study comparing the efficacy of direct mail versus Facebook when Geisinger Hospital was looking to hire new staff physicians.
The hospital initially chose to advertise new positions via direct mail, sending letters in an envelope addressed to an individual physician. At the same time, their marketing firm suggested placing an ad on the hospital’s Facebook page.
You can imagine what happened.
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Using the usual strategy of direct mail was the expected method to recruit new gastroenterologist physicians to Geisinger Hospital. Purchasing a mailing list from the American Gastrological Association for a flat fee was easy. Sending several thousand letters was probably going to yield a handful of leads. The cost was about $4K for the list, plus postage, etc.
The cost of placing a recruitment ad on the Geisinger Facebook page, however, was not even comparable. Perhaps a few hundred dollars to construct the post?
Either the letter is opened or it isn’t. End of story.
A direct mail campaign blasts multiple individuals with very little filtering. In this case, the only common denominator would be membership in the same society. Perhaps there is some consideration for geographic location. No regard to age, employment status, etc. Also, in this case, the direct mail is seen only by doctors.
Message: Direct mail is expensive and non-targeted.
Placing an ad on Facebook costs cents on the dollar compared to direct mail. There are costs to design the ad. A one time fee for a graphic artist, maybe? Additional costs may be involved if the ad is to be “boosted” – that is, displayed to more people than those who “follow” the Geisinger Facebook page.
Facebook ads can be laser targeted to reach young docs, those in healthcare, those in the Geisinger area, etc. The ad can be further tailored to reach only those in a certain geographic area, zip code or displayed at a time of day.
In comparison, the job ad on Facebook is specifically targeted to those who might actually be interested in working at Geisinger AND/OR a person who might know of a person looking for such a job. Facebook enlists the entire Geisinger community to recruit for the job.
The Facebook ad is more relevant to more people than direct mail.
The ROI is not comparable to direct mail.
Message: Social media ads can be targeted and inexpensive.
…and the Results
The Facebook ad resulted in 4x number of candidates. The quality of the candidates was also so impressive that 3 docs were recruited instead of the expected 2.
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Healthcare and Medical Internet Marketing
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