Billboards In Healthcare

I have a 1.5 hour drive (one way) a few times a week when I go to the office.

One of the items I observed this week was the above billboard.

There is a series of 3 billboards in a row for Affinity Health, a part of the Ascension Organization. The billboards are advertising about their cancer services. This one happens to state that it all begins with listening.

What you do not see, is that on the other side of the highway is a billboard for Aurora Healthcare advertising their services for orthopedics.

Immediately after the Aurora billboard is one for Froedert (an Academic Medical Center) reminding everyone that Academic Care is just a short 90-minute drive. The drive just happens to be in the opposite direction of the billboard.

Why am I pointing this out?

I would like to know what patient makes their healthcare decision based on a billboard ad?

More importantly, I want to know who still reads billboards?

As you will read in my weekly newsletter (link here), there are 5B people in the world with a mobile phone.

The people riding in the passenger seat are looking down at their phones posting pictures on Instagram, liking something on FaceBook, or sending a SnapChat to a friend.

They are not reading billboards.

I am willing to bet that 50% of the people driving are on their smartphones too. Whether taking a call, listening to audio, or yes, even reading an email, sending a text, or making a recording.

They are not reading billboards.

The point is that we live in a mobile world. Our attention is spent on our phones.

No one reads billboards.

All three of those organizations could have taken their billboard dollars and ran cheaper ads on FaceBook, Youtube, or another channel and reached more people. They could have done something that would have gained the attention of all those people in the car.

Yet none of them did.

I am sure some will be upset with me for pointing out this fundamental truth, or respond that they do “social media ads” in addition to billboards.

The problem is that the market is exactly that, the market.

Understanding the market begins with listening.

Unfortunately, few people listen.

Fewer people read billboards.

Healthcare happens at N of 1.

As always you can feel free to email me at or follow me on Twitter @cancergeek You can read past issues of my weekly newsletter by clicking this link: newsletter



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