Outreach campaign enlists veterans to get healthcare service they deserve

The Veterans Health Administration is America's largest integrated health system, serving millions of veterans each year.

The Veterans Health Administration is America's largest integrated health system, serving millions of veterans each year. Surprisingly, many of them have not enrolled for the benefits they have earned.

This was especially true in the VA Capitol Health Care Network, which serves the Mid-Atlantic region. Out of more than 700,000 eligible veterans, fewer than one in three had signed up. To help spur enrollment, the administration called on Crosby Marketing Communications to develop a campaign informing veterans about the quality care services available to them.

The first task was to find out why more people do not enroll. In-depth interviews yielded consistent findings. Most believed VA Capitol Health Care was only for impoverished or service-disabled veterans. They were excited to learn that VA's healthcare ranked among the best in the nation and did not realize the majority of veterans are eligible for benefits at little or no cost, even if they have another form of healthcare.

Armed with these insights, Crosby developed a compelling creative approach using themes that resonate with veterans and their families. The Every Veteran Should Enroll campaign communicated that a force of VA healthcare providers are ready to fulfill an important mission: improve the health of all servicemen today and tomorrow.

Knowing they have strong bonds, we tapped into several veterans networks, service organizations, and social media platforms for the program's development and implementation.

The campaign was launched in fourth quarter 2012. It included a range of tactics to connect with veterans from all eras, from young, tech-savvy people from post-9/11 to Vietnam-era veterans who are retired or approaching retirement.

The campaign included engagement on sites such as Facebook, Military.com, and Stars and Stripes, email blasts, and paid search-engine marketing on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Newspapers carried inserts, and direct mail targeted veterans and their spouses. Tactics encouraged veterans to call or visit an online landing page to enroll.

In just 10 weeks, the landing page received more than 34,000 visits. Another 1,803 veterans connected by phone. Overall, enrollment increased 27% in the VA Capitol Health Care Network. And that means more veterans are getting the quality care they earned and deserve. l

Denise Aube is a VP and healthcare practice leader at Crosby Marketing Communications.

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