As summer approaches, college students begin to answer the question, “are you doing an internship this summer?” For my situation, I was beyond excited to say I would be the summer marketing coordinator for OrthoIndy. But before I could finish my sentence, I noticed the confused expressions on my friends’ faces. In that moment, the big question aroused, “what do marketers do in health care?” Kasey Prickel, Marketing Director at OrthoIndy, helped me answer that question.
Kasey graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. Like many people, Kasey answered the same question, whether or not she would be participating in a summer internship. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my public relations degree while in college,” said Kasey. The summer after her junior year, she interviewed at a health care system in her hometown, Lafayette, Indiana and was offered an internship position. “I was so lucky to find a job where they actually valued interns,” she said. “Back then, I feel like a lot of college friends had the stereotypical internship experience of going on coffee runs or filing papers all day long. I was so fortunate that my supervisors actually invested in my experience. I was responsible for a lot of projects and was treated like a peer; not a peon.”
Kasey was fortunate to get a job offer from the same health care system where she had done her college internship. Unfortunately, a few months after Kasey started, the company merged with a larger health care system, which resulted in a large number of layoffs. As Kasey was the lowest person on the totem pole, she was let go.
“I was 22 years old and just experienced a layoff so early in my career,” she said. “I had just bought a new car and was getting comfortable in my ‘adult life’. It turns out, being laid off was the best thing to ever happen to me.”
A month later Kasey interviewed at OrthoIndy and was hired as the media relations specialist.
Kasey started working at OrthoIndy in March 2006, exactly one year after they opened Indiana’s first orthopedic specialty hospital, OrthoIndy Hospital. When Kasey came aboard, they had a marketing manager, graphic designer and two sales positions.
Kasey’s primary role was media relations and content writing, but it quickly expanded to multiple areas. “Back then our resources were extremely limited,” Kasey shared, “OrthoIndy is an independent orthopedic group and not part of a large health care system; therefore, a majority of our marketing efforts focused on building relationships with referring physicians and the work comp community to gain referrals.”
A year into her job, a new trend developed in health care. Customers were actually researching physicians and facilities to make more informed health care choices. Kasey started to focus more on communicating directly to the general public to build connections with existing employees and attracting new customers.
So what does a marketer do in health care? As the marketing director, Kasey oversees all of OrthoIndy’s internal and external marketing initiatives for their clinic, hospital and individual physicians. Kasey is responsible for the strategic direction for all of their marketing messages to ensure brand recognition and to build a relationship with the community. She manages three employees: senior graphic designer, public relations specialist and a marketing coordinator. Kasey’s main responsibilities on top of managing the overall marketing strategy is to manage the relationships with their web vendor and video production company, advertising buys, corporate website and writing ad copy.
“As marketing professionals we are lucky that we aren’t limited to one industry. In my opinion, the health care field is exciting because it’s always changing,” she says. “Customers are making more informed decisions when choosing a provider. With all the online rating websites and social media platforms, it’s important for us to talk directly to the consumer. We love sharing our patient success stories and finding new and exciting ways to showcase our services and physicians. Additionally, health care advertisements have always had a ‘typical look,’ consisting of showing physicians in their environment. I am lucky to have such a forward thinking group of individuals who work hard to break the stigma. And because of that, we have created a stronger brand that tells the consumer not only what we do, but why we do it.”
Kasey advises anyone who is considering a career in health care marketing to be aware that the industry has been somewhat slow to adopt the latest marketing tends, largely because of patient privacy. However, Kasey shares how she believes the industry is catching up. “My department and I always strive to do something better by applying the latest and greatest marketing trends,” said Kasey. “I am grateful that every day I have a job I love and am allowed the creative freedom to conceptualize and execute messages that I believe in. Every day provides new and exciting opportunities. Working with a talented group of individuals that inspire me, as well as make me laugh, is the icing on the cake.”
I invite you to take a look at our department’s work.
This year we launched our OrthoIndy Brand Anthem video, showcasing who we are and what we do. We are currently advertising our spine specialty. Check out our commercials here.
Our OrthoIndy Hometown campaign shows that our physicians are not only serving the community, but are active members in it. The campaign received a Gold Aster award. Learn more about the campaign here.
Last year, we received an Emmy nomination and won the Aster Awards Best in Show award for our urgent care commercials. Learn more about our Urgent Care clinics here.