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Posted by Helen Dicks, Sep 5 2006 11:43PM

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advertising in nhs staff discount booklet

I have been approached by a company called MEDICARE who is offering advertising space in a booklet that is handed out to NHS employees. The idea is that a few businesses in various categories advertise for a fee and offer a discount to NHS employees who would like to purchase their services (in this case complementary therapies). The employees are given an identity card that has to be shown to participating businesses. Has anyone come across this form of advertising and was it successful in the amount of clients they recieved? I have been stung before by buying advertising space on boards in a local hospital which didn't provide one client over the two years it was on display and was very expensive.
The sales blurb over the phone gives one of the conditions that you are able to take on more clients, which gives the impression that you are going to be contacted by lots of stressed out NHS staff.
I have the rep. coming tomorrow to give me full details but will insist on a period of time to consider. However, if anyone has any views or comments to make I would be glad to receive them.
Helen
Debbie Bunt
Sep 6 2006 7:40AM
hi helen,

i used to work in the nhs a couple of years ago, and i do remember being given a discount booklet. if i remember correctly, it mostly contained discounts at restaurants. i don't remember any complementary therapies listed in the booklet. i wonder if this was because where i worked there was an on site occupational health dept where staff could book heavily discounted complementary therapy treatments, i think there was massage, accupunture, free counselling etc. the booklet seemed to contain discounts for local businesses.

hope this helps you decide what to do.
debbie bunt
Jon Critoph
Sep 6 2006 8:30AM
It has been my experience that these types of advertsising have been sold as the "get you loads more business" and have failed to deliver. You need to build a marketing strategy and allocate an amount of money to this every year. People need to see your name at least 8-10 times before they will even pay much attention to what it is you offer. If you look at this field much comes from referalls, recomendations and from face to face contact. If you do decide to give it a go then make sure you talk benefits and not features of what you do.
Helen Dicks
Sep 10 2006 11:52AM
Thanks guys for your input. I met the rep and there is no hard sell. I've considered it for a few days and decided not to go ahead. It is very expensive (£546 for 1/3 of A5 size advert.) I looked on MEDIC CARE Ltd website and looked at what was on offer at other PCT's. There were a few beauty therapists but mainly restaurants, florists, vets etc. I think people are too busy to think about looking in their booklet to see who offers discounts for things. After a few months the booklet is likely to be confined to a pile of paperwork that is waiting to be dealt with and never is. At least it would in this house.
I'd certainly not advise advertising on boards in hospitals. People who are ill or visiting are not usually in the right frame of mind to read or remember adverts.
It would be interesting to find out from fellow therapists what they find works for them.

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