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  • Writer's pictureMatthew East

Creating a direct to patient marketing plan

Updated: Apr 8

The client

The Cabot Clinic is a leading medical facility that provides excellent orthopaedic treatments and patient care.

With a reputation for expertise in orthopaedic treatments, the clinic is well-positioned to tap into the growing health tourism market for hip and knee problems in the UK.

Health tourism
Health tourism

Creating a direct-to-patient marketing plan to support a clinic looking to drive health tourism

Cabot Clinic’s challenge

Cabot Clinic's challenge was twofold.

  1. To understand what services they needed from a marketing agency.

  2. To use marketing to achieve their aim of boosting awareness of their clinic for a health tourism audience.

Therefore, we needed to outline their marketing challenge to help them understand what they may need from us.

Cabot Clinic’s challenge was to increase its visibility and position itself as a trusted medical facility for robotic-assisted orthopaedic treatments in the UK, particularly for individuals struggling with hip and knee problems interested in health tourism.

Ultimately, they aimed to drive potential patients to the Cabot Clinic's website, where they can learn more about the clinic's services and book appointments.

From understanding their marketing challenge, we helped Cabot Clinic see how we could help them.

The Clinic needed to understand:

  • Their position in the market

  • Their target audience and which countries to target

  • The messaging and creative that would best drive leads

  • How to build that knowledge into a workable campaign they could run in-house

Hence, they needed our Blueprints service to deliver a marketing strategy and communications plan.

We were tasked with creating a direct-to-patient campaign plan that could hone in on the geographical area likely to give the best patient leads. Then delivering the communication plan, content and assets designed to speak to the suitable patients at the right time in their journey in places where adverts and information would be most visible to them.

Agency’s approach

Health tourism analysis

We discovered the European market for orthopaedic treatments is expected to reach €22.6 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 3.6% from 2020 to 2027.

With such a large potential market from a massive area, we realised segmentation would be critical to the success of any campaign plan.

Patient segmentation

We could segment our target audience based on country, language, age, gender, and the medical treatment sought.

So we needed to research what the most important segmentation was. And we needed to understand how to create the right messages in the right places and deliver them at the right time for our segregated audience groups.

Stakeholder agreement

Many stakeholders had to agree with our messaging.

We knew any treatment messaging we created needed to be agreeable by:

  • The Cabot Clinic board of directors

  • The surgeons who provide the treatment

So we needed to ensure we consulted with these three groups in our initial research to discover what they did and didn’t feel comfortable with us saying about the treatment.

Compliance with regulatory standards

Any messaging we proposed had to meet regulatory standards.

Healthcare is a highly regulated industry, so we needed to lockstep with current healthcare marketing standards and follow any further standards the Cabot Clinic surgeons themselves imposed.

However, we needed to ensure the messaging wasn’t diluted to the point that it resonated with none of our segregated patient groups.

Our plan

Segmented messaging

We conducted extensive target audience research to learn more about the patients using robotic-assisted treatments.

This research gave us the insight that the best way to split our audience was to segregate them into five specific personas based on the following hierarchy:

  1. Country of origin

  2. Age

  3. Gender

  4. Wealth

  5. Stage in the OA journey

  6. Where they tended to get their information from

  7. What makes them trust an information source

  8. What kind of messaging compels them to act

With this information, we could develop messaging for each persona that would tell them what they needed to hear from Cabot Clinic, how they needed to listen to it, and where they were likely to trust it, to drive them towards booking a consultation at a clinic.

Patient messaging

Our messaging had to target our segmented patients specifically.

So we adapted existing Cabot Clinic messaging to move from a product-led approach to a patient-driver-led one.

We discovered the three key drivers that led all segmented patient groups to action to build core messaging around each driver. Then researched the drivers intrinsic to each specific patient segment to build secondary messaging that speaks directly to each unique segment.

By using attribute mapping and learning from surgeons how they communicate with patients who are in pain by appealing to their core drivers.

Channel selection

Based on our target audience profiling, we knew what drove them to make healthcare decisions, how they liked to research those decisions and where they got their information from online.

So we selected the channels they were most likely to use to source information they trusted.

Claims matrix creation

We created a master claims matrix for internal alignment on messaging

As any messaging we created had to be agreed upon by Cabot Clinic, regulatory and surgeons, we created a messaging matrix to align everyone around what could and couldn’t be claimed about the treatment.

This matrix included our claim, our message and the references supporting them to ensure every piece of copy was within the regulatory allowance.

The matrix meant we had pre-approval of what could be said, so the routing process was straightforward when we came to creating campaign assets.

We called Cabot Clinic to action

Upon agreeing on the personas, messaging, and channels, we created a campaign roadmap presentation that showed where every piece of content in the campaign sat and where the call to actions led people to.

From there, Cabot Clinic could see how the messaging would drive each persona towards booking a consultation with the clinic. This enabled them to see what creative and copy they needed to put where to achieve their aim of driving growth through lead generation.

We avoided failure

We knew from the onset that the scope of geographical areas could dilute the power of our campaigns, ultimately leading to little engagement, awareness and few leads.

To overcome this, we designed our target audience profiling to create as narrow a segment as possible. Ultimately, we could design messaging that spoke to specific ages and genders, with specific medical conditions, in specific countries.

Our plan succeeded

We created a marketing, communications and campaign plan and assets that helped Cabot Clinic have a roadmap for achieving growth through health tourism lead generation.

Our blueprints service successfully helped Cabot Clinic to:

Improve positioning

Cabot Clinic was positioned as a trusted medical facility for robotic-assisted orthopaedic treatments in the UK. This could be measured through brand perception surveys, patient testimonials, and feedback from stakeholders such as the board of directors and surgeons.

Create patient segmentation

Cabot Clinic could now use tailored messaging for different audience groups to deliver the right messages to the right patients at the right time. This could be measured through patient engagement metrics and conversion rates for different audience segments.

Achieve compliance with regulatory standards

The messaging proposed by the Agency met regulatory standards in the healthcare industry, while still resonating with the target audience. This could be measured through documentation of compliance with relevant healthcare marketing standards and feedback from regulatory authorities.

Create a successful call to action

The campaign assets created by Agency, including creative and copy, effectively led the target audience towards booking a consultation with Cabot Clinic. This could be measured through lead generation metrics, such as the number of consultation bookings or inquiries generated through the campaign.


What are the best strategies for health tourism marketing?

Utilising specialised agencies experienced in promoting orthopaedic treatments is crucial. An agency should be adept at tapping into the health tourism market and boosting awareness for clinics.

How to effectively segment a target audience for medical marketing?

How to ensure healthcare marketing compliance with regulatory standards?

How to create a successful direct-to-patient marketing plan?

How to gain stakeholder agreement in healthcare marketing?

What are the key success metrics for healthcare marketing campaigns?

How to create healthcare messaging that resonates with specific patient groups while ensuring compliance with regulatory standards?

What tools and strategies are effective for target audience profiling in healthcare marketing?


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