FOUR AND A HALF YEARS AGO when GE Healthcare first took its mobile tour on the road the event program was designed to bring its customers—namely hospitals and healthcare providers—on board to see the latest and greatest in GE gadgets. Another part of the program? On occasion the brand’s customers could take the vehicle and use it themselves as an opportunity to educate and connect with consumers in their own communities.
Flash forward to now. That occasional stop has turned into the bread and butter of the tour. GE has all but scrapped what had once been a primary goal—doing show and tells with hospitals and healthcare providers—in favor of using the vehicle almost exclusively as a venue for its own customers to make connections within their local communities. “It’s really a strategic relationship-building tool for supporting our customers’ community education efforts ” says Linda Edmonson manager-customer marketing programs and events at GE Healthcare.
Why does it work? GE Healthcare scores points with customers by offering something that other vendors aren’t: a venue free-of-charge for those customers to make connections with their own targets—consumers and potential patients in their communities. To that end customers typically request the vehicle for community events like health fairs and Susan G. Komen races.
A peek inside the vehicle. The 53-foot trailer is designed as a linear experience. Upon entering the vehicle consumers start with an education on anything that an event sponsor chooses to promote through monitors or a kiosk.
The next room is the Bone Health Suite where consumers can get a bone density test with GE’s Achilles Heel machine. Messaging in the room promotes exercise for good health.
Then comes the Heart Health Suite which features blood pressure testing and occasionally cholesterol testing as well.
The last room is the Breast Health Suite where consumers learn the benefits of digital mammography. They can also check out a breast self-exam prosthesis display where they can discover what an actual lump would feel like.
The back of the vehicle opens up to a lecture stage. GE’s customers can use this space to their liking—many will have speakers such as a podiatrist or a representative from a local exercise organization come to speak with attendees.
How GE works with its customers. The events are largely turnkey. Two staffers from the brand’s mobile agency Washington Depot CT-based Moving Experiences are always on hand. A digital technician trains GE’s customers on how to use the machines and ensures machines are calibrated correctly and the driver helps set up the vehicle.
Beyond that GE provides its customers with marketing and public relations support although the onus is on the customer to do the heavy lifting in its own market. GE offers p.r. and advertising templates graphics a radio script and spokesperson talking points to help get the ball rolling.
Return on investment. Technically the tour is free for GE Healthcare’s customers but they are investing time and staff to publicize and man the event. To find out if they’re getting any ROI GE often works with customers to determine metrics by which they can measure their output. One example: Giving customers the opportunity to sign up for mammograms with a hospital on site will give immediate feedback as to whether or not the attendee is becoming a customer. The hospitals can also take names from the registration sheets input them in their data systems and track whether they are coming into the hospital or care center within 30- 60- or 90-day periods after the event.