(By Rob Dumke) Being part of a community for half a century is quite an accomplishment for a medical clinic. The name becomes ingrained. So how do you change the name without losing patients? Stevens Point Orthopedic Administrator Shane Melenbacker, with the help of Midwest Communications Group’s stations in Wausau, Wisconsin, turned to radio to get the word out.
Radio Ink: Tell us about Stevens Point Orthopedics.
Melenbacker: We’ve been in the community for about 50 years under the name Klasinski Clinic. For quite a while,we were the only orthopedic clinic in the community. The local hospital started a clinic, but earlier this year all of the physicians of that clinic left and joined us. So we are once again the only orthopedic group in the community.
Some other groups come in on occasion to do some outreach stuff, but we are invested in the community, and it is our goal to serve the community absolutely the best we can.
Professional Research Consultants, a group that surveys patients for feedback on services, has given us a five-star rating over the past three years.
Radio Ink: What makes radio a good fit for you?
Melenbacker: The clinic had been using radio for a little while — not to the extent that we have been lately. We like it because you can get a message out clearly and quite quickly to a wide audience. When we rebranded, we really hit radio hard. I must say, that was probably the smartest thing we did.
It really resonated with the community. We explained why we were rebranding, and we were able to talk about the new physicians coming to the clinic. Most people were made aware of the rebrand through radio and social media. We did a lot of billboards at that time, and those helped as well. However, we were able to communicate the why and what we were doing clearly through radio.
Radio Ink: Tell us about your message. What type of ads do you run?
Melenbacker: What we focus on now is general information that gives us top-ofmind awareness for listeners. When I took over the clinic, I wanted to make sure we got our name out there. Our message was “We are here in the community, our physicians live in the community, and they want to take care of the community.” That’s the way we started.
With certain stations you can hit your niche market easily, depending on what that target market is. Our target market is females 35-55, because they are the ones scheduling the appointments for family or parents. We also like to reach an audience that is interested in our sports medicine services. It lets us get our message out quickly, widely, and clearly to the people we are trying to reach.
Radio Ink: How has the response been?
Melenbacker: When I took over about four years ago we did a marketing blitz, and radio was a big part of that. We started seeing a significant increase in patients, new patients, coming to the clinic. I have to attribute a big part of that increase to the marketing and radio.
During our rebrand we got a lot of comments, things like, “We heard what was going on over at the clinic on the radio. It’s good to hear.” That made the transition of the guys that came from the hospital to the clinic a lot easier, because we were able to spread the message far and wide.
Their patients heard it. We used the physicians’ names and explained in the message what was going on. It really made it easier on the patients to find their physician.
Radio Ink: What is it like working with the Midwest Radio Group?
Melenbacker: Heidi MacEachern goes above and beyond when working with us. She has us on WIFC (Top 40), WDEZ (Country), WSAU (News/Talk), and WRIG (Sports). Heidi is always willing to answer our questions, to come talk with us, and her customer service is second to none.
Radio Ink: What message do you have for other businesses considering radio?
Melenbacker: I think radio is definitely worth it if you are going to put out the right message. One of the things that we’ve learned along the way is it really depends on the message. If you just put out who you are, what you do, something general like that, it’s not going to get you anywhere. That’s what I hear a lot on the radio. You need to send a specific message, and the good thing about radio is that you can send that message in various ways at different times.
Like we did with our rebrand, we told our entire story over a period of months so everybody knew what was going on. It was almost like people were paying attention more because they wanted to hear the next part of the story.
Overall, what we have learned is that your message has to be of value and contain information the listener wants or needs — not just who, what, where, when, why.