Marketing and Outreach for VA’s National Center for PTSD Consultation Program
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), National Center for PTSD
Following comprehensive research, DFC developed a marketing and outreach campaign to increase awareness of the National Center for PTSD’s Consultation Program. The campaign targeted mental health providers through digital advertisements, a direct mail campaign, advertisements in trade publications, and partner outreach.
The National Center for PTSD launched the PTSD Consultation Program in 2011 so that VA providers could speak directly with experts from the Center about evidence-based treatment options, clinical management, finding resources, assessment, education, and more. Four years later the program was made available to providers outside of VA. To help spread awareness and encourage mental health providers, such as therapists and social workers, to call or email the Consultation Program, the National Center for PTSD needed a comprehensive marketing and outreach campaign. They asked DFC’s Strategic Communications and Research Team to create and execute a marketing campaign to target providers who were treating Veterans with PTSD.
To understand the wishes, needs, and communication preferences of mental health providers, DFC conducted one focus group and nine individual interviews. Research participants consisted of social workers, therapists, counselors, and psychologists, all of whom worked with Veterans with PTSD. This research allowed us to test new campaign materials and to gather valuable information about where providers look for information related to their field. We determined that providers preferred traditional marketing methods, such as direct mail and trade publications, as opposed to digital methods, such as email.
DFC launched an in-depth digital advertising campaign, in addition to targeting providers through trade publications and direct mail. The team also developed an extensive partner outreach strategy to reach more than one hundred not-for-profit and professional organizations that providers may turn to for information. The campaign’s success has largely been due to learning the providers’ preferences during the research stage and using those insights to craft a sound marketing strategy.
Through a mix of digital advertising and trade publication advertising, direct mail, and partner outreach, DFC successfully increased the number of consultations from providers treating Veterans with PTSD. DFC sent more than 14,000 direct mailings to providers, created ads for thirteen different trade publications, and created and distributed a partner toolkit to more than 100 not-for-profit and professional organizations. The digital campaign resulted in higher than average click-through-rates across the board and led to 12,355 hits on the PTSD Consultation Program’s landing page over a three-month period.
After completing a one-year contract, DFC was awarded an additional contract to continue marketing activities related to the PTSD Consultation Program and to promote the National Center for PTSD in general.
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