A Deceptively Unique And Effective Healthcare Broadcast And Digital Marketing Strategy


A combination of broadcast media and social media to increase healthcare advertising effectiveness
…More Effectively Engage The Television Audience, The Digital Consumer And The Patient Journey…

John G. Baresky

…According to AdGooroo, building supplies retailer 84 Lumber scored 58.7 percent of all U.S. Google ad clicks on 154 Super Bowl-related keywords on Super Bowl Sunday, 2017…

Two-Screening Strategy Scores Points During Super Bowl 51…

The NFL season is underway for 2017 but a quick look back is warranted at how last season ended with a Super Bowl upset and a deceptively unique and effective broadcast ad / digital marketing strategy was executed. A regional building material and supplies retailer and a Pittsburgh-based ad agency successfully deployed a two-screening strategy during Super Bowl 51. They effectively combined brand identity, a “customer journey” and broadcast advertising with digital marketing attributes and contemporary TV audience viewing habits.

For the healthcare industry and other marketers, it is a strategic model to enrich existing TV advertising and digital marketing activities to develop more impactful and measurable marketing/sales initiatives with greater ROI.

…According to Google, the time people spend watching YouTube on their TV has more than doubled year over year…

…Two-thirds of CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) plan to increase focus and spending in digital advertising initiatives at the expense of traditional media budgets according to Gartner’s Chief Marketing Officer 2017–2018 Annual Spend Survey Report…

With dwindling broadcast television audiences and ever-increasing selection of alternative digital/social media venues for audiences to migrate to, healthcare marketers need better advertising/marketing strategies and reap more proof-positive ROI results from broadcast / digital promotional spend.

Understand Two-Screening Behavior…

…Two-Screening (also referred to as Second Screening) is the act of watching TV while also engaging another digital device; frequently a mobile phone, or tablet. Viewers tuned into TV programming are dividing their time between the TV screen and the screens they readily control in their hands. Two-screening is controversial and here to stay…

While television ratings are based on the number of viewers and audience demographics associated with the featured programming shown, two-screening diminishes true rating performance. While an ad is shown at the ideal time coupled with programming most closely aligned to the audience being targeted; audience members can choose between watching the ad or catching up with text messages, emails, their social media accounts or other options through their mobile phone or tablet.

…A report published by Accenture in 2015 estimated about 87% of consumers used a second screen while watching TV. 84 Lumber and Brunner, their ad agency, developed a two-screening strategy to work in their favor…

Understand Two-Screening Technical Enablement…

Displays in mobile phones, tablets and other devices are excellent. Batteries and wireless are constantly improving, devices don’t have to be constantly tethered to a cord to recharge; great wireless / WIFI eliminates the need to be latched to a cable. Downloading, viewing is almost seamless, the speed/consistency of displayed content is virtually real-time. To add fuel to the fire, some consumers are using their phones and tablets to control their TVs, making two-screening an integral part of the TV viewing experience.

A Contributing Driver Of Two-Screening Behavior…

Advertisers and networks seek to cultivate more revenue by featuring multiple clusters of ads over an hour. Clusters of multiple ads encourage viewers to look at something that specifically interests them until the featured programming content resumes. Commercial breaks trigger consumers to reach for mobile phones and tablets where they control the content they prefer that is accessed, scrolled, swiped in seconds. The longer the commercial break, the more deeply engaged the two-screening audience is with content shared from the device in their hand.

The customer has a choice of journeys, why not encourage them to choose the journey your brand offers? Based on these challenges, healthcare and other industry marketers with heavy TV ad spend need to be innovative in how they can effectively span broadcast / digital venues to generate measurable ROI; a strategy that embraces two-screening is a viable option.

By cultivating a go-to-website action on broadcast television, marketers verify the ad was seen and the messaging was meaningful enough for the audience to engage in further dialogue. Once they transition to the website, their actions can be further guided via choices presented to them and transition to lead generation, direct sales or other ongoing engagement. This tandem of strategy/tactics optimizes actionable analytics for broadcast and digital marketing spend.

Profile Of 84 Lumber And Their Ad Agency, Brunner…

Founded in 1958, 84 Lumber is a privately-held retail building material supply company. 84 Lumber is based in 84, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh). Brunner was founded in 1989 and is a privately-held, independent agency headquartered in Pittsburgh. Brunner has worked with several notable brands. For both firms, it was their first Super Bowl ad.

How 84 Lumber And Brunner Developed And Executed Their Two-Screening Strategy…

When the ad was reviewed by Fox, the network televising the Super Bowl, some of its content was deemed “controversial”. The content was then partitioned, some to be featured via broadcast and the remainder via digital. The broadcast portion began the journey/pitch and then guided the audience to go to their website to view the outcome. Based on rumored “controversial” content, there was already a media buzz about the ad before the Super Bowl. The story on the broadcast side was compelling enough, however; for a large number of viewers to follow through on their own via mobile phones, tablets to experience the rest of the commercial.


Once the ad aired, within one minute following its showing the 84 Lumber server experienced more than 300,000 hits; excess volume had to be routed via paid social to YouTube (the enormous surge of traffic was one thing 84 Lumber and Brunner had not fully accounted for in their technical preparation). Despite the other advertising candy the Super Bowl is known for and of course the game itself, a sizable viewing audience immediately opted to further engage the brand via digital.

YouTube, featuring the broadcast ad and the digital extension, continued to experience high traffic navigating to the 84 Lumber content for days. 84 Lumber and Brunner masterfully executed a two-screening strategy to their advantage; bridging unique story-based content from the broadcast space to the digital space where the audience could purposely engage the messaging further and be measured accordingly by web analytics. What are some of the takeaways for healthcare marketing and sales stakeholders to consider?

Get More From Broadcast Television Advertising And Digital Marketing…

For healthcare and other marketers investing millions in television ads; two-screening is a growing part of the challenge when it could be part of the formula. Audiences migrating to the non-TV network provided programming are defying broadcast advertising strategies; how often should ads be scheduled according to the chosen programming slots and at what point and at what rate do they have reduced impact?

…Acorn, Amazon, DirectTV, Now, Facebook, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Sling TV and other videos/content streaming services present new venues for digital marketing, brand marketing, content marketing and other stakeholders to capitalize on and truly challenge the status quo of broadcast television marketing / promotional strategy and spend…

A deliberate strategy to take advantage of the two- screening audience can enable marketers to get more ROI from broadcast and digital marketing budgets along with collecting ongoing valuable data. With a structure of quality content, an effective segue and knowledge of audience viewing habits, they can convert the two-screening threat into a competitive edge to generate more sales.

There are significant details involved in direct-to-consumer advertising on TV. Scenarios, aesthetics, animation versus live-action, written / voiceover messaging (including the required fair balance rhetoric) all have to be accounted for within a 30-second space –-60 seconds is a luxury but sometimes used if the budget is tight, the product is at launch, under competitive siege or especially complex. Imagery and messaging must be powerful enough to steer the patient journey in the direction of the call to action, i.e. “Ask your doctor if __________ is right for you”.


  • Why should the patient journey with your brand end there when it may be more impactful/measurable by continuing at the brand’s website?
  • How can the audience’s recall be more effectively reinforced to “ask their doctor”?
  • How many times and at what cost does it take for 30-second ads to have measurable sales impact?
  • How can the consumer/patient be technically enabled to share the ad’s information with family members or friends?

Know your audience…

An effective two-screening strategy purposely develops compelling content and deploys the broadcast ad with an integrally effective segue guiding the viewer to the website for the rest of the story. Based on Accenture’s data, there is a good chance overall audience members will have the second screen device within easy reach to do just that. Depending on the desired audience sector targeted, market research will need to assess what their viewing habits are and their propensity to be “two-screeners”.

If the greatest portion of the desired audience is typical without a second device, the two-screening approach is not an effective strategy or the ad can be designed to effectively deliver the brand message via broadcast while somehow accounting for two- screeners as well to garner engagement on the digital side.

Two-Screening Advantages…

  • Healthcare marketers can effectively span broadcast and digital venues to optimize customer engagement, lead generation or direct sales opportunities
  • The TV portion of the ad is not over-burdened with encapsulating the brand experience from start to finish
  • By aligning TV ad times with website visits, the immediate response to ads can be assessed
  • Further audience insights on the extent of two-screening and their use of devices, locations, etc. can be cultivated
  • Website engagement will reveal further insights on the audience and particular interests in the brand and information provided in the digital realm
  • Web content, optimized with sharing features, can enable the audience originating on the broadcast side to propel the digital content through social sharing to a secondary audience and so on without having to pay for more ad time and result in even greater overall sales and ROI
  • If engagement is lower than expected despite being positioned with the intended audience, explore the reasons why; is the content not compelling, the segue not well communicated or is the ad already a two-screening casualty and not being viewed by as many audience members as anticipated?

Planning A Two-Screening Initiative…

  • Carefully interpret industry data on audience mobile, tablet usage and TV viewing patterns; conduct your research initiatives as well; this knowledge is pivotal for a successful two-screening strategy
  • Develop detailed budgets in advance, initiating an effective two-screening initiative may require more financial resources than anticipated
  • A two-screening strategy requires more preparation and resources to effectively execute plus its novel approach should be reserved for high priority use; examples include A) new product launch or new indications B) countering an assertively potent competitive threat C) new campaign for an established brand D) special televised event sponsorship
  • Establish goals and objectives on the broadcast side and digital side to individually and collectively measure effectiveness and cumulative sales and ROI performance
  • Test story concepts account for the patient journey, test content, test the segue from broadcast to digital, test effective continuity on the digital side
  • Once they land in the website via the segue direction, they are immediately accommodated by transitioning to where the ad left off and upon its conclusion, the site provides further guidance, chatbot or similar engagement, and offers them something in the way of signing up for emails, updates, patient information, subscribing to a blog or other options
  • Pilot the two-screening approach with a miniature budget and targeted audience to fine-tune and scale up to accelerate the generation of sales
  • Account for all medical/regulatory requirements on the broadcast and digital side
  • Be certain website capacity can easily accommodate surges in traffic
  • Verify the broadcast and digital content is well assimilated and viewed via mobile and tablet screens
  • Maximize social sharing technical attributes; make it easy and encouraging for the broadcast audience who traveled to the digital realm to share the brand experience with others digitally
  • As audience groups continue to migrate to new digital/social/streaming venues, develop modified two-screening strategy options accordingly
  • Closely monitor ad fatigue; determine ways in advance to produce new digital experiences for the broadcast audience to segue to in the future

An Innovative Healthcare Broadcast And Digital Marketing Strategy…

A successful two-screening initiative is much more than a request to “visit our website”. It’s an integrated content and technical strategy to embrace a broadcast audience and comfortably transport them from their living space to the brand’s living space where they can spend more meaningful time than just 30 or 60 seconds with your brand. They can explore the brand experience at their leisure; share it with family members and friends while determining what their next steps are.

Follow the customer/patient journey map…

In many ways, the two-screening strategy aligns well with today’s digital consumer and respective patient journeys. It is imperative to know where and how you can align your brand strategy to it first before you deploy it. As audience preferences change and technical innovation provide them with more routes and destinations to choose from, follow their map and modify the two-screening strategy accordingly. Stay ahead of the customer journey and your competition to generate sales and ROI performance.

Thank you for reading this story

Learn more about the healthcare industry; read my articles about its medical and business trends, content marketing and digital strategy, brand and product management, mergers and acquisitions, consumer wellness, managed care and market access strategy.

About me

Hi, my name is John Baresky ( pronounced “ buh — ress — key “) and I have over 25 years of experience in healthcare.

Throughout my career, I have been writing about healthcare while developing and sharing important information with physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other clinicians plus consumers, patients, healthcare business professionals, investors and other stakeholders.​​

Healthcare is a vast industry. I organize its clinical, business, academic, technical and consumer topics into precise messages and stories that are easily understood and immediately useful. The content I write resonates across audiences with objective accuracy and clarity.

Visit my website and connect with me via LinkedIn and Twitter


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John G. Baresky


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