Where’d You Go?
Understanding your audience
One of the first questions native St. Louisans will ask, upon meeting you, is “Where’d you go?” When I first moved here around six years ago, I had no idea what they meant or how to answer the question. I usually responded with my undergraduate alma mater. That was incorrect. As true St. Louisans know, what the questioner wants is your high school alma mater. (Don’t ask me why they want to know this information; that, in and of itself, is a completely different blog topic.) It’s strange, but it is part of the local culture.
St. Anthony’s Medical Center, located in St. Louis, knew this and leveraged it in a great campaign. Their marketing campaign features real patients being asked “Where did you go?” Their patients answer: “I went to St. Anthony’s for my heart care (or cancer care, fill-in-the- blank care).” In addition to their radio broadcast ads, St. Anthony’s took this campaign a step further by featuring the patients in print ads showing the individuals as both high school students (we are talking real yearbook photos, people) and as adults with short blurbs about their current lives after being taken care of at St. Anthony’s.
The first time I heard (and then saw) the ads, I was blown away by the ingenious use of this cultural and regional identifier. With four words, the marketing team at St. Anthony’s demonstrated that they knew, understood, and could engage their target audience.
• Knowing—Defining your audience isn’t enough. You need to know what makes them unique—as a group and a demographic.
• Understanding—By knowing that the question ‘Where did you go?” could spark instant conversation in St. Louis, St. Anthony’s demonstrated that they not only knew who they were targeting, but understood how their targets communicated.
• Engage—By allowing former patients and longtime residents of the St. Louis community involvement in the campaign, they were able to show their audience that St. Anthony’s is, indeed, a part of the local community and culture. Using pictures of the participants in their “glory” days helped connect the audience in a way that only nostalgia can. The general public could see themselves in the participants of this campaign and that is part of what made both the radio and print ads so engaging.
Do you have a campaign you are drawn to? We’d love to hear about it!