Specialists in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery (SRMS) is a medical practice founded and operated by Dr. Craig R. Sweet in Fort Myers, FL. They are proud to be a full-service practice providing non-discriminatory assistance regardless of age, race, sex, or sexual preference. Laura Cavin and Sheri Green always knew they wanted to become mothers, but like other lesbian couples also understood they would need medical intervention to achieve this dream. Dr. Sweet assisted them, and the results were more than they’d hoped for – two sets of twins.
All four children were conceived on the same day and technically are quadruplets, even though the two sets of children were born two weeks apart. There’s only one other known case, from 2008. According to Dr. Sweet, “The chance that all four transferred embryos would implant and grow was less than 2%.” It was a remarkable story, one Dr. Sweet and the mothers wanted to share. Dr. Sweet approached PTE, who was on retainer for public relations services, and Terri Davidson-Cabitt who was also on retainer for fertility community relations, to coordinate production and distribution of a news release on the story with hopes that it would increase awareness of the parenting possibilities among target audience members: predominately local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community and other potential heterosexual patients, and generate “buzz” for the practice. Internet and media research and review of census data in the Fort Myers area indicated there were many living the LGBT lifestyle, but definitive numbers or percentages of the population were not available.
OBJECTIVES & STRATEGIES
- Increase awareness of the practice and its services among LGBT and heterosexual target audience members via publicity during the months of April and May by garnering at least 315,000 impressions (or 50% of the Lee County population based on 2011 census data) via exposure in at least one targeted parenting publication, 1 LGBT publication and 1 of the primary local newspapers and follow-up patient interview feedback
- Increase traffic to the practice as measured by an increase of new patient inquiries and appointments by 10% within the months of April and May as compared to the same time the previous year.
- Increase awareness via increased traffic to the practice website (averaging 2,000+ visits per month) by 4% (+/- 80 visits) within April and May.
PTE did formal and informal research, coordinated with Dr. Sweet, Laura, Sheri, and Terri, performed targeted media research and outreach. The angle was delicate given the tender nature of the story and generally inhospitable local market (of the practice). Special care was given to how it would portray the mothers and children. A focus was placed on the positive outcome, four new lives, and a very special scenario that created a new family. PTE formed a local, regional, and industry media list manually and distributed the release via email to targeted journalists. The two primary local newspapers and parenting magazines were specifically targeted based on their readership. PTE contacted each media outlet individually and facilitated interview arrangements for both the mothers and Dr. Sweet to secure a front-page and six-page feature in the parenting magazine, a front-page with continuation features in both major newspapers, and secured feature coverage in two primary LGBT publications. Once news broke, UK Daily Mail Online, the biggest newspaper site in the world, according to a 2012 comScore report, also picked it up, leading to massive expanded exposure.
RESULTS: All objectives were surpassed, even reaching international audiences.
- The story was picked up by 10 publications, 2 of which were for the LGBT community, 1 was the primary parenting publication for the area, 1 was international and 2 were the primary newspapers for the market for an estimated 101,582,940 total impressions, approximately 322% more than the lofty stated goal. LGBT patients and new connections created at a local gay pride event in October 2012 indicated increased awareness of the practice and familiarity with the story. Additionally, heterosexual patients indicated they had read the story.
- There was an estimated 10-20% increase in new patient inquiries and appointments during the months of April and May, but due to insufficient in-practice measurement, no firm numbers were available.
- Website traffic increased by 4.26% (86 visits) in the months of April and May combined, just over the goal.