Why your health system or hospital needs to talk to women about stroke.
Women are often aware of the risk factors for breast cancer, but what about stroke? Did you know that twice as many women die from stroke than breast cancer each year? While pink ribbons have become a common marketing tool, this type of tactic has misled women to be disproportionately worried about breast cancer more than heart disease and stroke.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 60 percent of stroke-related deaths are in women, and one in five women in the United States will experience a stroke at some point.
Marketing creates awareness that has made a difference in improving survival rates through encouraging regular screenings and early detection for breast cancer—let’s double down our efforts to make the same true for stroke and heart disease as well. The U.S. lags behind other developed countries in life expectancy for women overall, and addressing one of the most prominent killers of women could help change this statistic.
Marketers—like you—have an opportunity to step in and change not only women’s perception of stroke but also potentially save lives. With National Stroke Awareness Month just around the corner, is your marketing going to resonate where it’s needed most?
Stroke Symptoms for Women Can Be Different
Continuing to remind your audience about common symptoms may not be enough to evoke comprehensive awareness of the realities of strokes in women. We need to go one step further to alert women to less common signs they may experience during a stroke.
Common stroke symptoms are usually explained by the acronym FAST:
Facial drooping … Ask the person to smile. Is one side of their face drooping?
Arms … Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one drift downward?
Speech … Is the person’s speech slurred or strange?
Time to call 911 … If you see any of these signs, call 911 immediately.
According to the National Stroke Association, however, there are a handful of stroke symptoms unique to women. Oftentimes, women do not recognize these symptoms and are unaware they need to seek the necessary immediate treatment to curtail severe disability or even prevent death.
Stroke symptoms unique to women include:
Difficulty or shortness of breath
Confusion, unresponsiveness or disorientation
Sudden behavioral change
Dizziness or loss of balance
Sudden blurred vision
Hiccups or nausea
Educating your community about these symptoms and the risk factors of stroke could help save lives. Minutes count when it comes to stroke, and if population awareness increases, patients may be more likely to seek the treatment they need, sooner.
How to Market to Women About Stroke
In comparison to men, women have additional risk factors for stroke. Being pregnant, using birth control pills, undergoing hormone replacement therapy, and having migraines with aura are all unique to women. Are you speaking to those segments of women about their risk for stroke? If you are, does your message make clear what preventive services are available?
Here are three ways you can reach women in your community to build awareness of their stroke risk and engender trust for your organization.
Find your audience. By leveraging data analytics and predictive modeling, you can identify women who could be at risk for stroke based on behaviors like smoking, prescriptions and other variables. These tools are highly accessible and more affordable than ever, and even allow marketers to fine tune their targeting to include only those prospects covered by commercial insurance.
Focus your content. If your facility is sending email campaigns to women throughout their pregnancy to help them assess the progress of their baby’s development and get ready for delivery, consider adding an article about stroke awareness to your content.
Because strokes are unplanned and often unpredictable, it’s best to market toward awareness, rather than prevention. Women, in particular need to know:
Their risk factors
How to identify a stroke
The golden hour and what to do when you have a stroke
The truth about recovery
Follow up to stay connected. For Stroke Awareness Month, consider hosting a seminar just for women about stroke. Gather attendee email addresses, and deploy a nurturing campaign series following the seminar that includes more information about stroke, healthy living and eating tips. Drive readers to make an appointment with their primary care physician to discuss risk factors.
When women are knowledgeable about the risk factors and signs of stroke, it could have a positive impact on your community and even save lives. As National Stroke Awareness Month approaches, consider how your marketing can speak to this demographic specifically, potentially making a big impact on population health where it is needed most.
Let's Continue the Conversation!
True North Custom works with 500+ healthcare organizations to find and engage target communities. Find out how we can craft your content and campaigns in a way that differentiates your brand and creates preference for your service lines.