What are you doing to promote diabetes awareness?

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11/03/2009

This morning, the executive editor forwarded me a press release on American Diabetes Month and suggested I poke around and see what providers are doing to incorporate this national campaign into their marketing etc this month.

He does this every year.

It's not an unreasonable suggestion for a story but it's not one I am able to write because, well, most providers don't do anything special. I don't know why. The ones I talk to genuinely care about their diabetes patients but November just doesn't bring out the promotions the way that October does with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Maybe they've tried in the past and haven't gotten much traction for their efforts. Maybe its because diabetes is kind of boring. Still, I would think any opportunity to position oneself in front of the community would be jumped at.

I was talking to provider Laurie Schneider of Great Lakes Home Healthcare last week. That company does specials each month, often tied into a bigger theme. This month, it's 10% off diabetes accessories like socks. Great Lakes customers, she says, are now quite accustomed to asking what the monthly special is.

"We always have a huge month when we offer discounts," she told me.

With so many people out of work or uninsured, what about offering free blood sugar checks? Sure, it will cost you a little out of pocket and yes, if these folks do in fact, have diabetes but no money or insurance, they aren't exactly going to look like a cash cow. But, they might remember you down the road. And really, customer loyalty is kind of priceless.

Theresa Flaherty

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