Lessons from a Healthcare Marketing Leader

Recognized as the 2021 Ad Age Agency Executive of the Year, Dana Maiman, CEO at IPG Health, shared how her organization strives to embody the principles of EDIBA (equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging, and accessibility) across its four key business pillars to drive bottom line success for its clients and a better, more accepting culture for its employees.

Words of Wisdom

"We do not have a chief diversity officer. We have 6,000 chief diversity officers. Every single one of our employees is responsible and accountable for ensuring [diversity, equity, and inclusion]."
     — Dana Maiman, CEO at IPG Health

Key Takeaways

IPG's purpose is to "Do what's right for our clients, their brands, and our people." Integral to that purpose is the acronym EDIBA, which the business uses to express its key principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging, and accessibility. Because the organization believes EDIBA is good for a company's bottom line, it strives to integrate EDIBA across four key business pillars, which are:

Its Creative Solutions

The organization is hyper-focused on creating accessible, culturally relevant, and competent creative for its clients, understanding that cultural authenticity is good for business. Ads perceived to have high cultural relevance have two times more enhanced brand perception, are three times more effective, and increase purchase intent by 200 percent. During the creative and strategic process, the company strives to bring in diverse voices and ensure authentic representation, including receiving input from panels that self-identify with the target audience for any given campaign.

Its People

Because 26 percent of Americans identify as differently abled, IPG puts a big focus on accessibility with everything it does, including helping clients to update websites and other materials and bring them in line with today's accessibility standards. The agency hires members from the disability community to test creative and provide feedback on whether it is up to par or not. This year, the brand has hired its first full-time, legally blind employee.

Its Culture

IPG has a residency program through which it brings in general advertising talent and trains them to be healthcare advertising experienced. The agency also offers a wealth of training programs, including one meant to cultivate inclusive managers, which is mandatory for any person in a managerial role.

Its Impact

IPG strives to work on campaigns designed to bring society forward and enhance inclusivity. For example, in its "Blood Equality" campaign, the agency worked with the Gay Men's Health Crisis to eliminate the stigma around homosexual men and the donation of blood. In that campaign, the agency wanted to overturn policies that banned homosexual or bi-sexual men from donating blood. Work from that campaign is now featured in the National Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham, Ala.

In a more recent campaign, the agency once again partnered with the Gay Men's Health Crisis and drag queen influencer Ms. Information to combat vaccine misinformation and improve the rate of vaccination within the LGBTQ+ community. Ms. Information struck out on a PR tour, appearing on podcasts and other media platforms to discuss the campaign and share facts about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Following the campaign, LGBTQ+ became a demographic with one of the highest rates of vaccination in the U.S., with 91 percent of its members fully vaccinated to date.

Q&A with Dana Maiman, CEO at IPG Health

Q. How do you approach the content strategy in a brand repositioning?

A. We start off with research, research, research. The next thing is determining which markets are going to be most important. Because of the breadth of our global network, we're able to go into all of these different reasons and find where the cultural nuances are. And what we strive for is to not do the lowest common denominator. We want to aim high, and if we need to tweak for different regional or cultural nuances, we will do so.

Q. You discussed the need to train or re-train people to bring them into the healthcare space. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

A. We're always looking for talent. Thankfully, one of the reasons is because we're growing. But at the same time, we were running out of people to hire. It's not like people go to school and want to be in healthcare advertising after graduation. So, they start in general. But then so many of them find out that they want to be more fulfilled or not be promoting things that they don't believe in. With so many people touched by healthcare in some way now, we're getting great recruits. But they are folks who started in general marketing.


"Lessons from a Healthcare Marketing Leader." Dana Maiman, CEO at IPG Health. 2022 ANA Advertising and Financial Management Conference, 5/3/22.

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