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Delaware Hospice

Case Study

The Client

Delaware Hospice is the state’s only community-based, not-for-profit hospice provider. The company offers both in-home and inpatient hospice care as well as specialty programs, including bereavement and case management services. Among Delaware Hospice’s unique programs are Transitions, which offers services to chronically ill individuals, and Camp New Hope, offering bereavement and counseling programs for children.

The Challenge

Despite a market share of more than 50 percent, Delaware Hospice suffered from lack of perceived differentiation and increased competition. Surveys with consumers and referral sources revealed that about two-thirds believed that all hospice care providers are the same or could not name any key differences. Meanwhile, the national market for hospice services continued to struggle against traditional attitudes that favored curative treatment.

The Strategy

Walker Marketing conducted research to help Delaware Hospice understand perceptions, motivations and opportunities among its key audience segments and redefine the provider’s brand image and position. Subsequent analysis led to a new brand strategy and marketing communications plan, which charted a course to expand and promote programs that tapped into feeder markets and better differentiated the organization in the Mid-Atlantic region.



A creative strategy was developed to dispel the notion that there were no important differences among hospice providers. As a result, a creative campaign showcased Delaware Hospice’s unique programs and services while removing the fear and uncertainty often associated with hospice care. In addition to hospice care, ancillary services such as Transitions were elevated to the forefront to emphasize the provider’s level of commitment to the community.


The website was redesigned to showcase the provider’s unique programs and services in order to create preference and educate consumers about hospice, as well as offering an online needs assessment to drive conversions. A new design depicted the benefits that differentiated Delaware Hospice from its competitors while illustrating the humanity, compassion, and personality of the organization.


Since research revealed patients and families trust physicians opinions over any other source, advertising featured testimonials from health care professionals as a means to establish credible endorsements and advocacy for hospice care. Furthermore, it conveyed a message to physicians that hospice referrals did not necessitate the discontinuation of treatment.

Public Relations

Public relations efforts were focused on creating awareness of Delaware Hospice’s involvement and commitment to the community while further establishing its leadership in hospice care. Widespread media coverage was secured and repurposed through digital channels to help boost rankings on search engines. In addition to media outreach, Delaware Hospice’s CEO was scheduled for high profile speaking engagements throughout the state, reinforcing the provider’s status as a leader in end-of-life care.

The Result

The radio campaign and television coverage were immediate successes, generating a wealth of new leads for Delaware Hospice and winning MarCom platinum awards. The new website also garnered a significant number of leads and was recognized for excellence by the Web Health Awards.

Public relations efforts drew print, radio, and television media coverage, resulting in more than 6.2 million media impressions. With a multitude of speaking engagements and media placements, public awareness increased for Delaware Hospice’s many programs, including its unique veteran’s outreach, children’s camps, and community-based events. The company’s leadership position in the hospice industry was elevated.