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University of Maryland School of Medicine

A multi-channel campaign increases audience engagement for a world-class medical care and academic research organization


The University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. Today, UMSOM is one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world with 43 departments, facilities, and programs and more than 3,000 faculty, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and a distinguished recipient of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research.

UMSOM partnered with Mindgrub to measure and increase brand awareness among local residents, donors, and patient populations, as well as national leaders. Mindgrub designed, deployed, and analyzed a digital marketing campaign that elevated UMSOM’s groundbreaking achievements and drove a high level of engagement from target audiences.

Our Services

  • Content Strategy
  • Design
  • Digital Marketing
  • Strategy
  • Web Development

The Opportunity

Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, a region heavily populated with hospitals and medical schools, UMSOM sought to differentiate their brand and establish a stronger connection with the community. UMSOM’s legacy of innovative “firsts” in discovery-based medicine and compassionate clinical care afforded a great opportunity to accomplish both of these goals.

Ultimately, the campaign needed to help cultivate patient engagement, promote recruitment and talent retention efforts, and initiate research funding opportunities and related contributions.

Collage of text and illustrations including a helicopter and globe

Our Approach

As part of our discovery process to learn more about UMSOM and their target audiences, we conducted stakeholder interviews and market research, reviewed all UMSOM-provided documentation, and completed a technical assessment to inform landing page development. We used this information to produce strategy documentation, create personas, and develop and implement a marketing campaign.

Once the campaign launched, we utilized data dashboards and analytics tools to regularly monitor and report on user behavior. These findings helped our team make adjustments and optimize for performance throughout the campaign.

Balancing unique messaging with audience expectations drives brand recognition.

Three red and yellow ads featuring UMSOM messaging and illustrations

An Effective Strategy

Leveraging the agreed upon “First, Best, Most” campaign approach, we created an impactful anchor statement that encompassed what our target audiences would see as being “on brand” for UMSOM. The campaign highlighted UMSOM’s numerous achievements, including that they:

  • Invented the field of Shock Trauma

    and are global leaders in trauma treatment

  • Were the first medical school

    to discover the relationship between insects and disease

  • Co-discovered HIV as the cause of AIDS

    and have treated more than a million HIV patients around the world

  • Are world-class innovators in surgery and organ transplantation

We paired eye-catching design work with an interesting fact about UMSOM for each advertisement. When clicked, the ads took users to the UMSOM-branded landing page where they could learn more about the organization and how to take action in support of UMSOM’s efforts.

A UMSOM themed timeline features key moments in UMSOM history

Content that Resonates

Our team designed, developed, and launched a campaign landing page and five distinct thematic sets of ads. We deployed static News Feed ads on Facebook as well as static and HTML5 rich media banner ads that were used for both prospecting and retargeting efforts. The content focused on the following medical categories:

  • Vaccine Development

  • Surgery/Transplantation

  • Emergency Medicine/Shock Trauma

  • Complex Diseases (HIV/AIDS, Cancer, Brain Disorders)

During the course of the campaign, SARS-CoV-2 became a global health crisis, and UMSOM was one of the first establishments to begin vaccine research and development. While it was too early to discuss their progress at the time, we found that engagement with the “global epidemic” themed ad skyrocketed, with a clickthrough rate of over 5 times the industry benchmark. In this way, raising awareness of UMSOM’s role in the fight against the novel coronavirus served as a point of interest and pride among potential recruits, partners, and donors.

Mindgrub’s team is an energetic and talented group of professionals who understand and execute every phase of a marketing campaign, and then modify based on relevant and insightful analytics to ensure the greatest possible impact. We would highly recommend them!

Chris Hardwick, Assistant Dean for Public Affairs, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Results that Matter

Overall, the display campaign reached more than 2 million people and yielded an above-average clickthrough rate, 3 times the industry benchmark. This is a clear indication that people were highly motivated to learn more about UMSOM.

Further analysis showed that while banner and Facebook ads helped drive engagement to the landing page, the banner ads were better able to reach individuals who were most likely to engage with content in the ads and on the landing page. Post-survey data results also revealed a 5% increase in measurable brand awareness among local audiences.

Based on the insights and outcomes of this initial campaign, our team provided UMSOM with recommendations that will help them continue to engage local audiences and advance their marketing efforts in the future.


increase in measurable brand awareness


people reached with display campaign