NRMP – The Match

By December 4, 2013

Every year, tens of thousands of United States medical school students and other applicants try to obtain residency positions in US teaching hospitals, where they undertake the second phase of their medical education.

The students work long and hard to excel in medical school. During their fourth year, they begin the process of selecting a medical specialty, sending applications to graduate medical education programs, and interviewing at the programs where they hope to train.

At the end of the interview process, applicants and training program directors submit their preferences to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), better known as “The Match”. Using a mathematical algorithm, the NRMP processes the rankings of applicants and program directors and “matches” applicants to their most preferred program possible.

Although the NRMP has been in existence for more than 60 years, for 20 years it was managed under contract by another health care association. Few of the NRMP’s constituents realized it was an independent organization. When the Board of Directors decided to end the management arrangement, it wanted to build its own brand as the first step in growing and diversifying its vital services. Fishman Marketing was hired to develop a new message, marketing platform, and website.

We began by interviewing NRMP constituents, including medical students, physicians, and professionals within hospital graduate medical education programs. We learned that the Match holds a unique place in the careers of medical students and represents a rite of passage in their journey to becoming physicians.

And knowing this, the medical schools make a very big deal about Match Day, the day in March when students open their envelopes and see where they will train for the next 3-7 years. It’s a momentous event in the lives of young physicians.

So for the visual campaign, we spotlighted the joyful moment they open their Match Day envelopes — the very moment when medical students “Meet Their Match.”

We built a robust website that acts as the central repository of all important NRMP information and is closely linked to their highly successful social media efforts. The previous website was rich with content, but the design made it difficult to process the information. The new website grabs viewers’ attention with powerful brand images and provides valuable data using a simpler structure and more strategic organization.

The before and after versions of the website home page:

We also revised the company logo to emphasize their omnipresent street name, “The Match,” rather than “the NRMP” which had low awareness with their target audience.