BHTA Consumer Guide 

There are few trade professionals in the mobility, access and independent living industry that will be unaware of the British Healthcare Trades Association or unfamiliar with its blue and white badge, often seen on adverts, websites and company vehicles. Many consumers, however, may not be aware of what an affiliation with the association means for them. With a large, multi-channel marketing campaign planned for the start of 2022, THIIS spoke with Samantha Lewis, Marketing Campaign Manager at the BHTA, to learn more about why and how the organisation is aiming to engage consumers.

Founded in 1917, the BHTA consists of over 400 members, split across 12 different areas of the healthcare and assistive technologies market. Its largest sections cover mobility, independent living and access and stair lifts, where the association acts as a consumer protection body. Its members voluntarily sign up to the organisation’s Chartered Trading Standards Institute-approved Code of Practice, requiring companies to provide a level of service above and beyond their legal requirements.

“The Code offers two important things to consumers,” explained Samantha, “peace of mind that the company they are using are reputable, and protection in the event a dispute arises.

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“Both of these are becoming all-the-more important for consumers, especially when it comes to products and services that play such a vital role in people’s health, safety and independence.

“It is now more difficult to know which companies and products can be trusted. People’s faith in the internet as a source of accurate and impartial information has been challenged and tested, to the point where even online reviews are being treated as suspicious, as they could be fake.

“So consumers, be it the user themselves or those buying on their behalf, are looking for something to put their faith into. It’s something we see a lot on our website, where some of our most popular pages and searches are around advice on buying safely, and verifying if companies are members by using our directory.”

Samantha Lewis
Samantha Lewis

Code, consumers and campaigns

Aiming to engage and educate consumers about the trust and protection that the BHTA stands for, the association is preparing to kick start 2022 with the launch of its first major consumer campaign.

According to Samantha, the initiative will focus on informing consumers about the importance of the Code, and the value of buying from BHTA members.

“We have a really important message to tell, but one that comes with a challenge,” she noted.

“Many first-time buyers, be it users or friends and family buying on their behalf, are often searching for these products in a time of distress, such as following someone having had a fall. They are often unfamiliar with the market’s products, services, and providers, and are rapidly seeking information and solutions.

“This means there is a pretty small window to inform them to also look out for our logo and what our Code of Practice means for them, during a time when they are taking in a lot of new information. So our campaign will focus on cutting through the noise.”

To overcome the challenge, the BHTA’s team plans to make digital marketing a central focus of its campaign. As Sam explained, the ability to use pay-per-click (PPC) and paid social media advertising will be key to reaching customers in the right place, at the right time.

“We know that the first place most people go when they need to find out something new is Google – particularly adult children looking for solutions for their parents. So PPC advertising is a great way to really target those searching online for mobility and access products and services – it will help us to engage people at the right moment when they are looking for advice and information.”

Alongside a big focus on digital marketing, the association is also investing in content as a means to engage audiences.

“We know most consumers start their journey into the mobility and access sector by looking for helpful guidance,” she continued. “So, a significant element of our campaign will be on commissioning and publishing advisory articles on how to buy different products and services safely. This is a great way to introduce consumers to us, our Code, and our members.”

Getting members on board

In addition to its own efforts to raise awareness of its Code and its members, the campaign also plans to mobilise its hundreds of members to help increase the campaign reach.

“Digital plays a big role, and we are also using some traditional media, including a series of print adverts in a popular disability lifestyle magazine. The most important element of our campaign is our members, though,” highlighted Samantha.

“Our members have the most interaction and engagement with consumers, so they really are best placed to tell them about the importance of their BHTA accreditation, and the protection it offers.”

To help its members do this, the association has created a ‘member marketing-campaign toolkit’, providing members with everything they need to inform their customers about being BHTA Code-accredited.

“All assets in the member toolkit are personalised for our members, including their company logo and names. It contains social media artwork, suggested social media posts, an email signature banner, potential website copy, as well as a new eight-page consumer guide,” detailed Sam.

“The consumer guide is also dual-branded and provides members with an easy-to-digest publication that clearly explains what peace of mind and protection customers receive by buying from our members.”

Launching at the start of January, the campaign is planned to run throughout the first quarter of the year.

“This is very much the first step for us as an association in our concerted efforts to reach and engage consumers on a wide scale,” added Sam.

“Over the coming months, we have some really interesting plans to reach various different stakeholder groups. Following our consumer campaign, we will have a similar initiative aimed at healthcare professionals, as well as reaching commissioning and procurement organisations later in the year.

“For any BHTA members who have yet to get involved, please do get in touch with us at We would really encourage you to participate, not only to strengthen the campaign to help reach more consumers, but to also benefit your business by letting them know you are reputable and trustworthy because you are a BHTA member.”

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