Author: Kathy Roy Gaughran

In her career, Kathy has helped over 4,000 clients all over North America achieve their growth goals. As an award-winning strategic marketing planner, Kathy has been involved in both the high level strategies required for long-term sustainability, plus the tactical execution used to accomplish day-to-day successes.

7 Ways You’re Wasting Money on Your Marketing

John Wanamaker Every savvy marketing executive knows the John Wanamaker (1838-1922) quote: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Somewhere in his distinguished career, John must have found the answer. More than 150 years later, it turns out he was exceptionally successful in retail merchandising, and to this day, considered a genuine “pioneer in marketing.” The lesson for those of us in hospital and healthcare marketing is that it’s vitally important to avoid wasting any part of your budget. Here are some of the most important ways to stop wasting ... Read more

4 Best Gift-Giving Tips (That You Probably Haven’t Heard) For Your Referring Doctors

I didn’t mean for this to sneak up—but surprise—it’s that time of year! Right now—meaning today—is the best time to take care of the holiday gift-giving and doctor-recognition-marketing routine. There’s got to be a shorter name, but traditionally, it’s when everyone wants to thank the various referral sources among doctors. The most common referral channels are between and/or among generalists and specialists. You know the drill. This is where doctors or practices refer patients to another practice or practitioner for expert care. (And often, the specialty practice is reliant on inbound referrals for new business.) But although recognizing referral sources ... Read more

A Shocking Truth: Most Patients Don’t Know Squat About Doctor Quality

It is a remarkable and often painful mistake for doctors to assume that prospective patients know how to judge clinical quality in healthcare. Specifically, many doctors mistakenly believe that any prospective patient clearly recognizes that the competitive hospital or medical office down the street is lacking in quality of care. Thus, they believe, the other business would be a poor choice. It’s not hubris or excessive self-pride—but patients just don’t think that way. Doctors and patients use totally different value systems for judging quality. Here’s how this extremely common issue often leads to problems. The marketing competitor advertises aggressively. The ... Read more

10 Ways to Fail Miserably on the Phone and What to Do Instead

If you picture the marketing and advertising process as a circle, success is when you close the loop. Getting the phone to ring is a good start and an important part of the loop. But an inquiry call—to a hospital, service line office or provider—doesn’t complete the loop. The ringing that you hear signals an important opportunity. What happens next—properly answering the phone and closing the loop—is where the payoff should begin. But here’s the kicker: The office often fails miserably when the phone rings. You would be alarmed at how often (and how easily) offices fail at this critical ... Read more

5 Free (or Low Cost) Tactics that Leverage Patient Satisfaction

File this under “If You’re Happy and You Know It” power tactics. This is a handful of highly effective little ideas anyone can put to work on short notice—at little or no cost—for greater mileage. #1: Publish, publish and republish. Consumer comments on review sites, as well as the direct testimonials of patients, are highly influential. Sometimes known as consensus, or social proof, people are guided by what others have to think and say. For the greatest impact, find as many ways as possible to give the good word added exposure. Mindful of HIPAA guidelines, you might: Create a web ... Read more

Where’s Your Brand Connection and Loyalty After the Buyout?

The healthcare delivery industry changes daily. Given the many moving parts, creating and maintaining a brand connection today—for solutions the public may need someday—is a serious challenge. Consider how these variables are at work: On one hand, the quiet-and-compliant patients of the past have morphed into empowered consumers. They are better informed bring expectations of high value, quality experience and near-immediate solutions. And, on the other hand, nearly every hospital, health system and medical practice in the US has experienced some transformation in the marketplace. Community hospitals roll up into regional systems, practitioners form medical groups and practices become institutional service lines. ... Read more

Easy and Effective Tips to Boost Your Online Presence

Back in the digital dark ages—a decade or so ago—simply having a website was enough to be found online. Early on, only a few healthcare practices and hospitals had a website at all. Two or three HTML pages put your online presence miles ahead of most everyone else. But not so today. To be found online—and not lost in the crowd—you need a heck of a lot more than a single blip on the search radar. Today you need to create a collective presence using several tools that work together. Typically, this would include one or more websites, one or ... Read more

Choosing a Hospital: The Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

A friend of ours is a one-person blend of Yelp-and-Angie’s-List of references, referrals and recommendations. This is a well-connected word-of-mouth resource for recommendations for life’s everyday needs. Just ask: They’ll suggest the best value in retail goods, where to find discounts on groceries, who to trust for reliable home handyman services. This a person who is recognized as a brand advocate, someone who provides guidance in healthcare decisions. The concept of “word-of-mouth marketing” appeals to doctors, hospitals and communications professionals primarily because of the low cost. The trouble is, that unpaid or inexpensive promotion—where satisfied customers actively tell others—is difficult ... Read more

5 Internal Marketing Touchpoints That You Need to Know

The ideal practice enjoys a steady flow of new patients. It’s a vital step in achieving steady practice growth. But, unfortunately, that’s where we often find a painful gap in the practice or hospital marketing plan. The time, effort and external budget—the source of new business and new patients—somehow disconnects from the internal marketing effort. By the time a professional practice comes to us for a “marketing deficiency diagnosis” we discover they have neglected their existing patient base. Maybe here’s a taken-for-granted undercurrent. Or perhaps it’s an unintended consequence of a hectic office. Nevertheless, they lose current patients and other ... Read more

Essential Website Metrics and Your Key Performance Indicators

Your website is healthcare’s new front door, and nearly everyone has a website. Good, bad or mediocre, hospitals, health systems and doctors’ offices have some degree of Internet presence. But better than half the time, the all-important website metrics—the numbers that monitor performance—are neglected or ignored. The plus side of an effective website is that it’s working all the time—at least it should be. It doesn’t have sick days, holiday vacation time, or dash-out on personal errands. In fact, you probably have an easy-to-read dashboard report. The essential work elements of a healthcare website include: Being found online, where prospective ... Read more