cart without horseThe idiom, Don’t put the cart before the horse,” might have originated a couple thousand years ago. And roughly 500 years ago, the expression was a common figure of speech during the Renaissance.

But as recently as last week, the age-old problem of putting things in the wrong order is, quite unfortunately, still alive and well…and wrecking healthcare marketing opportunities.

It’s crazy how often we run headlong into the situation where a new client will confess that they delayed calling our company for marketing help “until they had completed their website.” Innocently enough, they said they “wanted to finish the website before they begin marketing.” (“BEGIN marketing?”)

The only appropriate response to that notion is: “URGH! What were you thinking?” (You’ll recall that “URGH!” is an early 16th century marketing expression of exasperation, annoyance and distress. See also: “bass-ackwards.”)

Here’s the point: Stop! Don’t redo your website. The site needs to be designed around your well-considered marketing strategy, not the other way around. It simply doesn’t work without an overarching plan.

The undesirable results of doing it backwards—you know…the cart-and-horse approach—include wasted resources, having to re-do the site yet another time, and an upside-down (and ineffective) marketing attempt.


  1. Don’t redo your website; not just yet;
  2. Get professional planning help and begin with the building blocks of a marketing plan;
  3. Concurrently, develop a budget, timetable and resources to support the plan;
  4. Plan around the six ways of marketing any healthcare organization:

In today’s healthcare marketing, the Internet—your website and online presence—is the “new front door” for attracting and retaining patients. But the website isn’t an independent and disconnected bit—it is a critical and integrated component of a smart marketing strategy.

And, to extend the equestrian analogy, if you put the cart before the horse, you’re actually stopped in your tracks and you aren’t going anywhere.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

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Stewart Gandolf

Stewart Gandolf

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at Healthcare Success Strategies
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is CEO of Healthcare Success, a medical marketing and health care advertising agency. He is also a frequent writer and speaker. Most importantly, he is happily married and a "rock-n-roll daddy" to two wonderful girls.
Stewart Gandolf
Stewart Gandolf


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