7 Folklore Concepts Doctor Marketing Firms Need to Debunk
We are fortunate in that most of our prospective clients are already successful doctors. Universally, they are smart doctors, excel at their profession, and they understand that there is a difference between marketing and advertising.
Generally, these are doctors who want the help of a professional marketing firm to attract new patients, maintain their market share, and/or to achieve new business objectives they’ve set for themselves.
They also recognize—realistically—that while medicine is a profession, health care is a business. And it’s a sound business decision to enlist the support of a marketing firm to partner in growing the provider practice.
Nevertheless, some “old school” marketing tales refuse to die, and for any doctor-marketing firm, part of the work is to educate, inform and to navigate away from trouble-making folklore. Here are a few common misconceptions:
Advertising and Marketing are the same thing. We often hear these terms used interchangeably. They may be kissing cousins, but the difference is important to understand. Marketing is an umbrella term for a range of controlled business activities (including advertising) that ultimately connect the seller with the buyer. Advertising—one of many marketing tools—is a paid promotional and persuasive message.
Doctors attract new patients by just being really good at what they do. We call this one “the good doctor illusion.” Having great clinical skills is a valuable asset, but it’s no assurance that new business will beat a path to your door. No matter how often you’ve heard it, recognize a foolishness when you hear it, and set a practical doctor marketing plan of action instead.
No marketing firm needed here; I can do it all myself. Reality check: Achieving meaningful growth goals—success by any serious measure—requires more time, effort and specialized skills than a busy physician and/or office staff can provide. If it looks easy, you don’t have all the facts.
I know my competitor(s); we went to school together. Professional colleagues and social acquaintances can be friendly in the halls and on the golf course. But in business, competitors are still competitors. They (and others) are probably working hard to win their own success, in part, at your expense. Competition is probably worse than you thought.
We’re proud to serve everyone in the entire area. Targeting “everyone” and “everywhere” is a certain path to reaching no one consistently or effectively. Part of the work of a skilled marketing firm is to present a specific message to a precisely defined audience. There can be more than one audience and more than one message.
We can’t afford a marketing firm for doctors. Within this notion is the assumption that marketing is purely a one-way, outbound expense. In reality, marketing is a business investment that produces quantifiable results. Success in marketing is measured by Return-on-Investment (ROI). Think profit center, not cost.
We’re covered; our website says it all. Often, this folklore is a two-headed beast. First, a healthcare website is a valuable promotional cornerstone, but it’s one part of a broader marketing plan. And second, the often unspoken assumption is “if I build it, they will come.” The reality is that a doctor marketing firm will craft a plan based on several, constantly moving parts. (By the way, is that the website that your sister-in-law built for you a few years ago?)
We could continue. Marketing fables and falsehoods gain believability because they are often repeated. Doctors should take the advice of a qualified and experienced firm, and devise and follow a well-considered marketing plan. We’re available to help you with that.
What would you add to this list?