Healthcare Success Axioms: Useful Wisdom From The Book of Medical Marketing

key to wisdomAs we continue to memorialize our collection of medical marketing axioms—for the Big Book of Healthcare Success—we would welcome contributions from you.

ax·i·om   noun /axioms, plural 1. A statement or proposition that is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true

There are thousands of guiding principles that apply to healthcare and hospital marketing, medical practice marketing and advertising and physician marketing, as well as for doctors, healthcare executives from medical centers, health systems, clinics manufacturers, pharmaceuticals and others. These are some of the concepts that we write about, that we teach in our marketing seminars, that we talk about in speaking engagements and present in various forms through the Healthcare Success Educational Division.

For this post we offer a random selection in random order. And we welcome your comments and your contribution of ideas that should be part of the big list.

#1,657: People don’t buy things; they buy the benefits of those things. Be it products or services, the buyer, customer, consumer or patient wants a solution to a problem or an answer to a need. In healthcare, the benefit is some form of personal happiness, such as pain relief. Corollary: Sell benefits, not features.

#0783: Engaging an audience through social media requires an active dialog, more than half of which is listening and learning on your part. A monolog does not lead to an engaging relationship. Plus you miss the greatest value. Corollary: Unless constantly nurtured, nothing is as short-lived as a good customer.

#0004: Return-on-Investment is the only gauge of what’s working. If you are not testing, tracking and calculating ROI, you do not know if your marketing and advertising is successful or wasteful. Accurately determine what’s working and do more of it.

#0552: If it doesn’t sell, it’s not advertising. It may look pretty. It might be award-winning “creative.” Maybe it worked for others. But none of these are valid tests. (See #0004:ROI.)

#321: Irrational, strongly held beliefs of close advisors should be ignored. It doesn’t matter if they don’t like your logo. (Godin) No disrespect intended, but you, your spouse, your staff, your boss, your colleague from medical school, your English-major sister-in-law and your mailman are not the target audience. (Well, the mailman is a possible exception.)

#0601: Ultimately the “Patient Experience” is defined by what the patient thinks and feels. It is not about what you do, try to do or don’t do. Checklists, office policies, training and/or administrative procedures are guideposts, provided that you first put the patient at the center of what you do. Patients are not outsiders to the business—they are our business. (Cleveland Clinic)

#0739: Your share of the market is probably lower than you think. Relying purely on your intuition and experience as a healthcare provider always produces a wrong estimate, usually on the high side. It is likely that there is opportunity to either expand the marketplace or increase your market share.

#0050: Compromise in marketing is almost always a bad idea. Extreme A could work. Extreme B could work. The average of A and B will almost never work. (Godin) This concept also applies to insufficient resources such as time, manpower and/or budget. Corollary: A 50 percent effort normally produces a 150 percent waste.

What would you add to this list? Please contribute your comments and ideas below.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer & Creative Director at Healthcare Success
Over the years Stewart has personally marketed and consulted for over 1,457 healthcare clients, ranging from private practices to multi-billion dollar corporations. Additionally, he has marketed a variety of America’s leading companies, including Citicorp, J. Walter Thompson, Grubb & Ellis, Bally Total Fitness, Wells Fargo and Chase Manhattan. Stewart co-founded our company, and today acts as Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director. He is also a frequent author and speaker on the topic of healthcare marketing. His personal accomplishments are supported by a loving wife and two beautiful daughters.



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“Despite practicing in a hyper-competitive market, our new-patient counts are double what they were for the same time period last year. Hiring Healthcare Success was one of the best business decisions I have ever made.”

– Jonathan Calure, MD