Insights on Healthcare Marketing

The Matrix — “Or” vs. “And”

You’re opening a new office or your practice is adding a new physician or you have added a rapid track for urgent care.  So how do you best communicate this to your patients and referral sources?  Do you send a letter? Or do you run an ad?  Or do you put an announcement on the home page of your Web site? Or do you set aside some time to make personal visits or community presentations?  Life sure would be easy if there was a single, surefire strategy for success or if we had the time and money to do everything thing we want.  However, as we all know too well, we live in a complex world without an “easy button.”  And of course budgets are always tight and so is time.  What works?  The matrix.

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The Gap

Your brand is your promise to deliver a healthcare experience for your patients that is specific and unique to your practice.  You’re essentially making a promise no one else can make.  This requires that you recognize several things: 

  1. What patients want -- both in the functional delivery of care and their emotional relationships with your practice.
  2. An honest evaluation of what you currently provide.
  3. An accurate understanding of what your competitors offer. 

Compare and contrast these three, and the spaces in between are what we marketers call “the gap.” And this gap = your opportunities to build and strengthen your brand.

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First Impressions

From a well-tailored suit to a confident smile to a firm handshake, we all know the power of making a good first impression. And your practice is no different. In today’s competitive medical marketplace, patient choices and expectations are higher than ever before.  

  • Who are the first people your patients see or talk to in your practice?  How well do they represent your brand?
  • What does your current marketing say about you?
  • How do you stand out from the crowd?
  • How do you connect with new patients?  And better yet, what do they say to their friends and family after they leave your office?

Impact.  Are you making a powerful one?

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Smart Patients and the End of the Marcus Welby Era

In their book, YOU The Smart Patient, Michael F. Rozien, M.D., and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., write about the “Marcus Welby era … when physicians were seen as supreme authorities.”  Those days are over, they believe, and I find this to be true as well. Sure, some of the older generation still see physicians as all-knowing, and they are willing to tolerate a non-service oriented practice.  However, our booming younger population comes with an entirely different mentality.  These “Smart Patients” or pro-sumers come to their appointments armed with information they’ve gathered from the Internet (some accurate, some not), and they demand answers and service like never before.

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Five Tips on Using a Web Site to Market Your Practice

By now, most medical practices realize the necessity of a Web site. Without one, you simply do not exist to a large segment of the population.  Here are a few tips on how to make the most of this marketing tool: 

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Why is Healthcare Marketing More Important Now Than Ever?

The idea of medical marketing was an almost novel concept 25 years ago.  Fast forward.  Now, instead of a bold move on the part of a medical practice, marketing has become virtually a necessity to establish and maintain a successful practice.  Here’s why:

  1. Consumers play a greater, more assertive role in decision-making.
  2. Medical excellence and patient service continue to be a focal point of competition.
  3. Technology has made huge inroads into patient care and expectations.
  4. The Baby Boomer Population – need I say more?
  5. The shift in healthcare benefits from employers to individuals.

 Have you embraced marketing in your organization?

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To Retreat or Not to Retreat? Eight Tell-Tale Signs

Not everyone can commit the time or financial investment required for a full planning retreat.  However, depending on your situation, you may not be able to afford NOT to.  At least not if you want to survive in today’s tumultuous environment. So, how do you know when it’s time to hold a retreat to think strategically about your practice and its future?  Here are eight telltale signs:

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Six Things Your Patients Want and One They Don’t

So what do today’s “prosumers” want from their healthcare providers? 

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In Others’ Words

Never underestimate the power of a happy patient.  We all know that “word of mouth” can be our greatest source for referrals.  Now just imagine if you amplify that voice? Patient testimonials, whether in print, video or online, can be one of your best marketing tools.  They allow you to communicate your strengths through the words of others.  They provide you that ever-so-valuable third-party endorsement.  Not just some celebrity or talking head speaking about how great you are, but a REAL patient who had a REAL problem and experienced exceptional care. Want to take it up a notch?  Identify patients in your practice who are: 

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