Spaghetti Marketing: The Messy Second Deadly Sin

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

spaghetti[Series Installment: How to Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Healthcare Marketing — Deadly Sin # 2: Spaghetti Marketing. From the Healthcare Success Educational library]

The “spaghetti” approach to marketing is much more tragic than funny. All too often we discover the trial-and-error method of throwing marketing strategies against the wall to see what sticks.

Chances are, your competition is the only one that’s laughing.

The frightening thing is that this misguided effort is not limited to a newly minted medical practice. We’ve spotted marinara-stained walls in long-established practices, medical groups and community hospitals.

Without a well-considered and carefully detailed marketing plan, your al dente pasta is only a brutal bite of cash from your budget…plus it’s a waste of time and lost opportunity.

And as a bitter side dish to this failed food fight, we’ve seen many occasions where the provider or decision maker concludes that “nothing sticks,” therefore “marketing doesn’t work for us.” To mix our metaphors, the baby goes out with the pasta sauce, so now add in more lost opportunity, missed goals and no-growth results.

Plan first. Then execute.

To begin, stop with the spaghetti slinging. Ratchet back to the planning board and consider what specific strategies and tactics support your goals and objectives. Tap into the guidance (and considerable experience) of healthcare marketing professionals who know what works and what doesn’t work.

A marketing plan is not a list of random ideas from which you select different concepts to test or combine for trial-and-error experimentation. That is just random, episodic, spaghetti-on-the-wall marketing activity – which is almost always a high-risk prescription for disappointment, frustration and failure.

A marketing plan is a strategic document that is designed to facilitate the achievement of specific business goals and objectives over a specific time period.

The “ready-fire-aim” method will invariably fail. So put aside the temptation to get a fast start, and invest the necessary time and thought in working through the critical elements of a marketing plan. For a detailed look at creating a health care marketing plan, refer to our educational library article here.

Watch for more articles in this continuing series. You can request your copy of our free White Paper: How to Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Healthcare Marketing. And copy and share our Infographic of the same name here.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

Stewart Gandolf
Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.



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