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How to Squander $1,000 on a Marketing Turkey (or Not)

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Young woman looking into wallet and watching money fly awayThere’s probably a good reason that the Fed discontinued high-denomination currency nearly 50 years ago. It may be because some well-intended healthcare practices are actually throwing money out the window.

What’s worse, their budget is modest in the first place, and they can ill-afford a marketing budget squander of $1,000 in exchange for…nothing really. Here’s what you need to know about precious resources and a too-good-to-be-true marketing turkey.

An attractive price point squanders a marketing budget…

Often, we discover this budget drain when healthcare providers or business managers come to us for help. It turns out that they bought into a low-ball price point for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or other supposedly ongoing services. The promise that they bought was that a sketchy SEO service bureau would “do it all” for only $1,000. (Or was it $1,000 per month?)

A $1,000 price point is evidently easy to sell. Some people are willing to accept an idea that’s just too good to be true. They come to discover—sometimes with our assistance—that someone is taking their money and providing nothing in return. It’s alarming, but all too often, this shady business proposition works like this:

  • It “sounds affordable.” There is no practical understanding of specific goals or a measurable Return-on-Investment. What is the ROI, and how will it be quantified and measured?
  • A low-ball price point is an easy sale. When dollars are the only basis for comparison, you may be buying onions instead of apples. Be forewarned, low-ball prices are problematic.
  • If it sounds “too good to be true,” it probably is too good to be true. Admittedly, SEO services can be difficult to evaluate. They are time-intensive, and low-cost promises may be a red-flag warning. If “cheap-and-easy” was the standard, everyone would make that offer.

Understanding “churn” and how to avoid it…

Be aware. There’s an old business joke that says: “You can’t lose a little bit on every sale and make it up in volume.” So if someone proposes a highly attractive, low price point—but provides no specific objectives or defined deliverables—it’s an automatic cautionary red flag. It could be that someone stands ready to take your money but isn’t going to do much in return.

Could be the business term here is “churn” or “churn rate.” The sales proposition—where you need to be wary—is an attrition game. You and others will hopefully agree to buy into the low cost in greater numbers than other subscribers or buyers who have discontinued their service. In this application, churn is not your friend, so take it as a warning.

And then there are refrigerator magnets…

This SEO example is a common $1,000 marketing mistake. Unfortunately, it’s not the only turkey that’s on the loose. Have a red flag ready for the refrigerator magnet sales person. The same goes for the friendly folks hawking imprinted pens or personalized mugs. How about medicine boxes, pill cutters or pretty bottles of branded hand sanitizer gel?

These appealing things often seem to be useful ideas but—first class caution here—they definitely aren’t going to generate new patient appointments. If in doubt, please give us a call. We can help evaluate your proposed expenses. There a good chance we’ll help you avoid squandering $1,000 on a marketing turkey.

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Marketing a healthcare organization can be challenging - even painful if you don't approach it with the right knowledge, tools, and guidance. By reading about mistakes and lessons others have learned the hard way, you can boost your marketing effectiveness and take a shortcut to success. Discover how to avoid these "Seven Deadly Sins". Plus, join over 30,000 of your fellow healthcare providers with a free subscription to our Insight Newsletter.

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