By Kathy Roy Gaughran
Senior Marketing Strategist
Medical practices—especially specialty practices that need to be assertive in their marketing efforts—generally have three resource options for marketing talent. Depending on the complexity and goals of the marketing effort, the size of the practice and budget, and other considerations, a medical practice will need to draw upon all three options:
Healthcare Advertising Agency – A full-service agency is an experienced outside resource that is able to provide comprehensive, full-service and ongoing creative and implementation support or provide specialized talent or skills for short-term needs.
Practice Representative or Liaison – This is a full-time staff position responsible for relationship with referring physicians and practices, and maintaining and growing the professional referral stream. An experienced practice rep and referral system are essential requirements for referral-dependent practices.
Staff “Marketing Person” – Titles vary, but this is an internal position with full-time (or near-full-time) responsibility for oversight and execution of the marketing plan. Typically this is a marketing generalist who is able to facilitate and manage the many moving parts of marketing, advertising, branding and public relations.
HIRING A STAFF MARKETING PERSON: The success or failure of hiring an in-house marketing person depends largely on how you define the job and the expectations that apply to that position.
- Create a position description with clear objectives supporting clear goals. Avoid the classic assumption that the “marketing position” is able to deliver a complete spectrum of services and handle virtually anything/everything from plan administration to creative copywriting, to building doctor referrals to “fixing the website.” Focus on the best use of productive skill-sets.
- Hire for the primary skill sets that enable the position. Hiring for in-house marketing-smarts is an excellent strategy, and having an experienced generalist enables a solid range of support. That said, focus your hiring and performance expectations around the most important tasks and the skill sets needed to achieve them. Experience in marketing or communications is more critical than medical office experience.
- Marketing Communications vs. Business Development. There are generally two types of “marketing people.” The Marketing Communications category is typically responsible for creating and administering plan items such as brochures, news releases, social media and Internet content and brand execution. The second type is Business Development—an entirely different skill set—which is a critical sales role responsible for the inbound professional referral system.
- Hire or promote only for the right reasons. Avoid the temptation of filling a position out of convenience. Don’t promote someone on staff to “fill their time” or in the hope they’ll “grow into it,” or hire because your neighbor’s cousin graduated with an English degree. Instead, identify and recruit the best talent available, expect and reward excellence in job performance.
The secret to retaining good marketing talent is to be guided by—and hire for—a well-defined position description that describes duties, responsibilities, deliverables and expectations. The “anything and everything” and shifting expectations part quickly undermines relationships.
Conversely, employee and employer satisfaction grow quickly from achieving mutually agreed goals and quantifiable results. Let us know if we can help with hiring really good healthcare marketing talent.
And for related reading, see:
- Getting the Best from Your Healthcare Advertising Agency
- 7 Traits of a Highly Successful Physician Liaison. This is What it Takes.
- Your In-House Marketing Person: A Terrific Investment or a Disastrous Mistake?