Indecision and Inaction: Deadly Sin Dream-Killers of Healthcare Marketing

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

[Series Installment: How to Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Healthcare Marketing — Deadly Sins #3 and #4: From the Healthcare Success Educational library]

7 deadly marketing sinsThere’s a dream-killer, of sorts, on the loose in some corners of healthcare marketing.

Success and opportunity more often meet their demise from indecision and inaction than from doing the wrong thing. Admittedly, it’s impossible to quantify what never happened. But two of the Seven Deadly Sins—Analysis Paralysis and Decisions by Committee—are probably the biggest (and most frustrating) of all the dream killers.

Here’s how to recognize the symptoms and how to avoid these classic mistakes.

You don’t have to be great to get started, but you’ve got to get started to be great.

Analysis Paralysis is often a by-product of risk and the fear of failure. Doctors and other healthcare providers prefer solid, evidence-based science in their decision-making. Healthcare marketing and advertising is less of a science, and for some practitioners and executives, they are hesitant to begin without further—much further—consideration.

We’re all in favor of proper planning, careful analysis, and minimizing risks. But eventually, it’s time to begin. The first step in avoiding this pitfall is to recognize the problem. Allow a reasonable—but near term—action deadline and stick to it.

In doing so, two safety valves are available: Testing the marketing concept before full-scale rollout helps reduce risk. And secondly, you can always modify your marketing effort when refinements and improvements warrant.

Marketing Decisions by Committee is a close relative to non-stop analysis. Among any group of stakeholders, there’s bound to be a range of opinions, ideas and perspectives. When the topic is marketing and advertising, everyone has at least two-cents to contribute. Unfortunately, “unanimous agreement” almost never attends the marketing committee meetings.

Avoiding this problem may require some political delicacy, but recognize that someone needs to be responsible for making decisions and taking action. Let all voices be heard, but avoid a watered down plan that pleases everyone but achieves little or nothing in the process.

A big part of the solution is to empower the “chairman” or “marketing director” to drive the process forward and to achieve the intended goals on behalf of the group. The committee can evaluate the results.

Reality—the quantifiable and tangible measure of success—is a product of dreams, decisions and actions. Don’t let your plans and goals become the victim of indecision, misdirection or inaction.

Watch for more articles in this continuing series. You’ll find our Deadly Sins Infographic here.  And click through via this link to download our free White Paper: How to Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Healthcare Marketing.

Lonnie Hirsch

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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