Marketing Audit and Plan: Avoiding Death by a Thousand Cuts

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

shutterstock_311821454Can you tell me—exactly—how much you are really spending on marketing? It seems like many medical groups and healthcare institutions are not aware that their budgets are out of control. Often, it takes an independent marketing audit and plan to expose the problem.

First of all, these healthcare providers simply do not know how much they are spending. They don’t know where their budget is going. And worse, their Return-on-Investment (ROI) is in red ink.

Probably, this is how things get out of hand. Does this sound familiar to your situation?

  • Several doctors have a soft spot for–and buy into–local charities
  • The office always sponsors golf tournament prizes (and the dinner to follow)
  • Doctors’ pictures appear in the civic theater program ads
  • Someone said the office should give away logo-branded water bottles
  • You renew the annual high school yearbook ad (again)
  • Patients enjoy custom imprinted business card magnets, branded post-it notes, promotional coffee mugs, pocket calendars…and of course, the 22 oz sports bottles with logo.

Consequently, the result is deceptive and divisive. All too often the principals of the practice don’t recognize the muddled misdirection. A fresh marketing audit and plan revealed the problem. There was never a single, calculated decision. A thousand cuts caused the slow (financial) demise of the marketing budget.

Group and institution leaders can balk at a $20,000 per month budget recommendation. In addition, they were unaware that the organization was spending $18,000 on sports bottles and charities.

For another client, an audit revealed a wasteful allocation of $80,000 on (old school) Yellow Pages advertising.

In other situations, charitable donations were incorrectly listed as “marketing expenses.” Consequently, in all instances, the expense produced no results.

Who is watching the store?

Invariably, the primary culprit is neglect. First of all, an independent audit shows the lack of a cohesive marketing plan. It’s prudent business to have a defined plan and budget before you start spending money. As a result, trial-and-error marketing leads to wasted resources.

Instead, a comprehensive marketing plan will empower your goals. Furthermore, it will consider market research, online presence, search engine optimization, digital advertising, media buying, creative efforts, staff training and more.

Specific strategies will also include reputation management, professional referrals, advertising, public relations, internal marketing, branding, and tracking and metrics.

Hence the starting point for success is an unbiased audit and comprehensive marketing plan. If your group practice or healthcare organization needs objective, professional and experienced help, please call us at 800-656-0907. Let’s get started today. 

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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