By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
What Separates Powerful Doctor Marketing Materials From Everything Else?
As present-day healthcare delivery has reinvented itself, nearly every doctor and medical practice has—in one form or another—a stash of marketing materials. There’s too much competition among providers and institutions to be without “something” that (hopefully) gets results.
Clarity of Purpose…
Physician groups, imaging centers, and other health care providers all have specific business goals. Generally, a comprehensive marketing program is intended to:
- Attract new patients or referral partners
- Retain existing patients
- Increase revenue
- Protect or expand market share
- Establish, revitalize or expand brand/brand awareness
Tools in the toolbox…
There are dozens of forms of materials available in the communications toolbox to achieve these goals. A few of the most familiar types include:
- Broadcast commercials for radio or television
- Internal messaging, videos, posters, newsletters
- Internet platforms ranging from website to Pay-Per-Click to social media
- Outdoor advertising via billboards, bus cards, signage
- Print ads for newspaper or magazines
Good, bad, ugly…
At the risk of oversimplifying, the majority of doctor marketing materials that we see tend to group into three categories:
Powerful and effective = measurable and quantifiable Return-on-Investment
Adequate and ordinary = “feels good,” doesn’t offend, but doesn’t produce
Ineffective or potentially harmful = wasted resources and tarnished reputation
Everyone wants to push to the top of the ladder and utilize communications resources that successfully market to patients and generate new revenue. Business guru and ad industry pioneer Leo Burnett captured the essential idea: “Advertising says to people, ‘Here’s what we’ve got. Here’s what it will do for you. Here’s how to get it.’”
The five-point framework…
There is a fundamental framework that supports virtually all doctor marketing materials. All five of these core considerations must be addressed and answered in a way that they work together consistently:
Definition of purpose: What is the objective; what is the marketing material intended to achieve?
Primary audience benefit: How are you answering a problem or need of the customer/patient? What is the unique value that you deliver to them?
Target audience identification: Precisely and specifically, whom do you want to reach?
Response channel: What do you want the audience to do? What response do you want?
Brand consistency: How does this marketing material help express your branding message?
Powerful qualities of distinction…
Moving from “adequate” to “powerful” requires an injection of creativity and experience based on what works. Creativity is more difficult to define, but it often grows from experience…knowing what works and drawing on proven, “best practice” concepts. Overlaying the fundamentals listed above, the ingredients necessary for success—beginning with Leo Burnett’s essentials—include:
“Here’s what we’ve got.” Powerful advertising will laser-focus on a single idea, service or value. Keep it brief and on-target to avoid clutter, confusion or distraction.
“Here’s what it will do for you.” Customers, buyers, patients don’t care about you or, for that matter, your product or service. Universally, what appeals to them is “what’s in it for them.” Communicate this in understandable, non-technical, “people speak” language.
“Here’s how to get it.” Powerful marketing materials inspire interest and evoke action. Provide a clear Call-to-Action that directs the next step to acquire the desired benefit.
Command attention. Effective marketing materials engage the individual with a strong idea. Their involvement, or mental investment, makes it memorable and actionable. Conversely, marketing materials that never get noticed are guaranteed to produce no results or response.
Honesty and believability. Healthcare and medical practice audiences want reliable and authoritative information and resources. Play to the strengths behind authoritative and reliable information.
One final caution…
You are not the audience. Avoid the classic mistake of thinking that what you like is right for your audience. By definition, the provider is not the patient. An independent perspective is often a better judge, and we’d be pleased to assist.
Powerful doctor marketing material effectively communicates ideas, gets more new patients and/or achieves planned objectives. Examples of powerful marketing materials for doctors are available for review here on our website. And if we can help you with plans or projects that answer the competition, protect your professional reputation and grow your practice, please call us today.