By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
The words have variations in meaning depending on the context and application—the health insurance world vs. the medical provider world, for example.
But generally the words relate to “the intensity of medical care being provided by the physician or health care facility.” [McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine] It’s an assessment and evaluation system that physicians, patients, insurance/payors and other professionals use routinely.
But you know all that.
What’s interesting, however, is that there’s a parallel in marketing. How do you know the “right level” for your marketing plan? How you do what’s best? What’s the right amount for budget? What’s your tolerance for risk in reaching out to an audience that doesn’t know you or how you can answer their medical need?
The answer is a bit of a moving target. It changes with circumstances, with the competitive climate, and maybe a few dozen other variables. In the “early days” of healthcare marketing, the answer was…not much was needed. Assertive medical practices might have a half-page Yellow Pages ad. (Anyone remember the Hall of Fame slogan: Let Your Fingers Do the Walking?—circa 1962?)
Fast forward to right now.
This minute, the competition has increased dramatically in recent years. Printed-directory advertising is DOA. It’s tough out there. The sobering business reality is that no one can afford to underestimate or ignore the competition today. It’s a serious challenge to win patients in the face of intense competition. [Free White Paper available.]
Here are four key considerations to finding your right level in marketing:
QUANTIFY YOUR GOALS: The quest for finding the right level of care for your marketing plan doesn’t begin with your budget, it begins with defining your business goals and making a firm commitment to achieving them.
Before healthcare providers and principals attend one of our in-depth seminars, we challenge them to get their arms around quantified business goals and objectives. Some of these include:
- Become more profitable
- Build the organization’s reputation
- Ethically attract cases that reimburse well
- Grow your number of new patients
- Increase revenues
- Increase your cash and ancillary services volume
- Multiply referrals from doctors
- Support new location(s)
- Support new provider(s)
- Win at Internet marketing
- Work smarter not harder
REDUCE RISK: Marketing and advertising—in any business—has no guarantee attached. But drawing on proven, tested and ethical experience is a move to safer ground. Consider what’s been effective for you previously, and reach out for help from highly qualified and experienced healthcare advertising professionals.
BUDGET REALISTICALLY: Recognize that marketing is an investment and not a cost center. More to the point, there’s no better investment than your own business—where a proper Return-on-Investment is progress to your personal, professional and financial goals. You can’t win with an inadequate investment, and a budget that’s too big is a wasteful loss. It’s part art and part science, and you can find a useful worksheet here for establishing a practical, and realistic, marketing budget.
ALIGN GOALS, BUDGET AND TIMELINE: Aggressive business goals rarely happen overnight. And it’s unrealistic to expect a modest budget to produce a Las Vegas jackpot return. So, for example, if your available budget produces a 4:1 ROI (a reasonable rate of return), but doesn’t achieve the entire goal(s), you really have two options. You can increase the budget in order to reach the goal more rapidly, or you can extend the timeline, and target the goal for 12 months or 24 months instead of six.
And a bonus tip…
Business development isn’t a set-and-forget scheme. Successful business owners tend to have some things in common to help assure progress:
- They keep their eye on the goal, with a continuing commitment to meeting or exceeding the goals that they set; and,
- They work their marketing and advertising plan daily, with benchmark reviews in 90 days, six months and 12 months.
Give us a call if you’d like some help with the right level for your healthcare business. We’d be glad to help. And for additional information, click through to these related articles:
- Success Principles for Growing Your Healthcare Business
- Creating a Checklist for Effective Healthcare Marketing
- Why Doctors Can’t Afford Defensive Indifference