The Good and the Bad: Medical Practice Marketing Gift Advice from Our Readers

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

Cookies and a gift box on a tableAs everyone with a holiday shopping list knows, “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” have propelled the season into high gear…including the search for the perfect gift idea for one healthcare practice or hospital to give to a physician’s office.

Our earlier post, Whacky or Wonderful? Making Gift-Giving Memorable in Medical Practice Marketing, challenged medical practice administrators, physician liaison people, practice ambassadors, physicians and hospital marketing executives to contribute the worst and the best of holiday gift ideas given to a doctor’s office. Here are a few of the comments we’ve received so far.

  • “Best a super fine pen; the worst a boring medical book.” Lynell du Preez
  • “The best gift I’ve seen was a paid dinner cruise. Worst gift…a fruitcake.” Annamarie Albanese, MSM
  • “The evergreen tree seedlings (with a side of chocolate ornaments) were outstanding and eco-friendly. They came in a plastic tube with instructions for planting a tree.”

With a tip of our hat to gift-giving guru Chris Duke, Co-Founder, Anna’s Gourmet Goodies in Raleigh-Durham, NC, here are some tips you might consider when thinking about gifts for building relationships and saying “Thanks.” Chris writes:

  1. Be careful with ‘baskets’ to an office—especially those from the warehouse stores. Sometimes it looks like a big quantity, but does not really have enough to share. (This happened to me once. There was barely enough in each package to get a good taste.)
  2. Variety is great, but watch out for things that are too far off the traditional flavor category. It is generally best to follow the 80/20 rule and send something most people will like.
  3. Be sure that the name and address are correct. This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve corrected this on an order. There’s nothing worse than sending a gift to either the wrong address or with a spelling error in the person’s name.
  4. Ship the package. Personal delivery (directly from you or someone in your office) can work, but it can also be awkward, especially if the reaction is not what you are expecting.
  5. If you are stressed about breaking the budget with holiday gifts, consider spreading them out during the year. Sending a birthday gift to a referring practitioner during the year will be more visible, more memorable and it helps even-out the expense.

And this note from David McGrath, Practice Manager at Pediatric Dentistry of Clifton Park (NY). “Be aware that practices that participate with government programs (Medicaid) may be prohibited by law from accepting gifts. We encourage practices to send a donation to a local food bank in our name rather than sending us a gift basket.”

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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