Don’t Spend a Dime on the “Dogs” of Healthcare Marketing

animated dog with it's arms out, looking to the sky with a "why me" expression Here’s a familiar scenario.

Someone in a rumpled suit drops by your office without an appointment. He tells your receptionist that he is selling a new and amazing marketing service for only $700. It is guaranteed to “get your name out there.”

But here’s the catch: you’ve got to make a decision today, because if you pass, he is going to take it to your competitors.

What should you do?

Copy a list of your competitors, give it to him, and then send him on his merry way. You WANT your competitors wasting their marketing budget on this kind of stuff.

Here’s why.

First, you should know that most healthcare orgainzations are suckers for this kind of thing. It’s only $700, so anyone can afford it. Plus, chances are there is something unique and clever about it, too.

The trouble is, you will never be able to track a single patient to these kinds of efforts. Worse, these things add up, and over time you could actually apply those accumulated wasted dollars toward creating effective marketing campaigns that can bring in real patients (imagine that).

Keep in mind that we don’t have any particular bias toward or against any particular marketing tactic. It is just that after working with thousands of private practices over the years, we have yet to hear one story of a doctor receiving new patients from coffee mugs featuring their practice logo (for example).

Chances are you’ve wasted money on one or more of the following “dogs” of healthcare marketing.

  • Magazine covers
  • Phonebook covers
  • Grocery store bulletin boards
  • Grocery store shopping carts
  • Dunkin donut boxes
  • Restaurant placemats
  • Coffee mugs
  • Plastic pens
  • Placards at events where you are part of a list
  • Skywriting and air banners
  • Sandwich boards
  • Airport advertising
  • In flight magazines (with very rare exceptions)
  • Ads disguised as editorial (unless they are custom written by REAL pros)

Also, the following are “dogs” in terms of return-on-investment, but can make you feel good. Just remember that these are charitable donations, not business-producing marketing strategies.

  • Symphony bulletin ads
  • Church / Synagogue ads (ok if you are highly visible in the organization)
  • Chamber of commerce ads
  • Little league sponsorships

Get the idea?

So take that money you would have blown on marketing “dogs” and invest instead in proven “cash cow” marketing strategies.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer & Creative Director at Healthcare Success
Over the years Stewart has personally marketed and consulted for over 1,457 healthcare clients, ranging from private practices to multi-billion dollar corporations. Additionally, he has marketed a variety of America’s leading companies, including Citicorp, J. Walter Thompson, Grubb & Ellis, Bally Total Fitness, Wells Fargo and Chase Manhattan. Stewart co-founded our company, and today acts as Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director. He is also a frequent author and speaker on the topic of healthcare marketing. His personal accomplishments are supported by a loving wife and two beautiful daughters.



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– Jonathan Calure, MD

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