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

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

animated dog with it's arms out, looking to the sky with a "why me" expressionHere’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 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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