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Physician Marketing Battles You’ll Never Win (and What to Do Instead)

By Kathy, Senior Marketing Strategist

Boxing glove punching tiny man into backwards flipMany doctors and medical practice executives have their marketing brains on overdrive. They’re looking for new, better, improved and/or more efficient ways to attract new patients and cases.

The marketing and advertising plan (a left-over from last year) isn’t delivering results. The entire competitive landscape has changed, and not for the better. New patients seem to be scarce, reluctant to spend money and/or increasingly resistant to treatments, procedures or services that they need.

Throughout America, medical practices want to know how to stretch their budgets and how to produce maximum measurable results from their marketing and advertising investment. (BTW, if you’re arm wrestling with these or similar challenges, please give us a call. You can unload with us, and, more importantly, we’ll deliver some practical solutions.)

Here are two, no-win “marketing battles” that we hear about with some regularity—and what to do instead:

[bctt tweet="Some marketing forces are immoveable. If you can't change them, use their energy to your own advantage."]The Battle of Chevy Flats vs. Mercedes Heights

“No matter what we do,” a provider complains, “we can’t attract those upscale Mercedes Heights residents to our office in Chevy Flats.” Although these two areas are geographically close to each other, the demographic and psychographic characteristics create an impenetrable marketing barrier. Granted, our mythical Mercedes Heights is home to a desirable, more affluent audience with more buying power.

While buyers (customers/patients) may occasionally shop “up” for services or products, they will rarely shop “down,” especially for healthcare where there’s a perception of lower quality. You may have the fanciest office in Chevy Flats, the mental attitude is that it’s not as attractive as an office in Mercedes Heights.

What to do instead: If Mercedes Heights is home for your ideal patients, one solution is to go to them. Open a secondary, satellite or even a primary office on the Mercedes side of the marketing barrier. Heaping extra slices of budget into marketing and advertising will not change this human behavior. Ultimately, the better use of resources would be in setting up shop where their (real or imagined) perception is to your benefit.

The Battle of Good Months vs. Bad Months

Nearly every business experiences the ups-and-downs of seasonality. The long view picture shows that some periods traditionally and consistently outperform other slices of the calendar. And external advertising and other promotional activities are influenced by seasonality.

For illustration, let’s say the first quarter and the third quarter always produce the most revenue. Intuitively, you want to generate more business in the “low and slow” months of the second and fourth quarters. And, intuitively, you think that’s where you should pump up your marketing efforts. Unfortunately, you intuition is probably wrong.

Most likely, a close analysis will reveal that the slow periods have always been slow for business. Your up or down cycles may be due to vacation or holiday periods, employment patterns or community economic swings. Whatever the reasons, your extra marketing effort isn’t sufficient to offset the larger, root forces of seasonality.

What to do instead: The better alternative is to leverage the upside actively promoting during those periods that already have the strongest energy for the buyer. The specifics in every situation vary, and it may seem counterintuitive at first, but take advantage of your best revenue periods. Successful marketing and advertising in these good months will tend to lift business in other parts of the calendar, even the slower ones.

Confidential Marketing Assessment

If you’d like to talk about these or any other healthcare marketing challenges, please give us a call at 800-656-0907. You can also launch a free, confidential marketing assessment with a click-through to this page. Let’s start a conversation about how ethical, results-based programs can help you avoid mistakes and achieve your business and professional goals.

Kathy Gaughran

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