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More On the 6 Fundamentals of Healthcare Marketing

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

fundamental building blocks healthcare marketingWhat’s the most effective way to evolve, progress and grow? Take frequent trips back to the basics. Just as professional athletes, artists and actors practice tried-and-true techniques of their crafts to continue honing their skills, healthcare marketers can, and should, do the same. 

Several years back, I wrote an article I continue to share to this day: 6 Proven Ways to Market Any Healthcare Organization. And while marketing changes every day—things like techniques, data, and audience preferences—the fundamentals stay the same. Despite digital and mobile continuing to open new doors for consumers and marketers alike and countless media trends constantly emerging, these fundamentals still hold true for healthcare marketing.

Is It Really That Simple?

Like many readers at this moment, you might be thinking, “It can’t be that simple.” We get it. If you search for “successful healthcare marketing,” you’ll likely get dozens of strategies, and unearth hundreds more the deeper you click. Pretty soon, you’re traveling down a rabbithole of articles, podcasts and how-to videos, unsure where to begin. 

Here’s a tip: Start by grasping these 6 basic principles, and soon you’ll have a solid and manageable foundation from which to operate. 

The Six Fundamental Elements

Professional Referral Marketing 

A reliable and continuing stream of inbound patient referrals from other medical, dental or other professional sources is the lifeblood of many specialty providers. And whether it’s a primary or secondary channel, professional referral sources need to be continually cultivated. Don’t take them for granted. Doctor referrals do not happen by magic or simply because you are a good provider. Success is built upon a well-constructed plan and a system to preserve and grow the flow of professional referrals.

Digital Marketing

From mobile apps and social media platforms to websites and patient portals, digital marketing has become a mainstream channel for marketing, advertising and public relations. With a proven strategy in place, digital campaigns can be highly effective and profitable. Without one, they are a huge waste of time and money.


This is all about standing out from the crowd in a positive way, and it includes virtually everything you do. A powerful, differentiating brand for your healthcare business is part of your reputation. Meaningful and effective branding does not occur without a deliberate effort to shape and express the right message at the right time. (As we’ve said time and time again, it’s about much more than your logo.)

Internal Marketing

This includes all the ways you communicate with people who already know you, primarily present and previous patients. Depending on the nature of your practice or hospital, this influential audience can be a rich resource for referrals, additional services, testimonials and/or word-of-mouth advertising.

External Marketing

These are the media that reach prospective patients that don’t know you. Advertising in newspapers, radio, television, billboards, and more target an audience that needs to know if you can provide an answer for their healthcare needs. Keep in mind though, there’s little margin for error in an external media budget for a measurable return on investment. That is, many of these traditional media executions are more difficult to track and measure.

Public Relations

This heading includes, among other things, planning and generating healthcare publicity and free press exposure, such as newspaper articles or broadcast interviews. The end results look easy, and PR can be a positive and powerful influence. But “free press” typically results from great connections, careful planning, good timing, a clear message and a deliberate effort.

Go Back to the Healthcare Marketing Fundamentals

Whether these fundamentals are a refresher or a moment of awakening, we hope they help. At Healthcare Success, we live by these 6 fundamental elements; organizing our seminar presentations and client marketing plans around them.

If your practice, medical group or hospital could use a partner to bring these elements to life, call us today at 800-656-0907. A full-service marketing and advertising agency with deep experience in digital and social media marketing, we specialize in helping clients win patients, grow revenues, and enhance their reputations. From discovery to targeted and trackable creative, we’ll create a strategic marketing plan that will produce measurable results.

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