4 Money-Wasting Marketing Mistakes That Doctors and Hospitals Make Everyday

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

Although some risk is inherent in healthcare marketing and advertising, smart planning and creative execution can minimize problems and maximize return. But while risks are manageable, money-wasting mistakes are a different animal.

Over the years, we’ve encountered all kinds of mistakes; more than we have space to list here. But, if there’s a silver lining here, money-wasting faux pas are often cured with a dose of education and training.

From the individual provider to the largest health system, here are four medical advertising mistakes that doctors and hospitals make everyday…and what to do about them.

  • Fail: Understanding the difference between direct response and name recognition advertising – Advertising for the sole purpose of name recognition or brand awareness is often an appealing, but expensive, proposition. Somehow it feels “safe” and “non-intrusive” to “get our name out there.” But few healthcare advertisers have the required deep pockets or ability to wait. Direct response advertising simply works better, particularly when marketing resources are constrained. In short, it is the more appropriate and effective solution for reaching patients and producing immediate, measurable results.
  • Fail: Understanding Media Integration and Advertising Synergy – Results-driven healthcare marketing is seldom a singular solution. It requires the proper blend of six basic ingredients. The money-wasting mistake occurs when these elements fail to work together in a fully integrated plan to produce greater—synergistic—results. For more: There Are Six, and Only Six, Ways to Market Any Healthcare Organization.
  • Fail: Understanding and Using Tracking to Increase Revenue – It is essential to know what’s working and what’s not working. Without a reliable and quantifiable system for tracking the source of new patients and/or revenue, there’s no definitive measure of results. Although this is easily understood, tracking is also easily neglected…and your marketing program is flying blind. For more: How Tracking Increases Revenue.
  • Fail: Understanding Staff Training for Call Conversion – Masterful advertising and marketing campaigns have been sunk when the office staff—whoever is responsible for answering the call—has not been trained to handle the inbound inquiry and convert the call to a committed, new patient appointment. The advertising budget is wasted and the new revenue opportunity is lost. For more: How to Destroy Your Medical Practice Marketing New Business in One Easy Step.

For more about identifying and navigating around classic mistakes—and discovering opportunities for success—revisit these fundamentals of medical marketing: A Fresh Look at the 7 Ps of Healthcare Marketing.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

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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