Just Say No to Spaghetti Marketing (Follow a Marketing Plan Instead)

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

spaghettiCan you guess what spaghetti marketing is? (A lot of healthcare businesses do it.)

Simply spend a lot of marketing dollars randomly, throw a bunch of “spaghetti” against the wall, and see if anything sticks.

As you might suspect, we are not big fans of spaghetti marketing.
You could throw a lot of spaghetti — actually your hard earned money — against the wall before you ever get anything to stick.

The truth is, under the best of circumstances, marketing a private practice is rarely easy. Competition is at an all time high, and continues to increase each year. Media costs are through the roof. Patients are more cynical and time stressed.

We recommend that, instead of wasting your time and money on more spaghetti marketing, you create a one year marketing plan for your practice.

You should consider your target audience, your competition, the services you want to promote, the cases you want to attract, the image you want to portray, your offer, etc.

Generally, your marketing plan should include some of the following strategic categories:

  • Internal Marketing – Build systems to get more referrals from your patient base
  • Branding – Build and actively shape your reputation so that you stand out from the pack
  • Publicity – Getting free press
  • External Advertising – if appropriate
  • Internet Marketing – You need more than a web site, you need methods to generate traffic
  • Professional Referral Strategies – Extremely important for specialists

Make sure you budget specifically for each month, and include Return-On-Investment (ROI) goals for each individual tactic.

Typically, you will want to initially test a variety of marketing tactics on a smaller, risk-controlled basis, then roll out the winners in a larger way. Remember to evaluate your plan’s success periodically, and make adjustments as required.

By creating and following your marketing plan, you vastly increase your chances of finding some breakthrough successes. And you won’t have to clean up all that spaghetti.

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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