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Oral Surgery Marketing Mistake: A Cautionary Tale for All

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

caution signAn oral surgeon called us not long ago. He had been referred to us by a friend, another oral maxillofacial surgeon who knows us well. The caller (now a client) told us that he had just fired his in-house marketing person.

He was calling for guidance about not making another wrong hire for his oral surgery marketing program. The problem—and the solution—are not exclusive to oral surgery marketing. It’s an issue that comes up in many professions, medical groups, hospitals, surgicenters and healthcare organizations across the board.

This is a cautionary tale for all. In fact there’s a long article on our website titled: Your In-House Marketing Person: A Terrific Investment or a Disastrous Mistake?, which we authored for CardiovascularBusiness.

You’ll want to read the full article (there’s a link below); the core ideas are the same…

It seems that the practice that called us (a dental surgery group) had hired someone to be their internal marketing person. They expected, generally, for the new hire to create the marketing materials, and to represent the practice generating professional referrals. It turns out that the now-departed individual wasn’t good at either of those two tasks.

But the killer mistake occurred before anyone was hired. There was no clear job description, expectations were vague and there was no system for measuring performance. What’s worse, the two skill sets—creating marketing materials and doing business development—are separate skill sets. One person will not be good at both.

This well-intended exercise was doomed before it began. Creative skills--really good healthcare creative work that’s effective--is better done by experts. And it makes more sense to outsource this expertise when it’s needed. Don’t try to blend it with the sales function of business development.

Moreover, if you intend to take marketing seriously, you have to have clarity of purpose with measurable performance expectations. (Absent these, nobody knows what to do or if the job is getting done.)

The backdrop for this story happens to be oral maxillofacial surgery marketing, but that’s simply a recent example. You can read in detail how this idea applies to other healthcare marketing situations and professions in our longer article here. It’s a matter of knowing what you want to achieve so you know how to hire right for success.

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