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The Classic Dilemma: Equipment Expense or Marketing Investment?

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

questionsSo…there I was chatting with a physician-client who had budgeted a five-figure allowance for a piece of new equipment. He was rather excited about the sophisticated medical gear, much like some people look forward to the next-gen iPad or next year’s flashy sports car.

He was equally excited about the new Marketing Plan that I had developed for him. The trouble was, he had growth goals (and serious competition), but had not budgeted for marketing. His dilemma was: “Do I get the equipment or execute the Marketing Plan? What’s my priority?”

I’m a marketing guy, and you can probably guess my answer, but here’s the rationale…

The new equipment would help him as a physician in dealing with patient problems. And that’s indeed a worthy goal. But simply having the hardware does not attract new patients (or revenue) through the door. (In fact, he would need marketing to promote the benefits of the equipment in a way that attracted the prospective patients.) The purpose of the Marketing Plan is to bring new, quality patients to the practice.

The answer, he agreed, was to implement the Marketing Plan first. And in short order, the marketing effort generated additional revenue and profits. He subsequently did acquire the new equipment, but from a stronger financial footing. What’s more, his practice was a healthier business because he put the marketing investment ahead of the equipment expense.

In retrospect, the priority here seems obvious. But you would be surprised how often we hear about underutilized medical equipment…and more than a few flashy sports cars sitting in the garage without fuel.

If you’re looking for an objective sounding board for an issue like this, connect through the Healthcare Success website.

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