Why Medical Practice Marketing Begins with a “People Strategy”

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

seth godinMost of Seth Godin’s business books are little. He’s written more than a dozen best sellers that are tight and tiny, easy-to-read packages of advice for entrepreneurs and business.

Although his observations are not particularly about medical practice marketing, sometimes he hits a homerun in our ballpark. Incidentally, we have no business connection with Seth Godin to disclose, except for a measure of admiration for his ability to express a vital marketing idea in just a few words.

One such precisely presented idea can be found in his recent blog post—a mere 150 words—titled: Do you have a people strategy? In summary, Godin makes the point that a small business—picture an insurance agency—does not need a “telephone strategy.”

Even for a company that is heavily telephone reliant, “The telephone is a tool,” he observes, “a simple medium, and its only purpose is to connect us to interested human beings.” He could be talking about doctor marketing for an individual practitioner, a hospital or a multi-disciplinary healthcare delivery system.

Godin also mentions email, Internet and social media and concludes: “All of these media are conduits, [and] behind each of the tools is a person. Do you have a story to tell that person? An engagement or a benefit to offer them? Figure out the people part and the technology gets a whole lot simpler.”

He’s saying that these are not isolated channels. If you overlay the concepts of “patient experience” and “patient satisfaction” while reading his insightful post [here] the medical practice marketing implications are apparent. A takeaway that we recognize is that your medical practice branding message needs to be determined first, and consistently delivered across the board via your marketing plan, doctor advertising and in-office patient interaction.

What comes from first having a “People Strategy” in place is that implementation tools flow naturally when the overall objectives are clearly stated and understood throughout the office. This perspective brings the patient to center stage. The media or process steps are only the means—a conduit and not an isolated end game.

The results can also include better alignment of the “brand promise” with the actual patient experience, including an actively engaged patient relationship, improved telephone (and other media) rapport, better physician-patient communications, greater retention and increased patient referrals.

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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