Healthcare Marketing – Part 1 of 3: Overall Marketing and Strategy

The world of healthcare marketing is vast and wide. There are several fundamental areas to review in the marketing process in order to make the most of it.

To do that we will cover three of the processes to help you understand the concepts that will be important.

  • Part 1 - An overall marketing plan and strategy
  • Part 2 - Online and content marketing
  • Part 3 - Social media marketing

No one doubts the transformation in healthcare delivery are changing dramatically. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and more transparency in costs, the physician office is under more pressure to open up to clients, share practical information and closely examine treatment options.

In an in-depth report from Bain & Company, Front Line of Healthcare Report 2015: The Shifting U.S. Healthcare Landscape, to better explain the magnitude of these changes in 2015, Bain & Company conducted a national survey of 632 physicians in several specialties as well as researched 100 hospital procurement administrators in the U.S.

The results were not surprising given the changes across the healthcare landscape, contrary to what the public–and industry–used to believe.

For a long time, conventional wisdom accepted the fact that America’s physicians contributed to the spiraling healthcare costs. The unnecessary tests, expensive drugs and complicated treatment amounted to skyrocketing costs.

We know now things have modified and, as such, so have marketing strategies. We discuss the steps to take when developing your overall marketing plan in light of these changes.

Get the Big Picture

The first thing to do is take a good look at your practice and go back to your business plan. Where do you see your business going or where do you want it to go? This will play a big part in your marketing strategy.

Gather up any previous marketing plans you have created in the past. What worked and what didn’t work? Also, take a look at how your business has changed going back two years. Have you joined new professional organizations? Do you see any “seasonality” in your practice?

Create your marketing plan with these topics in mind:

Create a marketing team in your practice. Be sure an include everyone as your team are the feet on the ground that knows what is going on in your waiting room. Find out where your patients are coming from? How did they find you. This is critical information on building your marketing plan.

What makes your practice different from others that offer the same services? Do you have a particular specialty? Do you offer a different approach to a standard procedure? Have you had success in something where others have not?

Where do you see your practice in the next few years? Like many other industries, it’s a good idea to have a long-term plan. When creating your plan, incorporate a “flow chart” on how you plan to realize this vision. Create a budget, and list the tools you need to achieve this goal such as a direct marketing campaign, graphics, copy writer, promotions.

Line up some speaking engagements: Offer to speak at local organizations, large department stores, set up your own event and be sure to have gift baskets for attendees. Talk to your colleagues in the same field and create a “speakers panel.”

Consider advertising local publications such as weekly newspapers, regional magazines. In addition, offer to write an article about something in your specialty. In this case, write about the health issue, not about your practice. Your name will be all the advertising you need.

• Support local events and sponsor kids sports. Be sure you are known for being generous in donating to local needs. Are there local drives for food pantries or school supplies.

Low-income: Is there a way to support the low-income community in your area? Consider sponsoring a free medical clinic with other physicians in your community for a day. Try to have as many specialties there at the same time.

Segment what you can do “in-house” and what you need to hire outside. Plan a budget around that. What are your internal resources such as mailing lists and brochure content.

Ragan’s Healthcare Communication News, 10 Steps to a successful health care marketing plan,suggest you test your plan internally first. Send a review to internal and professional stakeholders first and get some feedback before you go live.

Track where your calls and new patients are coming from. It’s a good way to measure the most effective approach.

Make sure everyone is on board. One effective way to do that is to give everyone in your office a specific responsibility for the plan. It helps in that team spirit and includes everyone in the success of the project.

When you are ready to write your marketing plan, be sure to check out our latest articles and most importantly, contact us so that we can get you started in the right direction.