How to Market Your Medical Practice
The purpose of "How to Market Your Practice" is to give physicians a realist view of what “Marketing Your Practice” is really all about. It will not only explain how important it is to market to payors, referring physicians and the general public but most importantly WHY. It will establish the need for goals and objectives and ways you can reach them. If you are seriously considering marketing your practice, the following information will clarify and answer questions you may have and show you how to get started.
I. Why should you market your practice?
There are many reasons why you may want to consider marketing your practice. Some examples are:
- Gaining market share Increasing revenue
- Building patient volume to add new physician(s)
- Changing patient mix
- Managed Care
- Lower reimbursements
- Addition of a new office location
As you know, the medical industry has changed tremendously over the past years. You can no longer sit back and wait for patients to come to you. Patients are demanding quality care, timely service and most importantly customer satisfaction. In planning for the future of your practice, you must remember it is better to proactive, not reactive.
II. What is the difference between “good marketing” and “advertising”?
There is a major misconception in the medical industry today that “marketing” is “advertising”. There are subtle, tactful ways in which you can use “good marketing” techniques within your practice to market yourself and your services.
- Good Marketing - In creating “good marketing” there are several things that you will need to accomplish. Every good marketing department has to have a Strategic Marketing Plan. A Strategic Marketing Plan is complied of specific goals in which you will define certain objectives and action plans to meet those goals. It will establish not only how you will meet your goals but most important why. It will challenge you to look inside your practice and evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You will analyze your competitors and research the demographic areas that you service. The Plan should focus on tracking results. Results will be the key indicators in defining what is working for your practice and what should be changed. It is also important to understand that marketing is a long-term commitment and you will not see results overnight. A Strategic Marketing Plan is a well thought out, calculated plan that will always have a PURPOSE that relates to a GOAL. Marketing is a way to educate your patients, referring physicians and the community about your practice and its’ services, without “advertising” in the weekend paper.
- Advertising - Advertising is very expensive whether it is print (i.e. newspaper, magazine), TV, radio or billboard, etc. Advertising is a quick, impersonal means of reaching a large demographic audience with a certain message and/or product. You will reach people you may or may not consider as “good patients”. Some people, especially the medical community, may frown upon “advertising” and consider it flashy and unprofessional. It is not to say you shouldn’t implement advertising medians within your marketing effort. However, there is an approach, a time, a place and a reason for doing so.