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Do I Really Need to Actively Market My Medical Practice?
Mark Dengler discusses marketing strategies for the health care industry.
The short answer is, “Yes, absolutely!”
In days past, physicians considered marketing activities to be reserved almost exclusively for the business world and something not to be done aggressively by a medical practice. However, times have indeed changed, and proactive marketing of medical practices has become a necessity.
Competition and consumerism continues to increase in the health care industry. In today’s world, the consumer is encouraged to proactively take responsibility and make decisions. Marketing is a means to educate, brand your services and build patient loyalty. Marketing will help you gain market share and increase revenue, building patient volume. It’s a means to control practice image and
Marketing does not simply involve placing an ad in the yellow pages. It involves a comprehensive plan with multiple marketing activities. These can range from a website launch to sponsorship opportunities to newsletter publication. Marketing is much more than advertising. With advertising, a practice’s goal is to quickly reach a large audience to build awareness. With marketing, the practice is looking to implement activities that address the entire spectrum of the AIDA model. Building Awareness, growing Interest, creating Desire and encouraging Action. All marketing activities need to explain what the practice does, then address how the practice can help the target audience (patients); promote desire with patients, encouraging them to visit the practice; and, finally, push action by addressing how patients should contact the practice. This process defines the complete scope of a typical marketing plan.
As health insurance benefit design continues to move away from first dollar coverage, consumers are going to be looking for value-based providers. Proactive marketing is a means to inform consumers and begin establishing relationships with prospective patients. Marketing will allow you to set realistic expectations and differentiate your practice from others.
Practice marketing needs to be proactively embraced and timely implemented to stay ahead of the practice transformation initiatives already underway in the marketplace.
Mark Dengler is the President of Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS), a full-service marketing and market research firm located at 15 East Genesee Street (Suite 210) in Baldwinsville. RMS Healthcare, a division of RMS, offers focused, health care-specific consulting and research services to health care clients. Contact Dengler at (315) 635-9802 or 1-866-567-5422, or via e-mail at MarkD@RMSresults.com, to see how RMS Healthcare can help you.
MD News November/December 2011, Central New York