Today I wanted to highlight one of the biggest and most expensive misconceptions in the medical world- the difference between Advertising and Marketing. More importantly, how much money you may be wasting.
Let us not bother with the Dictionary definitions and make this seemingly pedantic topic more palatable. To illustrate the difference, and how it wastes your money every month, I am going to relate this difference to fishing. Yes, fishing.
If There is Water – There Must be Fish
Imagine yourself not as a medical professional, but as a fisherman whose livelihood is predicated on your ability to gather fish. As you travel, you happen upon a stream. Based upon your experiences you rationally surmise, “There is water, thus there must be fish”. For days you drag your net through the water and do not catch a single fish. Defeated you return home to contemplate your failure. Suddenly, it dawns on you. You never once factored in what draws the fish to this stream. You never considered the water temperature, the wind speed, the tides, the migratory pattern of this fish. You just blindly stuck your net into water and hoped for the best. This is Advertising.
Determined to never again be defeated you spend the next two weeks studying the area. You study its predators and its prey. Its inhabitants and its visitors. Its currents and tides. Its migration patterns. You take every factor into consideration and return to the stream only this time you are armed with not only your net, but knowledge and insight.
Suddenly, your net is teeming with fish. Not only are there fish but big fish. Even better, your research allowed you to weed out the little fish (the uninsured, Medicaid, etc). Now, you are not only catching more fish but selling more fish as well. This is Marketing.
The difference? Research.
The reality is that most people assume that if a publication or medium has a large number of readers or listeners then it must have the highest number of potential consumers (patients). There are two distinct flaws in this theory- both of which cost you patients and money.
Flaw #1 is that the Advertising Reps for these mediums know that you believe the aforementioned fallacy and will capitalize on this. They will present you with facts and figures and number of subscribers and total reach and other assorted facts. None of which mean anything. Once they believe they have captivated you with their magic numbers they will reveal to you the cost. The cost of advertising in a major regional publication or newspaper is usually quite high and requires a 3-6 month commitment to advertise. (Biggest scam in the world)
At the end of this 3-6 month period you may have gotten a few patients. Most physicians justify this expense because the reimbursement of the surgery or procedures covered the cost of the advertisement. (This is an ROI misconception that is an entirely separate discussion, but wrong nonetheless.)
Flaw #2 is your return. ”Return” is not ROI but what increased exposure or authority did you get aside from your advertisement? For the thousands of dollars you spent was the publication willing to publish medical information contributed by you that is germane to all of their readers? Probably not. Did the publication allow you to contribute announcements and organic information as a supplement to your ad? Probably not.
Used Car Dealers spend thousands every month advertising in the same publications as you and also do not get to contribute content or editorial either. Is your medical practice the same a Used Car Dealership?
This is why Gold Medical Marketing believes so strongly in demographic and psychographic marketing. Just like the fisherman, you need to know what audience has the highest likelihood of being patients and targeting them with a specific message. Simply sticking your net in the stream is not going to catch you fish.
Furthermore, Gold Medical Marketing believes is a strict quid pro quo relationship with any publication. If the publication wants one of our clients business our client MUST receive something more than a simple ad in the bottom corner of page 14. This arrangement, coupled with the research into the right publications, is what will capture the most patients. Also, this contribution makes for excellent marketing material even after the publication is printed and can be used to create authority on a subject.
Gold Medical Marketing firmly believes in the principles of demographic and psychographic marketing over the traditional broad marketing. Broad and generic marketing strategies have failed time and time again while creative and adaptive marketing strategies have proven effective. No single strategy is effective for your individual practice. Gold Medical Marketing focuses on identifying patient source markets and effectively capturing patients with tailored marketing strategies.
G.M.M brings creative and adaptive ideas to your marketing challenges and increasing your practice’s visibility. We have done exhaustive research into what attracts patients to a practice. Based on this research and our experience we are able to provide you with the most creative ideas in building your patient volume.
CEO and Creative Director Daniel Goldberg has been published in over 20 publications. Daniel has also lectured extensively on the topics of Medical Marketing and Public Relations at some of the countries most esteemed physician conferences, including:
- Becker’s Orthopedic and Spine Conference 2012
- International Society for the Advancement of Spinal Surgery (ISASS) 2013
- OMICS Rhuematology and Orthopedics Conference 2013
- Becker’s Orthopedic and Spine Conference 2013
- Pain Week 2013