Three Wise Dames

Marketing in the Life Science Industry

Make Some Noise! April 26, 2010

Are your customers marketing to their customers?

Every contact or interaction customers have with companies or providers of goods and services, are viewed through our marketing lens. The four ‘P’s’ of marketing shape our perceptions. Attention getting [promotion] efforts must be followed with relevance [product], value [price] and accessibility [place] marketing efforts.

Perception versus Reality

Promotional efforts that are consistent and impactful convey the message that a higher caliber of good or service is available.  Inconsistent, bland and lack of promotion conveys a message that the good or service is not available or of poor quality.  The caliber of a good or service is held in the eye of the beholder, not in the intentions of the provider.

As patients we use the same marketing lens to evaluate our healthcare providers.  Each individual within a practice serves as an ambassador, marketing the care a patient can expect to receive.  All interactions a patient has with the practice staff will influence their perspective on the physician’s business, much the same way the physician is influenced through interactions with product suppliers.

Implementing good practice marketing processes will go a long way towards raising the perceived caliber of the practice and patient care.  A review on practice marketing considerations can be found in Debbie’s post ‘Practice Marketing is Not Rocket Science’.

However, practice marketing processes can only be appreciated by the patient once we go to the practice.  First the patient must know to go.

Which brings us to the question – are your customers marketing to their customers?

Intentional effort must be focused on getting the word out that the practice is interested and ready to serve specific patients.  A bare minimum of key messages to communicate include:

  • ‘We are here and ready to serve’
  • ‘We offer the services that meet your needs’
  • ‘We stay current in specialty training’
  • ‘We are uniquely able to serve patients in our specialty’

These are likely messages that are conveyed to patients in the absence of marketing the practice:

  • ‘We are not interested in new patients’
  • ‘We do not offer new services’
  • ‘We are not current in new techniques’
  • ‘We are indistinguishable from all other practices’

Gracious and respectful interactions, good follow through and high caliber patient care constitute powerful marketing.  Patients will reward physicians for this service through provider loyalty, positive reviews and recommendations, and new patient referrals.  But first, the patient must be inclined to seek the physician, and that requires making some noise.

For another perspective on the same subject read Stewart Gandolph’s post found here:

Next up – what role can industry play in physician practice marketing?

(c) 2010 pH Consulting


4 Responses to “Make Some Noise!”

  1. Paul Hoyle Says:

    Another large aspect of practice marketing which is commonly overlooked is — the office.

    Namely, is is up to date, welcoming, offering assurance and implying success to your patients and visitors. Many practices will spend more time and money on magazines and cable then they will on creating an image that will last as a positive.

    In addition, many offices have been “designed to fail”, in that they are inefficient, confusing and space wasting. These errors will continue to cost the practice for years to come, slowing or even stifling growth and flexibility as needed change is required.

    Medicine and patients have changed greatly in delivery and expectations. Your office is one of your chief marketing tools, offers a first impression and conveys a feeling as to the level of service I can expect.

    Paul Hoyle
    Ignarri-Lummis Architects, LLP

    • Paul;

      You are so right! When visiting my physicians’ offices I look at the surroundings in the waiting area, the front office and the patient treatment/consultation rooms for their ‘curb appeal’, functional work and traffic flow, and cleanliness. Presentation is a big part of a successful practice equation, and does indeed silently shout out the manner in which physicians regards their patients.

      As a practice audit and in preparation for participation in co-branded practice marketing programs in which I’ve been involved, the physician was required to go through their office front door – and experience the first visual impact and staff interaction that their patients experience. Most enter their place of business from a back door – this exercise sets the situation in clearer perspective and creates a place to start.

  2. […] saying so out loud, as discussed in prior posts Practice Marketing is Not Rocket Surgery and Make Some Noise, is essential.  Physicians are accustomed to communicating with patients through a one-on-one […]

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