Three Wise Dames

Marketing in the Life Science Industry

Physician, Google Thyself* Part I November 11, 2011

[Republished 11/11/11 to expand on an excellent post from Doximity Advisory Doard memberBryan Vartabedian, MD, is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children’s Hospitaland blogs at 33 charts]

This is the first in a set of posts designed to educate physicians on how their names are being displayed. The education should lead to an evaluation of their current situation and motivation for them to execute basic activities to manage their reputation on-line. Physician Google Thyself Webinar Video on Blip.TV

EDUCATE:

Excellent reputations spread via word of mouth (WOM) has been and is still the most valuable “referral” marketing tool for any physician’s practice. WOM reputations are spread from health care professionals and the family and friends of patients [1].

The transmission vehicle for WOM referral marketing has changed substantially with the widespread availability of the Internet. Rating and reviewing services for restaurants, dry cleaners, hair stylists and other service-based businesses have popped-up all over the Internet (e.g. Yelp). The ability to review service-based business has been added to map and phone directory listings and these reviews are displayed in search engine results (e.g. Google Maps displays reviews from InsiderPages and Yahoo Local).

In addition to general rating services, there are dozens of health care professional directories. These directories purchase lists from medical associations, state licensing boards, and other data aggregators. Clinical specialty organizations (e.g. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons) also publish physician locator services as a benefit of society membership (here’s a directory of directories from MedlinePlus). Healthcare systems, hospitals and insurance companies also maintain on-line directories of service providers in their networks.

The latest entries the internet community are the social media platforms—FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, et Al. These new platforms provide patients with a “global soapbox” on which to tell their story and spread it electronically.

The challenge for health care providers is the lack of control of the content on these services and platforms. Of special concern is the protection of personal health information (PHI) defined by health care privacy laws (HIPAA) [2].

With the current marketing craze around social media, what is a trained health care professional to do? Being aware and managing your on-line reputation is mission critical to maintaining and growing your practice.

Next Up:  Evaluate your situation

Physician Google Thyself Webinar Video on Blip.TV

(C) 2010 eGold Solutions

*************

*Thanks Elizabeth Cooney for the great post title (July 08); great minds think alike.

[1] http://www.hschange.com/CONTENT/1028/1028.pdf

[2] http://mamedicallaw.com/blog/2009/10/19/social-networking-101-for-physicians/

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Practice Marketing is not Rocket Surgery October 17, 2010

Filed under: Debbie,DTC,Physician Preparation — Debbie Donovan @ 2:05 pm
Tags: , ,

[Oct 17, 2011: I just had to re-post after viewing the Hubspot capabilities video–they talk about marketing not being rocket surgery! I’ve consumed many of their helpful inbound marketing resources so check them out.]

There is a fascinating process that converts a consumer with a health problem into a patient whose symptoms have been successfully resolved. Reaching the consumer with the health problem your products can solve is a fun challenge for medical device companies. It’s not rocket surgery–which is to say it is not expensive or complicated.

Many a time the marketing department is told, “just put ads on TV and sales will take off like a rocket.” When considering Lisa’s 6 Criteria for DTC campaign readiness, points 1, 2, and 6 rely heavily on the health care professional trained to perform a branded medical procedure. The burning question is “Are your customers really ready to receive patients?” Here are ways to evaluate customer readiness:

  1. Does the staff understand which patient population will call and what questions they will ask to get more information about the health problem and product?
  2. Do the patients already in the practice know their doctor performs the branded procedure to resolve a health problem they may not have mentioned?
  3. Does the referral community know that their local specialist is trained to treat the health problem with the latest technology?

If all three questions can’t be answered with a solid yes, then there is work to be done at the local trained specialist point of care.  Preparations can and should be simple, inexpensive and easy to implement so there are no excuses for not completing the tasks.

Next up: Simple, inexpensive “must do’s” to prepare a practice for DTC/DTP.

(C) 2011 eGold Solutions; all rights reserved.

Related Information:

Hubspot’s capability video–they talk about rocket surgery

 

Marketing Tool Kits: Easy To Complete Tactics October 1, 2010

From: http://easilyamusedinstitute.blogspot.com/2009/02/that-was-easy.html

Great news. You’ve organized your content and are able to deliver the latest and greatest electronically. So why are your customers STILL not using your tool kit?

Going above and beyond

Providing the template is just part of the effort needed to have customers utilize your marketing tool kit. Most health care providers are busy doing their job–delivering specialized health care services.

Where to begin?

The health care provider is not familiar with marketing strategy or how to implement successful tactics that drive revenue. They have no idea where to start or what vendors to use.  Most have a printer for their business cards and stationery. A few might have mailed a postcard when they changed locations. Some have run print advertisements by enlisting the help of the publication’s art department to create the graphics needed.

“Help me, help you,” Jerry Maguire

From prior experience, your customers may or may not have been satisfied with the creative work by the vendors they used or the ROI from their efforts. Here’s where your company and its great tool kit can really help:

develop a turn key package of tactics for your customer
at a pre-negotiated price!

This allows the tool kit materials you’ve created to ACTUALLY be used by your customers to build their professional reputation and business.

What does turn key look like?

  • Patient brochures personalized with your customer’s logo, photo, bio and contact information $xxx for 1000
  • Direct mail postcards to promote a new procedure to a targeted demographic that is geo-located around the practice $x,xxx for 2,500
  • Practice website or specialized micro-site with pre-written, patient-facing content for a set-up fee of $x,xxx  + $xx/month for hosting

How do you build turn key tactics?

  1. Research and vet vendors that understand practice marketing and how to scale their pricing and customer service for individual health care providers.
  2. After supplying your tool kit, negotiate a preferred price for exclusive offerings and create a sales sheet detailing the turn key package.
  3. Launch the program and introduce the vendor to your sales personnel so they feel comfortable handing off customers that are interested in the turn key package.

It’s a good thing

Just imagine how effective the sales organization will be in getting customers to use the tool kit? They can walk into their accounts with activities that are truly turn key. It should be obvious that the less time your sales team spends on tactical logistics, the more time they have to meet their objectives (admit it, you’ve seen sales personnel get sucked into logistical details only to dump them on the marketing department for completion).

(c) 2010 eGold Solutions

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Marketing Tool Kits: Excellent Content July 28, 2010

Typical advertising mail
Image via Wikipedia

You’ve engaged with branding, advertising, public relations, web and communications firms and/or leveraged internal resources to create highly effective marketing assets. Now, lets get creative on how customers might use them to set up a win-win situation.

1. Assets—creative re-purposing of existing work

An enormous body of work has made the successful journey through legal and regulatory. Without a doubt, you have a treasure chest of assets to re-purpose into a marketing toolkit. Be creative when looking at each asset in its current form and deciding if elements can be combined into a new use.

In a first pass audit of materials include any item:

2. Tool Kit Organization:

A common approach is to organize the elements based on the user of the materials—physician, nurse, and hospital marketing staff. The challenge comes when you realize that most elements can be used by any of these customer groups. As with any marketing activity, the target audience (patient/consumer) should be the focus of the elements contained in the kit. Here’s a common list of channels that can be used to reach the patient and referring health care professional audiences:

  • advertising: print, broadcast, outdoor, on-line (banners, ad words)
  • direct mail: postcard, newsletter, and email copy
  • media relations: releases, backgrounders, b-roll
  • web content: pages, images, downloads, transcribed videos, clinical data
  • educational collateral: brochures, posters, videos, presentations
  • social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

3. Delivery and Maintenance of the Tool Kit

Gone are the days of the clip art on printed pages and so should the material contained on disks. These pieces of paper or DVDs “cement” a marketing moment in time and are not easily modified. To be nimble and stay current, the delivery mechanism for your marketing toolkit needs to be electronic. Creating a website section for the media that includes files to download is a great first step. Now services like Google Docs, DropBox and Box.net allow downloads to be by invitation and tracked. As new material comes out of your development and approval process it can be uploaded upon release and not have to wait for the next disk burning.

Next up:  Easy to complete tactics

(c) 2010 eGold Solutions

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Importance of keeping practice websites current June 30, 2010

All Female Vs. All Male Medical Practices

In Trisha Torrey‘s second post about Men and Modesty she is advising consumers about how to choose physician practices that are staffed entirely by a single gender. This tidbit jumped off the screen:

“That begs the question — just how can you find the all-the-same-gender practices? Ask. When you need an appointment, call the office and ask about staffing. (A note here — the doctor’s website won’t help because you can’t be sure how current it is.)

A list of your staff with photographs becomes a differentiator when attracting modest patients of either gender. This is an interesting aspect to consider when putting together a website. It is also a strong reason to have the capability to make changes yourself so you can keep the site current to accurately represent your practice.

(c) 2010 eGold Solutions

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Is Your Marketing Tool Kit Great? June 16, 2010

Judge a marketing toolkits greatness by the depth and breadth of customer use. Image from:http://www.roomu.net/home-decoration/basic-toolbox.html

In today’s competitive health care environment, life science companies with messages directed toward consumers and patients are expected to provide a marketing toolkit to all their customers. I’ve worked in corporate marketing with product marketing managers and agencies to create amazing tool kits. The sales organizations always embrace these tool kits as a key element of their consultative selling and relationship building with the physician customer. The major challenge is in getting the customers to use them.

A great marketing tool kit needs these three elements to be successfully utilized by the health care provider customer:

  1. Excellent Content
  2. Easy to Complete Tactics
  3. Exemplary Compliance

Over the next few posts I will discuss each element so you can decide if your tool kit is great. But first we should define what a marketing tool kit is:

A collection of materials that can be customized for use by the  health care provider to promote the availability a specific treatment option in their practice.

Next up: How to assemble excellent content.

(C) 2010 eGold Solutions

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Yes, Doctor, This IS a Business April 27, 2010

“Thank you for calling. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  We’re closed from noon to 2 p.m. for lunch. If you have reached this recording during normal business hours, please leave a message. We will get back to you by the next business day.”

That’s the message I keep getting when I try to schedule an appointment with one particular physician.  And I have left several messages with no response.

Under normal circumstances, I would have zero tolerance for this total lack of responsiveness and would simply have called another doctor. But in this case, I have already seen the physician for a particular injury, went through the trouble of getting an MRI and would really like to get the results.

Where’s the Disconnect?

Given the practice’s troubling habit of not responding, I should not have been surprised when I called again this morning only to learn that the phone number had been disconnected.

When will physicians really grasp that they are in business and that to stay in business, they need to start treating patients as their customers?  Ok, I understand that doctors went to medical school, not business school.  Still, somewhere in between anatomy and pharmaceuticals 101, were they not taught that private practice requires more than office space and a listing in the phone book?

Running a successful physician’s practice takes the skills and talents of multiple staff members, from the front desk person who answer the phones to the physicians and nurses who provide the clinical expertise.  The one thing each of these people has in common is their interaction with customers—the practice’s patients.

Basic Customer Service

There is much a physician can learn from studying the successful marketing and customer service standards of other businesses:

  • Return phone calls and emails promptly, and always within 24 hours
  • Provide continual staff training on customer service excellence and how to handle difficult customers in a professional and effective way
  • Provide multiple ways for customers to contact you including phone, email and website

These are a few of the simple fundamentals that physician practices must take seriously, especially in today’s tough economic climate where consumers are judicious in how they spend their money. Mastering the basics is also a prerequisite before a practice can effectively implement a marketing or public relations campaign.

For more information on practice marketing, refer to Lisa’s most recent post and Debbie’s post on ‘Practice Marketing is Not Rocket Science’.

 

 
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