This is a distilled version of “Healthcare Marketing: 8 Strategies to Accomplish More with Less“. This is for those of you who don’t think Healthcare Marketing applies to you….
On everybody’s radar today is dollars generated versus dollars spent. The question everybody is asking is how we can do more of the former with less of the latter. If there were one magic answer, everybody would be doing it. Well, there are answers, they’re not magic, they may not be easy, but they work.
- The single most important and most obvious way to do more with less is to make sure you have a marketing plan in place. Trying “this” today and “that” tomorrow will only work if message and your target audience happen to intersect by accident. Targeting a specific audience through a specific medium or media with a specific message with a specific plan to track results and a specific measurement of success is the key. Yes it can be a lot of work, but it’s the only way to determine what works and what doesn’t. Not everything will be successful, but the only way to know is to target, to communicate and to track as best you can.
- Consider client sources. Marketing directly to clients helps but going directly to referral sources is even better? I’m pretty sure clients aren’t lining up like the day after Thanksgiving at the front desk of your facility to buy your holiday bargains. They seek you out in hopes that you can solve their problem. Answer this question: “Where do they get the information which leads them to you?” If you have the answer to this question, then you have the target you should be directing your messages toward.
- Look at your farm system. As a slightly fanatical Steelers and Penguins fan, I can’t help but consider what successful sports franchises are doing. Today’s younger employees are tomorrow’s mid level management and somewhere down the road will be executives. Different stages of a career are target audiences, but also guaranteed to grow to the next target audience. Do you have a plan in place to carry your clients through the changes in theirs careers? Conversely, do you have a plan in place to bring the best up and coming talent to you organization? Better talent will bring fans to your stadium. How are you attracting that future talent?
- Better customer relations leads to word-of-mouth marketing, which is the least expensive but most powerful form of marketing. In a climate where many clients feel like the next person in line, the provider/client relationship is more critical than ever. Take care of the details with your clients. Do you really know anything about their families, or birthdays, or anniversaries, or alma mater? There is great CRM tool out there. If you need help in that area, contact me today!
- Look at the structure your message and how it’s being delivered. It’s great that you just spent a pile of cash on the latest technology, but the harsh truth is that nobody cares. Clients cannot develop a relationship with a machine (although there are times when my wife thinks my laptop and I have something special going). Instead of bragging about your latest equipment, focus on its benefit to your clients. “We will increase your annual productivity by 230 house by helping you accomplish in five minutes what currently takes you an hour.” That sounds better doesn’t it? You haven’t mentioned the equipment and have already solved the problem. Don’t forget to throw in something to convince them that they can believe what you are telling them. Finally, convince them why their experience with you will be much better than their experience with the next facility that may be making the same claim.
- Leverage the knowledge bases of your most trusted vendors. Your relationship with your vendors is just as important as your relationships with clients. I am one of those vendors, but there are several out there like me (well, not just like me because I am The Solutionist). With years of experience under our belts, a good vendor can be a good consultant and a good insurance policy by steering you around the rocks that lie beneath the surface. The key is to leverage a vendor you trust and can bring multiple solutions to the table The better your relationship with your vendor, the more your vendor will want to help.
- Billboards are effective, but the way you are buying may be a way to do more with less. Billboards consist of two distinctly separate items. One is the rental of the board space itself and the second is the poster or vinyl. Many advertisers don’t know that they two are separate. The companies that show up in your office own the board itself, but also, in most cases, they will subcontract the visual to the same place as a vinyl broker would, but with a higher markup. Ask your billboard company to break out the vinyl printing from the contract.
- Social Media Marketing or Web 2.0 is new to a lot of marketing departments. You hear about it, you understand a little, but you can’t wrap your brain around it. Do not discount its effectiveness because you don’t understand it. It can be fairly inexpensive or fairly elaborate. One thing is for sure; it’s not going away. Effectively combining the reach of your website, your blog, and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and a strategy to utilize the above is becoming increasingly effective. Throw in the power of relationship marketing direct mail and PURLs (Personal URLs), you can create an information stream which can turn target marketing into bull’s-eye marketing.
The bottom line is that effective marketing is an investment and not an expense. There are forms of marketing that will allow you to do more with less. Effective marketing is not to be confused with cheaper marketing. If your marketing strategy is effective and you can prove that with tracking, then there isn’t any reason you wouldn’t want to do more.