“Are you the Super Star In Your Own Backyard? Keep the message of your membership medicine practice local. Know your audience and stop comparing others end to your beginning. Be mindful of the weekly business habits you are forming, read more and consider involvement and marketing where others are not. As one of our favorite books around here says … “Be Weird Until The Rest of the World Catches Up.” For example, for an annual marketing cost of $99-$999, you could become a Swim Team sponsor for a large group of kids and their parents! This is something other businesses in your area have figured out but I never see a Doctor in the advertising group! Examples like this abound and are all around you! These are great “hyper local” opportunities FOR DOCTORS that are missed! They are cost effective, strategic, easy and fun ways to tell families and kids about your medical practice.” ~Editor, The DPC Journal
By Michael Tetreault, Editor
It is fascinating when you look at the parallel of two rising trends in DTC (direct to consumer) healthcare delivery and even subscription-based medicine. Number one, how many business courses and hours Physicians take in medical school and second, where does a Physician get their business advice? The answer is most often, advice from colleagues and other Physicians.
Lets unpack these trends for a moment.
When we asked Physicians in a national poll last year, how many “Business Education” courses and hours did you take in medical school, more than 85% said less than five classes which equaled less than 20-hours!
When you evaluate the trend lines and compare that data point to why some private and subscription-based healthcare practice are failing, it is primarily because of two reasons. First, lack of finances for marketing which leads into the inability to educate and inform the local consumer around the practice about the program(s) and second, lack of business acumen/bad advice from my Physician peers.
Put these two thoughts together and ponder them for a moment.
I love this quote from the book Who Moved My Cheese? where best selling author, Spencer Johnson writes, “See what you’re doing wrong, laugh at it, change and do better.”
Amazing book by the way. If you haven’t read or listened to this book, it is a short read the you won’t regret the time it took to read it. It can really help you in your medical practice!
So the question becomes: What separates a great Medical Practice from the rest?
It turns out, it’s a series of habits that may not be what you expect. So, be mindful of where your insight is coming from, surround yourself with talented and wise business people and start reading more.
Reading? Seriously. That’s the answer?
No, that’s a habit. And it great insight and ideas have been found by Physicians just like you in this space by diving into helpful books that help them go from good to great. And your next question is probably, show me the evidence that a Doctor who reads does better than a Doctor who doesn’t.
We’d be happy to do just that! Consider this … countless interviews over the years with successful Physicians inform us that for one to succeed in membership medicine, you must understand that your audience is overwhelmed. Reaching an overwhelmed audience isn’t great for doctors. Between insurance headaches, EOBs, prescription renewals, etc., the patient of today yearns for simplicity because they are overwhelmed by marketing and noise. Just a few weeks ago (February 2017), we wanted to know ‘What are the attractive character qualities of great physicians in the field of Concierge Medicine and its mass market, cash-only, low monthly fee variant, Direct Primary Care in the marketplace?’ Through our polling, additional supporting interviews with physicians and others, we invariably found echoes of the habits and books that led physicians to their ultimate destination.
“It’s time to find New Cheese.” Hem argued, “But what if there is no Cheese out there? Or even if there is, what if you don’t find it?” “I don’t know,” Haw said. He had asked himself those same questions too many times and felt the fears again that kept him where he was. He asked himself, “Where am I more likely to find Cheese—here or in the Maze?” ― Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life
Nothing can replace the intensity and knowledge that comes from learning about authentic experiences from which other physicians, DocPreneurs and business leaders in healthcare have had in the field of DPC. These experiences inspire others to move forward with their dream of leaving the hamster wheel of medicine or perhaps a contentious group practice or even a hospital environment and pursue their dream of becoming one day, a DocPreneur.
“Leaders Are Readers”: Is Your Membership Medicine Practice [or Program] Full of Patients?
- 63% said … “I Read/Listen to About 1-2 Books Per Month.”
- 32% said … “I Read/Listen to About 2-6 Books Per Month.”
- Less than 5% said … “I do not read/listen to any books for pleasure or business purposes.”
- 11% said … “I have a full patient panel and a vibrant medical practice.”
- 32% said … “I have a half-full patient panel and a growing medical practice.”
- 53% said … “I have a less than half-full patient panel and a lack-luster medical practice.
- Less than 4% said … “Other.”
Furthermore, since 2009 to present, our staff at Concierge Medicine Today and The DPC Journal have been asking, tracking and surveying Physicians about what forms of marketing they find work best to educate new Patients, nurture current Patients, grow their brand and stimulate the local community to respond more positively to their service(s) and increase referrals. The results are as follows:
- 7% use Facebook to grow their business and get new patients.
- 2% use Twitter to grow their business and get new patients.
- 5% use postcards to grow their business and get new patients.
- 5% use a letter alone, to grow their business and get new patients.
- 18% use a letter with a brochure about their business and get new patients.
- 21% say hiring a marketing/PR company that used both online and offline marketing strategies helped grow their business and generate new patients.
- 3% say hiring a business management consultant to organize internal processes grew their business and obtained a few new patients.
- 9% participate in local area networking activities and events.
- 16% say local area advertising combined with low-risk offers helped grow their business; and
- 14% say word of mouth from existing patients helped to grow their business.
What we’ve seen, heard and learned is that way to many doctors don’t know where their marketing map is let alone how to navigate their marketing plan, promotional message or digital reputation. They have no compass that’s guiding them. Where’s true north on your map when at the end of the year you’ve spent more money on administrative typing tasks to submit insurance claims than to get your name out in your local community to tell people about how great of a doctor you are? I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen annual expenditure sheets and tax statement with $2,000 of marketing expenses and $138,000 spent in administrative overhead. Worse yet, I’ve seen no money allotted in past years for any marketing.
Take a moment to reflect on your own actions as a Doctor. Ask yourself:
- How often do I do these things?
- What results have I gotten when I have?
- When things haven’t gone well, how could these approaches have helped?