"Medical practice marketers"... the phrase itself sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, doesn't it?
The type of person who pursues marketing as a profession is typically creative – a "big picture" thinker, a "words" person, or what we often talk about as being "right-brained." Typically, science and math weren't their favorite subjects in school.
Then there are the doctors and physicians – the "subject experts." These medical practice pros are typically thought of as logical, linear, math-and-science-types. They think more on the micro-level and are decidedly left-brained. In other words, the strengths and talents of the former are not necessarily shared by the latter, and vice versa.
As a result, you may have a hard time explaining why inbound marketing is so vital to a healthcare practitioner's practice (doesn't everyone just make an appointment when they have an issue?), and you may also struggle to market health-oriented information and solutions effectively if you aren't well-versed on the medical, scientific, and treatment information patients and clients are searching for.
Collaborate with Healthcare Providers to Enhance Medical Practice Marketing
Effective healthcare marketing requires some form of collaboration between marketers and subject experts, but how can you make that happen?
- MEET THEM FACE-TO-FACE
The more personal your connection is, the more likely medical practitioners will be to answer emails, schedule future meetings, or provide the information you seek. Try to schedule face-to-face meetings, if at all possible. If private meetings will be too time consuming, throw together a group coffee talk or schedule deli sandwiches in a conference room so you can introduce yourself and create a more personal relationship with the group-at-large. Think of it as forming your own medical marketing think-tank.
- USE NUMBERS AND FIGURES
After forming a connection, it's important to help doctors understand the value of inbound marketing. A 2002 article from AAFP begins, "Marketing is something of a dirty word among many physicians. Mention it, and they immediately picture that used-car salesman..."
By using numbers and statistics, you can speak a subject expert's language and communicate the genuine efficacy of inbound marketing. Every 21st-century healthcare practitioner has experienced the "joy" of listening to internet-savvy patients self-diagnose themselves, so they already understand that patients go to Google first. A five-minute PowerPoint presentation laden with poignant medical practice marketing factoids (this blog from Referral MD is a good place to start) may be all you need to sway their opinion about inbound marketing and the role it plays in increasing patient health as well as the patient roster.
- "HELP ME HELP YOU"
They may know what people are asking about inside their practice, but you know what people are asking about outside of their practice. Leverage the over-used Jerry McGuire line and help them help you. Educate experts about the types of search phrases and keywords that bring people to their site or are trending on Google, or the types of posts that generate the most comments, shares, likes, et cetera. This can start a brainstorm of questions and concerns patients bring to the practice – the juicy stuff you might not know about but can start researching, blogging about, and marketing towards.
- GIVE THEM THE SPOTLIGHT AND THE MIC
Show the doctors examples of healthcare practices that use a personalized approach with tremendous success, like Boston Children's Hospital's video-based Caregiver Highlights, or Florida Hospital, which quotes specific doctors in almost every blog and then creates links to those doctors' profile pages. See which personalized approach appeals to them and then use it.
While it may be true that a "medical practice marketer" title sounds a bit surprising, by combining creative marketing savvy with input from subject matter experts, you'll find that it's just what the doctor ordered.