Healthcare Marketing – Guerrilla Style
I recently gave in an interview with Physicians Practice Magazine about ways doctors can use “guerrilla marketing” tactics to improve the profitability of their medical practices, and the interviewer posed an interesting question.
She asked “Are traditional marketing methods just no longer working?” We didn’t have the time to fully cover the answer to that question in detail so I wanted to cover it here. But first, let’s define “guerrilla marketing.”
Guerrilla marketing is a term coined and defined by Jay Conrad Levinson is his book Guerilla Marketing. Initially guerrilla marketing was perceived as the use of inexpensive unorthodox promotional activities to attract customers and build small business. Now, the term has become descriptive for most any non-traditional marketing method.
Well, what is “guerrilla marketing” as applied to the health care industry?
Well, as applied to the health care industry guerrilla marketing is simply:
– listening to what your prospective patients want
– integrating multiple tactics at once to communicate with your patients
– finding ways to reach your prospective patients that are cost effective
– being flexible and creative in your marketing strategies by acting quickly on opportunities to connect with your prospective patients and outshine your competition
– being committed to marketing as a part of your practice management strategy and not just an attempt at advertising to “get your name out there”
So, are traditional healthcare marketing campaigns obsolete?
First of all, the healthcare industry is changing rapidly and physicians must become more aware of how they are perceived in the marketplace. It is becoming more and more evident that healthcare may become consumer-driven. This will require that practice owners find ways to effectively communicate their value to the patients they want to attract to their practices, and one magazine ad or billboard just won’t cut it. Physicians need a healthcare marketing strategy.
Secondly, successful healthcare marketing is relationship based. That is, establishing relationships that provide value to your target market is essential to building your patient base. People are so over advertised to that they are looking for authenticity. They want to spend their money and resources with people and companies that they can trust. This move towards relationship marketing has been on the horizon for some time, but the explosion of social media use has accelerated the demand and effectiveness of building relationships with your target market.
So although traditional advertising and marketing strategies are not obsolete, they are becoming less effective than in the past. Traditional marketing and advertising campaigns are usually about interrupting your prospective patient and saying “hey look at me, choose me, you want me.” People have learned how to block these kinds of communications out of their mind. Guerrilla marketing or non-traditional marketing says “What do you need? I can meet your need & and I can help you because…”
Guerrilla marketing cannot stand alone. You need traditional methods to support a guerrilla strategy. Today, traditional marketing is integrated to support guerrilla marketing strategies.
To learn more about specific guerrilla marketing strategies you can use to build your medical practice or healthcare organization, check back for Part II: Modern, Effective, and Cheap Ways to Market Your Medical Practice.
Need help developing a healthcare marketing strategy today? Call 888-672-9797 for a free consultation today!