Marketing experts spend countless hours researching the customer to understand wants, needs and behaviors. As a Physician or Medical Practice Administrator, you are tasked with the key business issue of growing the practice, but you can’t grow the practice until you’ve defined the needs of your patients. If you have not yet begun to implement a marketing strategy, you are likely still trying to figure out the best approach for your practice. Sounds like it’s time for some simple market research.
For instance, there has been a lot of talk here and elsewhere about the benefits of developing a web presence for your medical practice using social media, but do you really believe the hype? Maybe not and perhaps this is holding you back. Why not use the people you know, and trust, as a baseline to understand how prospective patients find and commit to new physician relationships?
Poll the People You Know
Start with people outside your practice. Develop a list of questions focused on how these people might approach the problem of finding a new doctor. Pose your questions to a variety of people; young/mature, locals/transplants, low-income/wealthy, those with time on their hands/ those who are extremely busy, those you know well/those you just met.
Use the feedback you received to craft additional questions that are relevant to your practice or specialty and ask your patients for their input. Consider asking about what they would like to hear about from you and what relevant topics they find of interest. This can be as easy as an in-office questionnaire or simply asking for input verbally.
Make sure that you ask your favorite patients and those who may be a bit more difficult to serve. Sometimes the most important feedback comes from those who tend to see the glass as half empty. Most people like to give their opinion and the feedback you gather can be vital to your approach and success.
Talking to Yourself about Yourself is a Short Conversation
Developing your strategy in a vacuum will prove ineffective. For you to be successful, research and then meet the needs of your patients. Above all, listen.
Resist the urge to move forward (or not move at all) based solely upon your biases and misbeliefs . Truly considering the wants, needs and behaviors of those you are trying to reach and incorporating their feedback into your marketing efforts will help you effectively reach and retain the attention of your patients, referring physicians, and the overall community.