When it comes to marketing, change is constant. Sure, practices can follow marketing strategies that worked in the past, but this does not always guarantee more patient visits. Industries change, strategy needs change, and the way we receive our information is constantly shifting. As a marketer, it’s important to constantly think ‘outside the box’ so you stay ahead of the curve and not behind it.
1) Keep an open mind about your establishment
Different is not wrong, it’s just different. Stay open to new ideas, even if you’re not comfortable with them just yet. A leftfield concept may become your strongest marketing asset. Even if it fails, do not discourage future creative thinking—you need to experiment with what works and what doesn’t to end up with a few homeruns.
2) Encourage collaboration
Group think is powerful (especially when pizza is involved)! Build a creative team within your practice that holds group brainstorms around major marketing initiatives. Or invite everyone to provide feedback around an idea via e-mail. Great ideas usually stem from good ones. Limiting creative direction to only one or two individuals may stunt the creative process and the potential of coming up with something great.
3) Stay informed
Whether you have an MBA in marketing or have only read a few articles online, there’s always room to learn more and get inspired. One of my favorite authors is David Meerman Scott—his book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, provides a great overview of today’s marketing channels and how they can work for your business. Industry blogs are also very informative—HubSpot, Marketo, and Mashable are some of my favorites.
4) Get outside perspective
Creative agencies, marketing firms, and marketing consultants specialize in giving tailored advice and creating customized programs based on your business objectives. Budget will be required, but many times, the expert perspective is worth the investment.
5) Listen and learn
Customers, prospects, and your patient-facing colleagues can provide you with a wealth of information, whether they’re pain points, product or service innovations, or market perspective. To gather these golden nuggets, try conducting focus groups or sending simple online surveys. For your own sales or patient-facing teams, I recommend scheduling casual roundtable discussions that provide ample opportunity to learn what they’re seeing and what they need. This is also a good opportunity to bounce around different campaign ideas, to get their take on which ones may be successful.
‘Business as usual’ can be a safe approach to certain things, but not marketing. It’s important to constantly challenge yourself and your business to think beyond what’s always been done. Remember—to quote one of my favorite lines—it’s not about going, but growing.