Even today, professional marketing is surprisingly rare among medical professionals. However, a high potential for increasing profits can be exploited in this area as well through needs-oriented and active marketing.
Doctors often equate their marketing opportunities with flyers, print advertising and their practice sign. However, these instruments are only small components of a complex marketing strategy. Professional marketing is always based on a holistic, entrepreneurial approach that is consistently geared to the needs of the patient. Only in this way is it possible for doctors to win new, high-quality patients effectively and in the long term. Marketing for doctors thus plays an essential role in the long-term success of a practice.
Limits and opportunities of marketing for doctors
Marketing for doctors always pursues the overriding goal of identifying and winning patients and binding them to the respective practice in the long term. Especially in the healthcare market, the general conditions have changed rapidly, both in terms of bureaucracy and in economic and political terms. For example, there is increased competition, there are constantly new services and products, new structures have been established and the course of health policy is also subject to change.
In addition, the Internet ensures that patients today are much better informed, more quality-conscious and more critical. This increases the willingness to switch to another doctor if dissatisfied.
The economic liabilities involved in running a medical practice, such as consumables, salaries or rent, offer little potential for cost reduction. It is therefore essential to increase profits. Medical practices must therefore also be run according to entrepreneurial principles in order to ensure their profitability and success in the long term.
If a medical practice is consistently geared to the needs of its patients, there is an opportunity to also qualitatively optimise internal processes and the practice itself. For example, classifying and categorising target groups is a great help in attracting the desired patients. These can be distinguished, for example, by their insurance status, income bracket or age group. Professional marketing measures can be used to control economic success in a targeted manner.
In the case of doctors, however, there are legal restrictions on communication and advertising measures, and moral integrity and autonomy must always be maintained. Such legal restrictions vary from country to country. Marketing for doctors in Germany (knows as Praxismarketing) will then vary significantly from Marketing for doctors in USA or England. Therefore it is important that when you decide hire marketing agency to consider the local agancies which are aware of local restrictions and know the target group well.
In order to develop targeted strategies for marketing, detailed objectives must be formulated in the first step. In this way, the necessary measures can be implemented and their success monitored.
The different strategies of physician marketing
Doctors have different strategies at their disposal for the alignment of their marketing methods. One of these is the so-called competitive strategy. This can be implemented either as a strategy of differentiation or concentration.
In the differentiation strategy, the attempt is made to create a unique market position for one’s own practice, so that the customers attach great importance to it. This creates an exclusive image of the practice in question, which reduces the price sensitivity of patients and strengthens customer loyalty. However, there is the problem that certain features of differentiation from the competition can be easily copied and price-sensitive customers deterred.
The strategy of concentration can also be pursued. This means that the respective medical practice focuses on a very narrowly defined target group. This can be achieved, for example, through a very localised market or a special service programme. The acquisition of new customers benefits greatly from this approach, but it is then particularly important that the target group also offers sufficient potential.
Ideally, the two approaches should be combined to position the practice or its services on the market in a targeted manner. For example, a practice can offer special opening hours, which in turn are based on the special needs of the desired target group.
Working the market
Once a competitive strategy has been developed, a strategy for market development must be selected. A market penetration strategy, for example, is a good example. This is primarily intended to increase market shares and turnover.