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Your Physician Marketing

Despite the wave of healthcare consumerism which has drastically changed what patients expect and how they make decisions, referring physicians continue to be responsible for a substantial amount of volume. In fact, our studies continually confirm that over half of the clinical volume at academic medical centers comes from physician influence/direction. Yet, most healthcare budgets are focused primarily on consumers. You need to increase your physician marketing budget, and here’s why.

Our By The Numbers: MarCom benchmarking program showed marketing departments reported allocating less than 1% of their total budget to physician marketing. The overall budget (among those who allocated something) was less than $300,000. While there are some exceptions, our experience indicates that so little attention is paid to marketing to physicians and that there’s an overemphasis on outreach. If you’d like to see how you stack up, please participate in this meaningful benchmarking program.

Considerations when making your case for physician relations budgets:

  1. Impart insights: Base your budget request on relevant insights about referrer needs and experiences. The physical relations function should have the resources to lead the effort to optimize the most important tools and resources to referrers.
  2. Reinforce the trifecta: outreach, marketing, and operations – when describing the physician relations’ role.
  3. Show them the data: model claims, CRM, and EMR data. This is possible through NPI linkages.
  4. Think omnichannel: The budget should account for balanced tactics among one-to-one (personal relationship building) and one-to-many (digital). As with consumers, one-to-many tactics such as social media, video, and podcasts influence many younger physicians and shouldn’t be overlooked in the budget.
  5. Track outcomes: A data-driven approach should track KPIs and prioritize budget needs/changes. This includes investing in correctly tracking physician data/tracking information and making sure this information is easily accessible to departments.
  6. Communication/messaging: Find advocates in marketing/clinical practice/HR who have an interest in promoting brand messaging that supports recruitment and retention. Content should be meaningful and engaging.
  7. Service recovery: Demonstrate the number of your saved relationships. This role is often overlooked – there are many relationships that you have recovered. Those relationships have value.

With a little more intentionality and the financial resources to back it up, empowering your marketing teams to reach physicians will grow your clinical volumes and strengthen your relationships with those you need to reach most.

To see how your marketing budget compares to not only your peers but other industries as well, use this comparison calculator to prove your case that your budget as a percentage of revenue doesn’t stack up.


John McKeever MBA

Chief Growth Officer

John McKeever supports leaders who are seeking to make high impact changes in their business, primarily to advance strategies for growth and business optimization.

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