This is the final episode of Paradigm Shift of Healthcare. Throughout this podcast series, we’ve shared a lot of advice on healthcare marketing, particularly in the online space. For our final episode, we wanted to share our top advice on online marketing for individual providers and small practices, larger medical organizations, and medtech companies.
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Announcer: It’s time to think differently about healthcare, but how do we keep up? The days of yesterday’s medicine are long gone, and we’re left trying to figure out where to go from here. With all the talk about politics and technology, it can be easy to forget that healthcare is still all about humans. And many of those humans have unbelievable stories to tell. Here, we leave the policy debates to the other guys and focus instead on the people and ideas that are changing the way we address our health. It’s time to navigate the new landscape of healthcare together and hear some amazing stories along the way. Ready for a breath of fresh air? It’s time for your Paradigm Shift.
Michael: Welcome to the Paradigm Shift of Healthcare and thank you for listening to the final episode of the Paradigm Shift of Healthcare. Throughout this podcast series, we’ve been sharing a lot of advice on healthcare marketing and particularly on the online space. And for this final episode, we wanted to share some of our top advice for online marketing for a number of different settings. We’re talking about individual providers and small practices, larger healthcare organizations, whether that’s hospitals or just some large practices, and then actually looking at medtech companies. So today in this final episode, of course, I’ve got Scott Zeitzer here with me.
Scott: Hey there.
Michael: Scott, this is episode 110, two and a half years of podcasting. We’ve been going for it. So here we are, we’re going to kick off with our advice, marketing advice, to these different settings. Here we go.
Scott: And we’re going to throw in a little conversation for the medtech companies too, and the groups that are working with medtech companies. I think that’s a big part of the equation as well. Why don’t we just get started, we’ll go from small practices to large practices, I think. Let’s start with small practices. So we deal with this a lot. We have got a lot of small practices that are dependent upon our loving care and attention. So I think a big thing before you get on the phone with us or with anybody is just having an idea about what’s bothering you about the local market. What’s it look like out there? I think that’s a big thing, Michael, that I always try to get out of the practice because they start with the answers before they start with the whys. I want to be the best Twitterer. Calm down, man. What’s going on? Why are you thinking that? So I definitely think that’s a big part, Michael, don’t you agree?
Michael: It really does make a big difference what tactics you implement first. There are some of the basics and things that we’ve talked about for 109 previous episodes at this point, but making sure that you have your site, making sure you have all those core things, but what are the next steps? Are you really going to excel if you use TikTok or if you use whatever is the latest thing? It’s funny just how quickly some of these things come and go, but being able to look at, it seems like hospital chain is the big one in my area, they specifically talk about this type of procedure and if I can lean into that and be somebody else that does that particular procedure in my area, that can make a big difference.
That totally transforms which things you do, what kind of advertising campaign you’re setting up, what kind of content you’re writing, what you’re putting in those bios on your review sites and all of that kind of stuff. You can get very singular purposed in this process if you think about what you need, instead of just coming up with, I guess I gotta do all these different things. If you’re a solution person [crosstalk 00:03:20].
Scott: Yeah, it could be overwhelming, especially to smaller practices where the office manager is doing everything. And so you’re just trying to get feedback and very busy, but I’m really nervous about, there’s a lot of different ways to attack this before you get on the phone with whomever you start to work with. And I really do think it’s, forget about the technology for a second, that’s my job. That’s our job or whoever you’re working with’s job. It’s really about, hey, is there something that’s bothering you or from getting a tremendous amount of competition or nobody knows that I do X. That happens a lot too. And I wish more people knew that we do this particular procedure or man, I just came back from a conference and I really want to get heavy into doing this. This could be really helpful to my patients. I got to get the word out about whatever that particular procedure is.
We see that a lot more from our regenerative medicine people or interventional pain, et cetera, more in the spine and neuro, but yeah, you get that as well. I think, also, everybody gets focused on the surgery and some of our surgeons are leading the way in terms of reducing the use of opioids, post surgery. I think of Dr. Andrew Wickline and it was like, how do you get the word out about that so that people realize that there’s another way to do this? And I think that can be just as important for the small practice.
Michael: As you’re looking at working with your partner in marketing, and we do recommend some sort of partner in marketing, unless you have somebody that really is trained up specifically in marketing within your office. As you’re looking at working with your partner, coming to the table with your goals outlined, coming and being able to express what you need, and then anything that your marketing partner is suggesting is, how does this help me accomplish my goal? How does this get me closer to my goal? What are the stats that we’re going to look at? What are the ways that we’re going to measure return on an investment to get me closer to that goal? That’s what a good partnership looks like in marketing for practices.
Scott: Yeah. I agree. And Michael, setting some expectations, and this is on both sides, about what success looks like and how to measure it is really helpful. And to that point, we write content for a lot of people. Good, deep content. And I remember when we first started doing this many years ago, you could write the good content and then magically, it appeared within a month. And now we’re telling people, hey, six months to a year. And they always go like, what? And I always laugh, especially if they’re orthopod spine guys, because it’s, “So when you do a total knee for somebody, they’re just jogging the next day?” And they go,”NO!” And it’s like, let me set some… It’s nothing to do with us. I’m just setting the appropriate expectations about when it’s going to be found. This is more about Google than it is about us, but that’s a perfect example of setting appropriate expectations and listening on our part. We listen.
Some of our customers, some of our surgeons will say, I’m good, I’m patient. Most do not. They’re all type A personalities. They’re like, what do we need to do now? And I’d say, here are your options, what you can do to help speed that up or… And a lot of it may be ad placement, et cetera, but it each depends on each area. But setting those goals, setting those expectations, knowing what you’re trying to get done, I agree with you. And then that’s all the way through, I guess that might even be life, but competing with hospital. That’ll help you a lot with small practice against small practice or a small [inaudible 00:06:49] or that kind of thing, but competing with hospitals, Michael, that’s a little bit different. The big gorillas in your area who do have a lot more dollars and… But why don’t you go over what your advice is for practices trying to fight the big gorillas.
Michael: Yeah. I think understanding that any of these different categories that we’re talking about is a pay to play space. Any of the, “just write the content and it’ll magically make everything better for you.” All of that kind of stuff. We’re past that phase in marketing now. So you’re going to have to invest on a regular basis. And it’s not just something where you do that one expense and now you’re done, but it’s going to be a month to month approach. And if you’re putting out dollars every single month to make something happen, you better be able to see if there’s real results. And you’re going to have to really be strategic around where you’re placing that money.
Things like having a good reputation, having some kind of reputation marketing service, where you’re helping gather reviews, helping post them more frequently, but getting very specific around how and why it’s better to see your practice than the hospital. It’s not going to be for every single thing. Don’t come into it being like, we’re the best Colles fractures. You’re not going to be the best experience for every single procedure, for every single circumstance. Lean into the ones where you can truly differentiate, you can truly show a difference to the patient every step of the way. This is how we’re going to help you out with each step of this.
Scott: Yeah. I think that’s a critical thing. I always make that joke about Colles fractures because a lot of orthopods will talk to me and they’ll say, yeah, I just want to be found to for everything. No, you don’t want to be found. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to take care of everybody that walks in your door. I get it, man. No problem. But you do not want to be the number one Colles fracture repair guy or gal. That definitely makes that sense, and don’t get so down so quickly either when it comes to hospitals. I always tell them that hospitals are just big behemoths and so they move slowly and they’ve got to make everybody happy and you can take advantage of that by picking those niches and being more flexible and being more agile about what you’re attacking, how you’re attacking it.
If you’ve got an ambulatory surgical center, man, awesome to talk about and a good way to fight that battle. So there’s a lot of different ways that we fought that, but it is, it’s about getting focused, Michael. I agree with you. What is it that you really want to stand out for? We don’t make websites for every medical practice out there. Could we in theory? Yeah, sure. But, I don’t know, I’ll just pick something out of thin air. If a cardiac surgeon came to us and said, I need a website, we go, cool, we’ll be happy to help you, but be forewarned, we are not experts at this. We don’t know what this looks like. You’re going to have to let us know about that. And that’ll lead into a conversation later in the podcast about who to talk to and how to vet them, but you know what you really want to be great at and you know what you are great at, focus on that. The other stuff will come just as…
Michael: For sure. For sure. So let’s do a quick comparison. I don’t want to necessarily dig too deep into the conversation around how large medical organizations should be marketing themselves. When it comes to hospitals, ASCs, I think that the big things that we know about the things that we can help with is, look, you are trying to protect your brand. You are trying to be consistent across all of those different places. And I think that’s one area that we’ve seen some different organizations that we’ve worked with struggle, is in the management of all the different profiles that are out there. Locations, the physicians, all the different things that go into that and then making sure that you have deep enough content, all of that kind of stuff. So that being said, what about the provider that’s in the healthcare organization? The physician that’s trying to protect her brand as she navigates her career. And maybe she doesn’t want to work at the hospital system forever and forever. What do you [crosstalk 00:10:37]?
Scott: Or doesn’t know. I can’t tell you how many good friends of mine have decided, you know what, man, I’m done. I’m going to go work for the hospital, et cetera. And we have a long conversation about how to protect your brand. And so if you’re a marketing person listening to this, they’re all nodding their head, right? Knowing what I’m talking about. If you’re a surgeon, your brand is you the surgeon. So let’s just say you go to work at a particular hospital and you think, hey man, this is great, this is what I want to do forever. Things may not be the same five years from now. And the hospital is going to focus on making money for the hospital. That doesn’t mean they’re evil or anything like that. Their job is to make money for the hospital. That’s how it works.
And you’re an employee of the hospital. And there’s nothing terrible about that either, but don’t think that the hospitals are staying up late at night, the marketing department at the hospital going, how do we take care of Dr. X? No. It’s how do we take care of marketing for the hospital, and if Dr. X helps us, that’s great. And I go back to, if you’re that doctor, you’re that surgeon, hey man, protecting your brand. Maybe that’s just a small website where you’re not looking to win over everybody, but at least you’re going over who you are, what you’re about and you’re getting indexed by Google regularly. That’s something we talk about quite a bit. And your reputation is important, but that goes back to the hospital system about what you can do from a reputation marketing perspective as well.
Michael: And we’ve very definitely seen different levels of that, where sometimes it’s like the hospital says, hey, if you want to run it, you’re paying for it. Do whatever you want, go for it. But other times it is, we have to make sure everybody’s set up equally and everybody’s got what they need. And it just depends on the, I guess, politics some and [crosstalk 00:12:12].
Scott: It’s the politics some, Michael, and it’s the contract some. So for people who are looking to get into that, carve that out for yourself. I very rarely have seen when it’s requested ahead of time, contract wise, where somebody just balks. It’s usually something where you can say, listen, I just want to have this to protect myself. Very hard for a hospital to get out of that. And there’s nothing that’s very hurtful. You could have links that go back and forth and help everybody. So it’s not a combat situation here, so to speak, it’s not a combative situation. I do want to circle back quickly to that practice, and we deal with quite a few of these where there’s a dozen people in the practice kind of thing. And you were saying, keeping it all consistent. It’s not something to go over, kind of want to get deep into it either.
But I remember when COVID hit and I was having a conversation with a surgeon and the surgeon basically said, wow, this is going to be a lot easier for people that are 50 and larger and three or less. They make decisions about what to do and how to cut back or whether to cut back, et cetera. And I was like, all right, tell me why. But that conversation was along the lines of, you have three of people and you’re going out to dinner and saying, all right, man, what are we going to do? And before dinner’s ended, it’s done. Whatever you going to do. Cut back, stay on target, whatever, just suck it up and pay the person that’s been your office manager forever, that kind of thing.
And if you’re a group of 50 or above, you got a CFO, you got a CIO, blah, blah, blah, that’s their job, you just go get your stuff done and et cetera. It’s for those people in the middle that it’s really hard. That’s where you go back to the marketing, where it’s 10 to 12 people in a group. And I always kid with my good customers, all type A, all with egos. And remember, I’ll say this over and over, you want to be a good surgeon, you better have a good ego. You got a scalpel in your hand, I get it, but it’s hard to get everybody to agree in a room with 12. That’s like herding cats, man. And that’s where I always advise people like, look, why don’t you make it a committee, trust the three people that are really into it and let them do their job and make some decisions. You can yell at them a year later or whatever, but I think it’ll be more helpful.
But getting back to where you need to be consistent, having your office manager be your marketing manager as well is a major league mistake. You will not get it done correctly. It can be done with help from a vendor with two or three people, but man, you really need to cede some control, which I know surgeons listen to this, hey?
Michael: For sure.
Scott: But hey, man, if you’ve got a dozen people in the group in three locations or whatever, you’re really going to have to work as a team and come up with a game plan that makes sense.
Michael: For sure. For sure.
P3 Pro Tip
Hey, Michael here, with your P3 pro tip for the week.
Is it time to get a new website for your practice? We have one rule of thumb that my co-host Scott Zeitzer often uses when talking to practices: what iPhone came out the year your current website was designed? Five years ago may not seem like a very long time, but think about how much technology and smartphones have changed over that timeframe. In fact, at least nine different versions of the iPhone were released over that time period. As mobile technology changes and an increasing amount of people use smartphones to do online searches, your website needs to be able to evolve to work best with changing screen sizes, mobile browser requirements and more.
Michael: So if you’re just joining us, this is the Paradigm Shift of Healthcare, we’re on our last episode. Today, we’re talking through our farewell advice and look, P3 Practice Marketing is still around, come find us, we’ll definitely talk with you.
Scott: Yeah, guys, we’re all still working hard.
Michael: We’re talking through physicians, we’re talking through larger organizations. Scott, we’ve dealt with a lot of medtech companies. We’ve had a lot of conversations-
Scott: I’ve worked for medtech companies, yeah.
Michael: There you go. There you go. So medical device, all of that good stuff. Let’s just jump in. What are some of the things that we see? What are some of the things that we try to advise? I think even on both sides of that equation. So medtech company, and then physician working with the medtech company.
Scott: Right? First of all, having worked for a medtech company, most employees of medtech companies really do love working for their medtech company, really get into the device that’s been developed for the surgeon community and think it’s really a winner. And what happens is these blinders come on. And so they only think about the device. How great this device is, if only more people knew about our new blah, blah, blah, whatever that is. And that’s great, they should be proud of what they’re selling, et cetera. But you got to take that step back for a second.
Scott: The same thing with the surgeon, that’s great that you’re now using the blah, blah blah robotic system. And this happens a lot. We see this a lot. A medtech company says, hey man, you’re now using this device, I got all this material on this device, you can just copy and paste it into your website and you’re done. Okay. Let’s talk about that. First of all, that’s great that you’ve got some information about a particular device or robotic system, but Michael, what does that really do from a Google perspective, before we even get to the next step, which is even more important than Google, convincing patients that this is the right place to go.
Michael: So just the concept of copy paste, I’m assuming that you’re not the only practice that has copy pasted that content in.
Scott: You can assume correctly that the medtech company is trying to get the word out everywhere. Correct.
Michael: If you’re talking about trying to rank for a particular system, and does that help you as a practice system? There are some benefits, but it’s not going to solve your marketing challenges. Let’s put it that way.
Scott: That’s a nice way to put it. So guys, if everybody has the same exact content on 500 websites, your ability to get found on Google is going to be diminished. And then frankly, to the next point, do you want to be known as an expert on that robot or you just want to be known as somebody who’s got it? So it’s not about that copy paste. That’s great that you have it. There’s nothing wrong with having it on the site, but the real win is, as somebody who is reading that as a patient, who would possibly be reading that, how experienced are you with this system? Were you well trained on it? Do you do a lot of these particular procedures? What can I expect? Is it at the ambulatory surgical center? Is it at the hospital? Is it at both? That’s the story we try to tell.
Scott: We take a lot of that content, we intersperse it with some deep content and that’s where the wind comes in. It’s not that robotic system X is something that you use, it’s no, I’m very well versed in this and I use it on the right patients and this is what we can expect and this is why I use it and all that other stuff. That’s the conversation. It’s better. So if you’re the physician, hey, take the free stuff from the medtech company, but then work with your marketing department to figure out how to really use this to the best of your advantage and see… By the way, a lot of medtech companies do co-marketing campaigns and ad campaigns with a… That’s a whole different conversation, but where you can take advantage of the medtech company and it’s a good win-win.
But the next step is get back to your marketing department or marketing vendor and go, all right, I got at this stuff and that’s when the marketing guy goes, that’s great, what are we trying to accomplish here? What kind of patients are we trying to attract, et cetera? And medtech company, guys, it’s not helpful to your surgeons, to your customers to simply give them the content, hit check and say, I’m done, because you’re not. There’s nothing wrong with the medtech company telling the physician what we just said. Here’s some great stuff, but you know what, you should really talk to your marketing department. And I really advise all the medtech companies, either give them just general advice of you need to go find somebody or I don’t know, maybe put together, just like surgeons and all doctors out there have referral partners, get a group together. You don’t have to pick one, get two or three companies that…
Medtech companies have great marketing people working at all the medtech companies. And maybe take the time for some people who are in the direct to patient marketing space at that medtech company and go, hey, every couple of years, we’re going to review what’s out there and we’re just going to give our overview of what’s out there. Look, I get it, the marketing company’s going to have to go talk to legal and all the other stuff about what they need to do, and that’s why it doesn’t happen enough. But you know what, if you take that extra step, you will be valued, medtech company, by the surgeons and the people you work with, your sales force, everybody, for the time that you took and the effort you made to help people, rather than just saying, check, I’m done.
Michael: This is a conversation that we were having internally, and we were talking about how CMO roles are disappearing. Chief marketing officer roles are starting to disappear more and more because they’re being replaced by things like chief experience officer and that customer service slash marketing role and maybe even revenue thrown in there and maybe a dash of this and a pinch of that, whatever else we can get in there. But-
Scott: But very focused, very niche. Yeah.
Michael: But the concept being though, it’s not just about the materials, it’s not just the marketing components that we need. We need the experience of the customer, in this case, the physician, the surgeon, and the great materials going out there. So that mix of I’m providing you with what you need practice, or I’m providing you some of what you need. And then also having that, here’s how we help you take that to the next level. And there are ways to do that, that are out of the med compliant, that are whichever industry compliant that you need to go through. But that is the thing, it’s not just about throw the stuff out there, see what sticks and then move on. That [crosstalk 00:21:17].
Scott: Yeah. And this happened, it was almost like a for all you surgeons out there. It’s a thing that medical device companies and pharma companies worry about quite a bit. They want to make sure they’re being good boys and girls in the sandbox that AdvaMed does not allow you to market practices. And there was this, okay, then I’m not going to do anything. It was like, calm down, man. And this is where it’s good to work with the lawyers. I know, I’ve got a daughter who’s a lawyer. You go get them Kelsey. But the thing is, figure out what’s appropriate. And every company will have a different answer to that. But figure out what’s appropriate. What you can talk about. Usually general advice is perfectly reasonable, but you don’t need to stop at, oh, because of AdvaMed, I can only give you this piece of paper. No, that’s not true because of AdvaMed, I can’t actually market your practice.
I can’t design your website, but I can certainly give good general advice about what to do. And I think finding out what that comfortability is for every particular med device company makes a lot of sense. It will empower the med device company. It will empower the surgeon. It will empower your sales force. We could have a whole… and I’m not doing it, because this is our last one, we could have a whole separate conversation about that and how we’ve done that. But I want to talk a little bit about vendors, right, Michael, that’s something that we should talk about?
Michael: Yeah. There’s in all of these different threads we’re talking about, what does that vendor partnership look like? Obviously it’s a conversation we’re interested in because we are said vendor, one of those. But I do think it’s in the variety of practices that we work with and the types of larger companies that we work with. All of these kinds of things. There is this need to either outsource that material entirely, right? Like you’re talking about, you’ve got the one office manager, how are they going to take on these other major roles? All the way to other companies that we’ve seen, where they have a staff of however many, but the specializations that they’re going to need, they’re going to have to work with a vendor. They’re going to have to look for that additional partnership.
So there’s a list of questions I think that we could get into. And maybe we’ll just touch on those a couple of things as we’re wrapping up here, but there are a number of things that you can look at and ways to help you find the right vendor. We talked about that some with the practice already. For a physician, here’s my goal, what are you suggesting that’s going to help me get there? What are the ways that we’re going to measure, that’s going to help us get there? What are some of the other things that we recommend around that scale?
Scott: Well, look, you’ve decided that you need help with your online marketing. And when you do that, it’s almost, I’ve decided that I need a total joint replacement. So what am I going to do? I’m going to go online and I’m going to go search for somebody who does a lot of total joint replacements. And along those lines, if you’re going to start looking at vendors to talk to, I think, one of the first questions you should ask is how many healthcare clients have you worked with? And do you have a specialization? So that’s the kind of vendor that you want to go find.
So if you’re a cardiologist, listen to this, that’s great, man, I’m sure there’s a vendor out there who works with cardiologists. I’m certainly not going to work with a dental group. I don’t know. I don’t know anything about that. So that’s a big question. How many healthcare clients have you worked with and how many in your specific specialty? Please don’t work with your brothers, cousins, whatever. And I see this mistake a lot. I’m just going to work with a local group because I see them. And I know this is subjective on my part, but I bet we’re not going to be everywhere. But I think it’s a mistake just to simply pick somebody local if they have no healthcare experience. If they don’t, it’s not going to be helpful.
Michael: And we could give additional advice some around, but look at your terms of contract. Look at having unique content. Look at those kinds of things. How much access do you get to your own data? Some of those kinds of things, because we have seen people come to us with their battle stories. “Oh my last group wouldn’t let me even see this,” and all of that. I’ll just put it as that.
Scott: You’re right. So a couple of things like, hey, do you do a lot of my specialty? Can I see some examples of what you’ve created, some of your content writing, et cetera, should you be able to do that? Some referrals, some, hey, can you give me a couple of people you work with that I can just talk to quickly? I think those are great ways. I do think, hey look, man, no matter what, sometimes it just doesn’t work. Right? You think it’s going to be love and it’s not love. And what happens if you cancel the contract? What is the contract? How long do I need to stay with you? I’ve seen this a lot with some companies which I’m not going to get into, where even though the practice paid for the content, it’s not theirs, which is certainly not us, but they are out there.
And so you need to ask those questions like what’s mine. Keep it simple. What’s mine, what’s yours? If you register a domain name for me, isn’t that mine? And by the way, it should be. Will you allow me access, or anybody else for that matter, to analytics data? Again, do you work with other people in my area? What do they say? That kind of thing. And how often are you talking to me and what are the upfront costs and what are the monthly costs? Those are the kind of questions that you should know the answers to before you sign on the dotted line.
Michael: Agreed. Agreed. We’ve covered a lot of stuff here around different types of marketing processes, different types of group sizes, all of that kind of stuff. As we’re closing out this last episode, we did want to take a few minutes just to say thank you to a few people. Jared Johnson of shift.health, there’s cool new domain names that you can use like [crosstalk 00:26:28].
Scott: You got shift.health.
Michael: But shift.health, big thanks for helping us get started, for getting this whole thing going. Carol and Roberta from HealthcareNow Radio, helped us get the word out there to a much larger audience and that’s a big-
Scott: And great to work with. Great to work with.
Michael: A lot of-
Scott: Jared and Roberta are great to work with.
Michael: You want to thank some of our guests that we’ve had on?
Scott: Yes. I would love to. In no particular order, Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum, Dr. Craig Green, Dr. Jim Ballard, Dr. Arlen Meyers, Dr. Jim Cahill, Dr. Justin Smith. There’s so many others. I jotted them down quickly and I wanted to get that out there. I think the important thing is that there are a lot of options for you. Don’t get overwhelmed. And of course, only come to us at p3practicemarketing.com. Okay. Maybe not that part.
Michael: We’re not biased in this conversation whatsoever. Thanks so much for taking the time to listen. We really appreciate it. Have a great day.
Scott: Have a great day.
Announcer: Thanks again for tuning in to the Paradigm Shift of Healthcare. This program is brought to you by Health Connective, custom marketing solutions for MedTech and pharma. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play or anywhere you listen to podcasts.