What to Do When Your Marketing Department Doesn’t Listen

If you’re a high-achieving physician in a practice or healthcare system, you’ve likely had some concerns with how you personally are being marketed in your local community.

I’ve heard from many physicians over the years that when they have questions or express concern to their marketing departments relative to SEO and online promotion, they’re often dismissed or promised new strategies that never seem to materialize.

If you’ve found yourself in this position and frustrated, below are some steps that you can take when your marketing department doesn’t listen.

1). Review Your Contract for Potential Conflicts

Most physician contracts I’ve seen do not have anything prohibiting the ability to create a personal website, social media presence, etc.

That being said, it’s definitely worth a review of your existing contract to make sure there is nothing there to stop you from moving forward in marketing yourself online.

2). Create and Build Your Personally Branded Online Platform

The reality for most practices or healthcare systems is that they really can’t market one physician over another, so their approach has to be more generic, and brand-focused.

However, patients very rarely connect with a brand. They connect with a person. This is an excellent reason to develop an online platform that is branded around you, the physician.

In addition to being able to market yourself more effectively and attract new patients, you will also have more control and a direct patient following. So if you ever decide to change affiliations, you will have a marketing system already set up and in place. All you need to do is change the contact information.

3). Communicate With Your Marketing Department

After you establish your personal online platform (website, social, etc.), it’s time to share your vision with the marketing department. If you do this well, it won’t be long before they find out and take notice. So in my view, it’s better to be upfront with them once you’re live.

Prepare For Resistance

Be prepared; you will most likely face resistance and pushback from them for a couple of reasons.

There are egos at play. Nobody likes to hear they aren’t meeting expectations. But as I said before, it’s almost impossible for a marketing department to succeed in representing individual physicians because of all the doctors involved. Even though they may recognize this, don’t expect them to be happy about it.

They realize they are losing control. From a competitive standpoint, they may fear the potential loss in patients should you ever change affiliations. This is understandable, but keep in mind that you are your own brand and are also responsible for your own success.

Sell the Opportunity

Now that I’ve prepared you for a couple of resistance points, let me encourage you to still sell this as a positive thing to the marketing department. In reality, it primarily is.

They’re getting additional marketing help that isn’t coming out of their budget. Who doesn’t want free marketing? Even though you are the brand, patients will still see your affiliation, which is additional no-cost exposure that benefits the marketing team’s branding efforts.

They’re getting the advantage of more patients. Any patient you bring in through your personal marketing efforts will still benefit the practice or healthcare system’s bottom line.

Other doctors will gain from the overflow. A rising tide lifts all boats. It’s quite possible that your marketing will be so successful, you may end up having more patients than you can see or ones that find you but don’t fit your ideal patient avatar. These patients can then be referred to other physicians in your group.

High-achieving physicians realize they are primarily responsible for their own success. Effective marketing as a personal brand will help attract new patients, attract the right patients, as well as provide freedom and control for the future.

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