If you're a doctor and you're spending money on advertising, stop! Advertising is an ineffective way to get new patients
New York (Vocus) February 16, 2010
While advertising is an effective marketing tool in many businesses, it has proven to be of little benefit to doctors marketing their practice. “If you’re a doctor and you’re spending money on advertising, stop! Advertising is an ineffective way to get new patients,” says Brakatselos.
When a doctor advertises his services, the message is not substantially different from his competitors who are also advertising the benefits of their services. A doctor cannot differentiate his practice from his competitors, which after all, is the primary objective of any advertising campaign. Patients cannot choose easily among services which “look alike.”
It does not matter whether you’re doing dental practice marketing, chiropractic marketing marketing for podiatrists, marketing for optometrists or you’re a general practitioner, advertising for new patients simply does not work. “I have spoken with hundreds of doctors, across the country and across all specialties, and I always ask them about their marketing, and specifically whether they’re doing any advertising. An overwhelming majority indicate their strong dissatisfaction with their advertising results,” adds Brakatselos.
Doctors are tooting their own horn through advertising. Many people do not believe in the ad’s message. Doctors’ prospective patients already expect the ads to say, “we are the best,” “we have new technology,” “we are the most experienced,” etc.
In addition, ads have little longevity. Once a doctor stops advertising, he or she is forgotten. It’s important to keep in mind that consumers are bombarded by more than 500 advertising appeals a day. A doctor’s message gets lost in an over crowded advertising environment.
Finally, advertising is far too expensive. A doctor would need to spend thousands of dollars a week to even begin to see any increase in the number of new patients. Doctors shouldn’t be trying to build there own brand. “Even more importantly, the ‘return per advertising dollar spent’ has decreased dramatically in recent years,” says Brakatselos.
Mr. Brakatselos is a Senior Consultant with DR, Inc. For 17 years, DR, Inc. has been working with doctors all over the country and across specialties, helping them boost their profitability and transform their businesses. He is also an expert author and Medical Practice Specialist for The Examiner. Mr. Brakatselos' prior experience includes managing broad policy/public relations initiatives for the financial services industry.