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Are You Trying To Run Marketing Programs Without An Operating System?
Mar 22, 2007

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With advice from Levinson, Parsons, and Palmer.

Are you having difficulties with your marketing?
Do you not have the number of new patients you want?

Let me tell you why.

If you are like most doctors, you are trying to execute marketing ideas or plans with something missing. For an example, it would like trying to drive away in a new car without any tires, or trying to run a computer program without Windows (on a PC).

There is a basic foundation, or interface, that usually gets overlooked in marketing.  And I do mean usually. This is why you work so hard at your marketing yet you do not get the results you want. Or, by now, you haven’t gotten the results you hoped for and have secretly given up.

In other words, you almost have effective marketing. You almost have the number of new patients you need, like almost having a good car when it only has its tires missing. Yet, the tires are fundamental.

There is a fundamental ingredient that ensures your marketing will eventually work; yet it just isn’t promoted.  In most cases, it is overlooked. It is not a secret, but it may as well be.

And, it is nothing new. It is common sense, yet it is consistently shoved aside. I am going to tell you briefly what it is here. If you read this and do it, your marketing efforts will be GREATLY improved.

Are you thinking: “Huh?”  Well, you will have to read this short article to understand. Here we go:


What is the most essential component to effective marketing?  Let’s take a look at three.

Marketing Procedures.  Obviously, you need these. These are the “How To’s.”  These are what are usually promoted to chiropractors.

  • What gets promoted?  “How to Get More New Patients Without Doing Anything And Get Rich While On Vacation.”  “14 Secret Different Surefire Ways To Get New Patients That Insurance Companies Don’t Want You To Know About.” “Who Else Wants A Waiting List Type Of Practice and Only Work 2 Days Per Week?” On and on and on!

  • The truth: These are just examples of attention getting packaging. Most of these and other procedures have been around since before Jimmy Parker began his programs back in the early 50’s. (I had chance to talk with him years ago, but that is another story!) It was B.J. Palmer that used “printers ink” and his radio station, W.O.C., to promote Chiropractic back in the Day (1924) . (By the way, did you know that W.O.C (1420 am, Iowa) is believed to be the FIRST commercial radio station west of the Mississippi River, stood for “Wonders of Chiropractic, and is where Ronnie Reagan, future U.S. President, got his start broadcasting.)

    A doctor decides to create a relationship with auto body shops in town, and makes video about it. Another likes public speaking and makes a seminar company around it.  Nothing wrong with any of this – you can always pick up tips. More importantly, it shows you what is being done by others and can help motivate you to do your own brand of marketing procedures. This leads us to… motivation.

Absolutely essential, you need this more than anything. It doesn’t matter how many books, tapes, binders, lectures, videos, and other stuff you have. It will all just sit there unless you have the “giddyup” to apply the procedures.
  • What gets promoted? Seminars to get you “pumped up”, “fired up”, and “purposes rekindled.”  Seminars and workshops on “philosophy”, scientific validation, rope courses training, etc.

  • The truth. This is the truth. You do need to have energy to put into motion the actions needed to promote your services and from which you generate new patients.  This energy, purpose, drive, desire, and demand will get the marketing projects done.  Seminars, lectures, rope courses, church, anything that helps give you more energy is good. We recommend them.

    Except for one thing: Motivation remedies are basically symptom oriented. (Jim Beam works pretty well too, for a few hours.)  You go to the seminar, get the “passion” going again, and sometimes buy a new table or piece of equipment with high hopes. You come back to the office, change things, and for a few weeks, all is exciting.  Three months later, you find that things are mostly the same as they were before, except that now your motivation is to pay for the plane fare, hotel, and equipment you bought at the last seminar.
Marketing Management. So, what is the fundamental key to marketing?  Well, actually, it is something maybe a little boring and therefore overlooked by most doctors. It is not sexy, or even slightly charming.  It is - the management of marketing.

  • How is it promoted? This really isn’t promoted in the industry. Oh, you see something now and then about a marketing plan, or branding - some fluffy stuff written by someone who doesn’t have to pay their staff every two weeks from new patients.  

  • The Truth. Who wants to manage? You went to school to treat/adjust patients. Most doctors just want something tangible for quick fix.  But the truth is that your marketing procedures need to be placed on an organizational foundation. If that organization is not there, it will be like placing a vase of roses on a two legged stool: your projects will eventually crash.  And, according to Bob Parsons,

                                   “Anything that is not managed will deteriorate.” (Link)
         A good marketing management system solves many practice problems. To name just a few, it
  • Decreases the “Practice Roller Coaster.”
  • Increases total new patients and active patients.
  • Helps select what marketing procedure to use and when.
  • Sustains your motivation over the long term.
  • Decreases overhead. Money spent on seminars, marketing materials, marketing in general is better targeted so you get more return on your investment (ROI).
  • Motivates your staff, which makes for a more pleasant, less stressful work environment for everyone.
  • Increases profit.

Do these 5 fast steps to help you with managing your marketing:

1.   Scheduling marketing activities.  Select what you want to do and schedule them. Use a calendar for all those that you do just now and then (e.g. Patient Appreciation Day), and a list for those that are recurring (Welcome Letter to all new patients). 

2.   Get someone to be the marketing coordinator.  As Jay Levinson, author of Guerrilla Marketing says: 

           “Marketing will succeed only if time and energy are regularly devoted to it by you or a person you designate." 
                                                                                                                                          (Guerrilla Marketing Excellence)

This could be the doctor, spouse, therapy C.A., massage therapist, associate doctor, or anyone who is up to the job.

3.   Internal Monitoring and Accountability. All marketing activities should be tracked and monitored. Statistics should be kept.   Mr.  Parsons also gives the following advice, which can be applied to marketing:

“Measure everything of significance. I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched improves."

4.    Regular review and planning.  You have to regularly review your past activities and then select what activities you will being doing in the future and who will do them.

5.    External Accountability and Support.  Seek and use outside support. We all can use help staying on a course, or on the “straight and narrow.”  This is where seminars can be useful, as can consultants, advisers, spouses, friends, colleagues and others.  Sometimes called a ‘brain trust”, it has often been noted that successful people are successfully supported by others.   

Marketing management provides the operating system upon which all your marketing activities, projects, and programs will eventually succeed, or fail.
Like computer software such as Windows, or DOS, to use a computer analogy, it is the link between the owner and the staff, between the plan and the application.  It forms a bridge between what you want done and what gets done.

It is the tires to your new shiny car, and it is where the rubber – meets the road.

Even with the briefest amount of management as outlined above, your marketing will improve and your practice will grow.

Ed Petty

To read more about how to manage your marketing, and the Marketing Manager System(sm) , go here.


Ed Petty

© Copyright 2008 by

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