A Plan for Prioritizing Physician Marketing Dollars
When it comes to marketing your employed physicians and practices, having an established plan for budget allocation can help set expectations upfront.
It is a rarity in healthcare marketing when we feel we have ample budget and resources allocated to achieve our marketing and communication goals. The reality for most of us is very tight budgets, limited resources and high expectations.
One of the biggest challenges we face is combing through the various needs and prioritizing marketing efforts based on available marketing dollars. This is a daunting task once you start thinking about all of the areas that have a need, particularly when it comes to marketing your employed physicians and practices.
With physician recruitment on the rise, it will become even more difficult to determine which physician or practice gets the marketing dollar allocation. Physicians and practices need to be marketed to help build volumes and support hospital brand messaging. However, with the increase in practices and physicians – and a limited budget– how do you prioritize?
Setting expectations for your leadership and the physicians upfront is crucial. You need to balance not only operational and profitability targets but also your physicians’ ability to deliver on patient experience and to reinforce your brand messaging. Letting physicians and leadership know you are managing to these goals will help your entire team understand why the answer may be no.
Develop a scorecard of the metrics you will use to evaluate if physicians/practices receive marketing dollars. Criteria can include:
– Patient experience delivered at their practice (via mystery shopping)
– Profit margin of the service/practice
– Capacity of the practice
– If the physician is new
– Length of time for a patient to get an appointment
– Number of calls or referrals that they provide/receive
Start with this list and add to the criteria as needed. Weigh each criterion as it makes sense for your hospital. While mystery shopping and patient experience may seem like overkill, a physician undermining your marketing efforts by underdelivering on service is not in the best interest of your healthcare organization – especially as we encroach upon the new value-based realities occurring in our industry.
For us to be effective in our marketing efforts and with our marketing dollars, it’s crucial that we intermittently take a step back, reevaluate and modify as needed. Be sure your C-suite is in the loop and agrees with your goals, even for physician marketing, because many times promises are made to physicians during the recruitment process. Having an established set of criteria will help your entire team stay on course and set expectations of your physicians before the onboarding process begins.
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