July 01, 2013
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BLOG: Are you spending too much or too little on marketing? Part 6

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Read more blog posts from John B. Pinto

It should go without saying that a practice of any marketing sophistication at all already has a formal protocol for thanking referral sources through calls, cards, letters and small gifts, the cost of which is trivial on a cost-per-lead basis when compared with paid advertising.

(Indeed, if patient-to-patient referral is not stimulated side-by-side with a media advertising program, the practice is likely going to tread water or drown, because costly advertised leads often only break even … it’s the derivative no-cost alumni referrals that start being profitable.)

To the extent possible, every prospective patient calling the practice, and every new patient actually entering the practice, should be tracked. Trends should be noted, and there should be a feedback loop between the weekly or monthly cost-per-lead statistics and the marketing mix. Specific tactics and media shown by the numbers to be underperforming should be continuously flushed from the program.

You can tell from the language of marketing that we still have a lot to learn. Disappointments are managed and faces saved by calling a failed marketing effort “an investment in the future.” As you sign all those big checks that pay for your marketing program, track the numbers and you’ll feel a little better about the level of control you have over what will always remain one of the most vexing and mysterious business challenges in you practice.