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For an established, somewhat more vanguard than average general practice, performing a mix of cataract and refractive surgery, here’s a reasonable if highly generic budget apportionment:
- The first marketing dollars spent, representing 10% or more of the annual budget, should be spent internally on everything from patient education literature to a looped video on your services in the waiting room. Special attention should be spent even before this on getting recall protocols up to “zero defects” and having the doctors actively asking each patient for referrals.
- If your practice is dependent on optometry referrals (or wants to be), the next dollars spent, perhaps another 10%, should be on outreach efforts, which can include personal visits, continuing education sessions, part-time facility rental agreements and other network development.
- For practices oriented to senior eye care, external screening programs are next in line for return on investment and deserve perhaps the next 5% to 10% slice of the marketing pie.
- The heavy, external lifting needs to be borne by paid advertising, which, for this specimen practice, could probably consume up to 60% or more of the total marketing budget. The apportionment to developing the ads, as compared to media buys, is highly dependent on the situation. In principle, however, don’t blow all of your budget on creating great advertising and then only have a little left over to publish or air your ads. That would be like the Pentagon buying the latest rifles and not having enough money left over to buy bullets.
- Supplemental external marketing should include about 5% of the budget spent on formal efforts to generate publicity; costs can be spared by using your hospital’s house publicist as the conduit to the working press.
- Hold 10% to 15% of any budget in reserve for oversight and for rotating exploratory efforts. For example, a LASIK practice using radio and print only could next test TV infomercials, a formal sales training course or a corporate outreach program. Any of these experiments found to work better than what you have done in the past deserves an enduring portion of the overall marketing budget and should displace an underperforming tactic.