by Richard Stokes

Every day, in just about everything we do, we’re quite literally bombarded by advertising from all forms of media that want us to either buy something or take action on something.  Think about it: with television, radio, the Internet, email, telemarketers, magazines and billboards – to name a few – we’re surrounded.  Most of it becomes background noise to me, but if the timing is right and I’m looking for whatever it is that is being marketed and it’s marketed well, I will pay attention.

So, you ask, what does this have to do with physicians’ practices?  Well at this month’s North Fulton MGMA meeting we’re going to hear from Jamie Verkamp with (e)Merge, a medical marketing consulting firm.  Jamie is a keynote speaker, leader, facilitator, trainer and consultant for (e)Merge and has become a nationally recognized thought leader in the healthcare industry.

Jamie is going to be taking us through an in-depth look at medical practice marketing.  Specifically she’s going to explore:

  • What drives the patient decision-making / ”buying” process
  • How practices can better “speak patient” in their marketing messages
  • What marketing / advertising channels are available
  • How to determine which marketing efforts are best for your practice and your practice’s goals
  • Common mistakes that many healthcare organizations are making
  • How to avoid those mistakes and lots of examples of practices who are “doing it right”
  • How to make wiser decisions that will ultimately increase “word of mouth” advertising and referrals to your practice
  • Marketing tactics that are low-to-no cost and can mean big savings and big ROI when implemented properly
  • All things related to social media

Jamie says that marketing, and the right marketing for practices, is so important today because patients are now consumers of healthcare.  More healthcare spending takes place out-of-pocket and in many instances, patients have more options with insurance companies on what providers they can choose.  What this means to providers is that there’s more competition so you’ve got do what you can to ensure the patient will choose you.

In addition, practices are under mounting pressure to cut costs and spend wisely. Marketing, when done effectively, is one area where wisely-invested dollars can be tracked and a clear ROI can be measured.

The top three points Jamie wants us all to leave with are:

  • A better understanding of how to connect your marketing message with your target patient
  • At least one low- or no-cost tactic that you can implement into your office right away
  • A good story to tell your physicians / managers / staff about one of the successes shared during the session

After the meeting she hopes you will be able to better identify if you are making one of the top 5 marketing mistakes and be able to immediately implement one of the “point-of-care” (AKA “in office”) marketing tips that she’ll share during the session.

Jamie highly encourages your interaction so please ask questions during the event.  She also says that the following are good resources for more information about the topic:

  • Their website: www.emergewithus.com and Twitter feed
  • MGMA national website – great blogs, articles and the media section is full of several good books related to the topic of marketing
  • Get more active on LinkedIn and the MGMA group – it’s a national list serve with a wealth of information
  • Get involved on Twitter! A number of organizations, administrators and physicians are now “tweeting” and it can be a great place to research and share information. Some of the hashtags that relate specifically to healthcare social media and healthcare marketing are; #hcsm (healthcare social media), and #hcmktg (healthcare marketing). Many thought leaders share lots of insights through these hashtags and she says she learns something new every day by following these two key conversations.

This is going to be a very educational meeting so if you haven’t already registered for this month’s event, what are you waiting for?  Feel free to share this with your peers and colleagues and invite them to attend as well.  North Fulton MGMA.

Network 1 Consulting is a 15-year-old, IT Support company in Atlanta, GA.  We become – or augment – the IT department for professional services companies: law firms, medical practices and financial services firms.  Our IT experts can fix computers – but what our clients really value are the industry-specific best practices we bring to their firms.  This is especially important with technology, along with regulations and cyber threats, changing so rapidly.  We take a proactive approach to helping our clients use technology to gain and keep their competitive advantage.

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