Healthcare Marketing and Branding Consultant

Maria Todd has been consulting to healthcare organizations on marketing and branding resulting in better positioning and higher reimbursements

How Maria Can Help Your Healthcare Business Win Higher Paying Contracts with Insurers and More New and Repeat Business?

Branding

Differentiate Your Group

Physicians often interpret "branding" to be about logos, and slogans, and naming. These are actually the outputs of branding creation.

The reason why branding is important for a healthcare practitioner or facility is that branding clarifies the purpose of the organization or practice to consumers and third-party payers.  In healthcare, we use branding to create loyal patients and contracted payers, drive loyalty among employees and physicians and give them something to believe in, something to stand behind.

Successful branding can also help you break through payer lockouts and narrow networks if the employees in the community demand their employer include your practice or hospital in the provider network.

Brand Effect on Reimbursement Rates

Get Paid More

In healthcare, developing a strong brand for yourbusiness helps you connect with health plans, self-funded employers, labor unions and healthcare purchasing coalitions at an emotional level. In turn, they feel good about contracting and negotiating with you which usually leads to higher (about 14% on average) reimbursement that what your unbranded competitors can achieve.

Healthcare organizations lacking an established brand compete for contracts as a commodity. When payers and patients believe that your service is easily substituted or replaced you put yourself at the mercy of market prices, and boilerplate payer contracts with little leverage to negotiate a better deal.

Marketing Plan Development

The Road Map

I begin with a complimentary 15 minute introductory call. In that call, I will listen to you. You'll share what you’ve done to date, describe your goals, and explain what you believe are your strengths and weaknesses.

This is similar to how you take a history from a patient.  If you decide to work with me, I will then proceed to the "objective" phase where I do a little digging into your target market, your location, your competitors, and get to know you, your supporting staff members, value chain partners and your practice better.  These are the bits of clay I will use to sculpt a unique and differentiated brand and marketing plan for your business.[read more="Continue"]

I won't try to "reinvent your wheels" if they roll smoothly and just need a little push to get rolling. But if they are wobbly or you don't have any wheels, my recommendations may require a little more effort.

I assess the subjective that you've explained and and my direct observations and compile the information and create a written report of findings and my recommendations. When your written report is ready, we schedule a meeting to go over the report so you can ask questions, hand have a clear understanding of timelines, budget, what's required of you and your staff to move forward, and measurable results you can expect to achieve. 

If you agree with my recommendations, you can choose to implement them on your own or with my help. But it doesn't end there.

Once we have agreement of next steps and the measurable goals for each campaign or activity, I create a written marketing plan that could include print, media and digital marketing actions to help ensure you achieve the marketing outcomes you want.[/read]

Healthcare Marketing and Branding Implementation

Executing Your Plan

Once your marketing plan has been developed, presented, discussed and approved, you are ready to move forward with your marketing and branding implementation. This signals the end of the planning stage and a new Scope of Work is developed that specifies exactly what I'll be doing for you and what you've agreed you'll do for yourself. 

In this stage, I involve our creative team to help produce of all your marketing assets, such as websites, brochures, collateral, advertisements, commercials and more. [read more="continue"]

I am involved as the project leader, and guide the experts as do what they do best.  At this stage I direct the setup and launch of all your digital marketing. I am one of the rare healthcare industry consultants who has been certified by Google and the Interactive Advertising Bureau. This certification was earned through study of 112 modules in 26 areas with passing competency exam scores for each module. 

I will also train your staff on the proper deployment of your materials, phone skills,  building referrals and how to provide a great patient experience so that your reputation and feedback online demonstrates how you deliver on your brand promises at every encounter. Many of my clients boast 4.5-5-star ratings on online digital directory listings and reputation feedback platforms.  None of this happens overnight. It takes time and consistency on both our parts.

Once all of the creative assets and social marketing tools are prepared, your program will be ready to launch.[/read]

How Healthcare Marketing Really Works

Most physicians and healthcare businesses and facilities were never trained how to market to consumers or third-party payers. As a result, they either create a brochure or a website that "features" what they do, who they are, their technology, awards, and accreditation or certification and maybe even their prices. They post an online "brochure" which they believe saves the trees and the cost of printing and hope and pray they get found by someone who needs what they have. This is referred to as spray and pray marketing - where you spray money on "unaccountable" media and pray for results. Sound familiar?

The problem with this approach is that nobody cares. 

When a website visitor or a bus bench or billboard reader encounters your brand, what they want to know is if you are the one who can help them achieve a solution to a problem or concern about their health or the health of a family member or friend.  The "features" selling approach sets you and your business as the protagonist. Novices think this is how they differentiate themselves. That's too literal. [read more = "Continue"]

How you differentiate yourself is not by declaration. The differentiation you are seeking actually happens in your customer's lateral amygdalae as the amygdalae perform primary roles in the formation and storage of memories associated with emotional events. Your prospects what to know what's in it for them, not what you sell. How will they benefit if they choose you?  That's how marketing really works. Conquer that challenge and your differentiation is a done deal! You win. Your competitor continues to spray and pray and wonder why their business isn't growing and their website isn't producing new patients.

Healthcare issues are scary. Healthcare marketing messages about your certification, your technology and your price take a back seat to the messaging a patient wants to read and hear about "why" they should trust you, what they can expect, and why you should be awarded their trust and their financial resources or insurance benefits.  When people read or hear your marketing message, reactions and decisions are made in milliseconds.  If the amygdala perceives a match to the stimulus, i.e., if the record of experiences in the hippocampus tells the amygdala that it is a fight, flight or freeze situation, then the amygdala triggers the HPA (hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal) axis and hijacks the rational brain. This emotional brain activity processes information milliseconds earlier than the rational brain, so in case of a match, the amygdala acts before any possible direction from the neocortex can be received.  Whatever they read or hear after that point is sent to the neocortex and the amygdala triggers the "Am I Safe or Am I in Danger" emotional translation of your message.  We're healthcare people. You don't need me to reiterate what you learned in anatomy and physiology, but rarely do general marketing experts understand how marketing, branding, anatomy and physiology intersect. I use this knowledge to your advantage (and mine!)  When I help you with your marketing plan, in the background, I apply this knowledge of how healthcare marketing really works and what to say in your marketing copy with what I've learned in my mastery of digital and traditional marketing.

But I'll bet that you don't really care how I do it as long as I am ethical and do what's legal, don't spend too much money and produce results, right? You don't even really care about "return on marketing investment." What you and the rest of my clients care about most is "can you do whatever it is you do to make my business grow in terms of market share and margins?"  The answer is "yes". So call me and lets' set a convenient time for a complimentary chat for about 15 minutes.

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Goal Setting for Your Marketing Efforts

Marketing starts with figuring out what you’re trying to achieve and charting a path towards it that works for you.

When you call, please be ready to tell me what kind of assistance you want from me. 15 minutes goes by quickly!

  • Do you want to hit a revenue number? If so, how much and by when?
  • Are you trying to acquire a certain number of new patients? If so, how many, and in what time frame?
  • Are you trying to establish your practice or launch a new product, surgery, or diagnostic service? What are your expectations and timing?
  • Increase your followers or subscribers? How many do you want and why do you want them? (Because popularity doesn’t equal profitability!)

Once you are clear on your goal, it’s time to look at how you’ll get there. That's where I can help. Call me today.

Maria Offers a Complimentary 15-minute Introductory Call

Call or email Maria to schedule a brief discussion so you can explain your concern or situation and see if she can help. 

Learn more about working with Maria or inviting her to speak at your upcoming event.

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