3 Reasons Why Office Managers May Be Unable
to Keep Up With Marketing

April 7, 2017

Marketing for a medical practice can be a full-time job within itself. Yet, many practices relegate these tasks to their office managers rather than hiring a separate marketing person or company to help out.

When medical device and pharma reps ask physicians about their marketing plans, it’s not uncommon for a physician to say something like, “My office manager takes care of my marketing for me.”

The problem is, relegating marketing tasks to the office manager may not be the best strategy for the practice. It’s not that office managers are incompetent, it’s just too much to ask of them. When a practice markets itself effectively, there are usually a lot of things to keep up with. When an office manager is already tasked with the day-to-day operations of the practice, it may be too much to ask that person to handle marketing too.

In the past, a few advertisements and Yellow Pages listings may have been all you needed to market a medical practice. However, now that patients have more options and a means of searching for physicians online, effective medical practice marketing is a lot more involved than it used to be.

If you’re working with a physician who has an office manager handle marketing, it may be helpful to suggest that the office manager work with an experienced marketer, rather than take on all of the marketing responsibilities alone. This will allow the office manager to oversee marketing without having to take on all of the work alone. Medical practice marketing has changed a lot in recent years, particularly in the following three ways.

1. Practice marketing requires constant monitoring and adjusting.

Marketing requires constant monitoring and adjusting to improve or even maintain results. It isn’t a “set it and forget it” type of process. When an office manager is tasked with marketing on top of all of the day-to-day operations tasks he or she must do, it’s easy to let the marketing efforts slip.

The ultimate goal of marketing a medical practice is to attract more patients. This means practices have to analyze marketing data to figure out what patients are interested in and what they are responding to. Practices should also get feedback from patients to see what they expect and want so they can deliver. Otherwise, a practice might be spending time and money on something that isn’t giving them what they need.

2. Practice marketing has become more consumer-oriented.

Patients have more options than ever before when choosing a physician. As a result, medicine has become commercialized. Practices need to think of themselves as businesses and treat patients as consumers if they want to compete.

This means that marketing entails a lot more than just putting up a website and running some ads. The entire patient experience has to be taken into account, and patients expect more from practices now that they have more options. They expect to be well taken care of, but they also expect you to have modern facilities, a friendly office staff, and modern conveniences. For example, many patients expect you to not only have a modern website, but also the ability to schedule an appointment or contact your office online. They expect to find important information about your practice on your website, rather than having to call your practice to find out.

Some of these things may fall under the office manager’s responsibilities, but asking the office manager to maintain the entire patient experience from start to finish is a lot to ask.

3. Effective practice marketing requires creativity and innovation.

This isn’t to say that office managers lack creativity and innovation, but again, it’s a lot to ask of one person. It’s tough for the office manager to think ahead on marketing strategy when he or she also needs to make sure day-to-day needs are taken care of. However, effective marketing requires forward-thinking.

Practices need to stand out and set themselves apart in order to compete with other practices. Marketing and patient experience help practices stand out, but it’s a full-time job within itself. Practice marketers have to consistently review data and look for areas of improvement. They also need to conduct research on patient wants and needs, as well as what other practices in the area are doing.

When office managers are expected to do all of this work, it either takes time away from their other job responsibilities or—more likely than not—gets pushed aside because there isn’t enough time in the day to get it done. When practices work with an experienced marketing partner, they can make sure that these goals are met. While that will likely require more of a marketing budget, it’s more likely that they will get a return on their investment.

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