As a practice owner, you are bombarded with marketing opportunities every day. Some of those are “exclusive” opportunities reserved for only one practice in your specialty in your market.
One question that comes up from time to time – “Should I do <exclusive marketing thing> to keep it out of my competitors’ hands?”
It’s a great question to consider, and today, I want to give you some ways to quickly assess these types of opportunities.
1. Are you passing on it because it’s just not a good opportunity period, or not a good opportunity for you?
Most of the marketing you are pitched is junk. Junk for you. Junk for your competitors. Junk for any business who is trying to get new patients, customers or clients.
If you realize that it’s just not a good opportunity period, but you’re still hesitant to pass because you’re concerned what your competitors might do, I’ll remind you of the NFL preseason.
As I write this, we’re 3 weeks away from the final roster cuts for the NFL. At that point, all NFL teams will have to reduce their rosters to 53 players.
So who gets cut? The guys who get cut are decent players who either don’t have the expert skill to succeed and/or don’t fit in the scheme/plan/vision the coach has for the team.
Question: Would my Dallas Cowboys keep a solid wide receiver on the roster, just so he doesn’t get picked up by the Eagles at some point?
No. That would be lunacy. Even though he might get picked up by the Eagles, and even though the Cowboys play the Eagles, and even though that guy could possibly even score on the Cowboys in those games.
The Cowboys have to build the team that works for the Cowboys. Fits the salary cap. Gels together. Has the best team-player athletes. Works with the coaches’ vision of the team.
(Notice all the parallels between this and your practice marketing?)
To complete the analogy: Don’t lose sleep about cutting a mediocre player (aka a weak marketing opportunity) just because a competitor might him pick up.
2. Now, what if it’s just not a good opportunity for you, but it does provide higher leverage for your competitors if they have it?
For example – let’s say you’re doing some kind of patient comanagement. Maybe you have X comanagement relationships. And your competitor has 5X comanagement relationships.
An exclusive tool comes along to help your comanagement marketing. Only one practice in your market is going to have it.
It’s a great tool, but it doesn’t make sense for you because you don’t have enough comanagement relationships to make it worth the investment.
That said, since your competitor has many more comanagement relationships, it would be a great asset for them.
Question: Do you invest in the asset just to keep it out of their hands?
Simply put, you could go one or two directions:
Direction A. You can decide you want to focus more on comanagement, invest in the tool, and grow that aspect of your practice. This gives you a marketing asset that will grow in value to you as you gain more comanagement relationships, and it keeps the tool out of your competitors hands.
If you’re leaning this direction, it’s worth a hard look and possibly investment for your practice.
Direction B. You decide that comanagement isn’t something you want to focus on. It doesn’t fit your business model. You don’t want to go that direction.
And you don’t want to shift a bunch of budget away from other things that are working (remember you don’t have unlimited budget). And by default, you’re fine with your competitor owning that particular channel while you focus on others.
In that case, it makes more financial sense to walk away. Maybe your competitor buys it, maybe they don’t. Either way, you haven’t “drafted a player” (and burned up budget) that doesn’t fit your game plan.
These thoughtful questions will help you make faster decisions about these types of exclusive opportunities.
This is one of those things that my consulting clients call me about consistently, and I simply tell them what to do and why. They don’t have to think about it. If such a shortcut sounds more up your alley, check out our Marketing Advisory Program (find out more on our products page).
Now that you have a few ways to make a confident decision about your marketing when exclusive opportunities arise, go forth and prosper!