Who’s In Charge?

“Do you have a person in charge of marketing?” is the first question asked in the marketing section of Independent Strong. Let’s explore this question and see how to improve marketing within your practice.

It takes more than just appointing someone within the practice to be in charge of marketing. They need to accept responsibility as well as accountability for the position.

The person in charge of marketing is often called the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). This person may not do all the work, but they have the responsibility of making sure that the job of marketing is producing the expected outcomes. (Note to practice owners: Be sure to give the CMO time to do their job; don’t just add this to their other responsibilities.)

Anytime we talk about any job within a practice, we need to define the outcomes of the job. In other words, we need to define, in a countable way, what the job produces. The job of the CMO is to produce two things: an increase in the number of new patients coming into the practice and an increase in the average dollars spent by patients within the practice.

Deciding which methods and procedures are used to attain the expected outcomes of marketing is how the CMO manages their position. There are many tools available for the CMO to use. These include doctor prescription patterns, success stories, social media, text, email, website design and content, word of mouth, newspapers, radio, television, and vendor-assisted campaigns. The use of marketing tools is a moving variable. What works best this year may be entirely different next year. The CMO is in charge of making sure the best tools are being used at all times.

Real-Time Marketing Analysis
Gone are the days when the CMO could say that we sent out 1,000 emails, so marketing in the practice is under control. In today’s world, we count the number of new patients and the average dollars spent per patient using either a business dashboard or the practice management software to know in real time if marketing outcomes are being achieved.  

For example, the CMO can review vendor reports with doctors at least once per quarter to identify that the national trend for the sales of photochromic lenses is 20%, however, in our practice it is only 12%. Then the CMO can brainstorm what can be done to improve our numbers and implement the best plan to make a difference. We can then review the numbers monthly to see if the new plan is working.

Or, if the practice numbers are higher than national averages, then praise the doctors and optical team and determine the reasons why. Once the CMO knows why, then those reasons can be documented and placed into the appropriate standard operating and training systems so those increases will continue.

This approach can be used with each and every marketing campaign utilized by the practice.

Here’s your action plan:

  1. Get agreement for someone within your practice to become your CMO.
  2. Get agreement from that person to accept responsibility to create the two outcomes of the CMO.
  3. Create a reporting system for accountability for the outcomes of the CMO.
  4. Create a reporting system between the CMO and the office manager.
  5. Implement.
  6. Review this system at least two times per year.
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