Today’s episode of All Things Business for Physicians features guest Dr. Nathan Patterson. Dr. Patterson is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with professional memberships in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the Florida Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Medical Association, and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

In this podcast you’ll learn about:

  • What to look out for in a marketing contract
  • The difference between realistic and unrealistic marketing strategies
  • Red flags (including a push for “out-of-date” media outlets like radio ads)
  • Tracking progress with key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • The importance of communication with your marketing team
  • What matters most to the business owner (hint: it’s not an influx of marketing buzz words like SEO or inbound marketing)
  • Dr. Patterson’s best marketing advice (including experiential insights he’s learned along the way)

More of a visual rather than auditory learner? Here’s a quick summary:

  • Being a great physician doesn’t necessarily lend itself to being a great businessman, so contracting with a marketing firm can definitely help grow your practice. But before signing, it’s worth your while to educate yourself a bit first. Dr. Patterson learned the hard way by agreeing to a contract that turned out to have “zero demonstrable benefit to me but a lot of money going out.”
  • Revenue, reputation, reach, recognition: any quality marketing firm should be able to use these and other clearly defined factors as outcome measures: specifically, did these factors improve thanks to your new marketing strategy, and by how much? If your consulting team can’t provide you with evidence of this, beware.
  • Likewise, if your marketing team gives you a promise or plan that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your gut and “make sure you can communicate well with them,” Dr. Patterson advises.
  • Another question before signing the dotted line: how long is this contract, and can I cancel with justifiable cause? “If someone won’t give you [the ability to have an out clause],” he says, “you have to wonder how much faith they have in their own ability.”
  • Go into any marketing plan with a goal in mind and clearly defined metrics in order to measure your success, and demand frequent reporting from your contractors. How else will you know if your investment is positively affecting your business?
  • Remember, too, that there’s likely a cyclical nature to your practice (e.g., people tend to defer surgeries during the summer months), so your marketing strategy should reflect that, as well.
  • Ultimately, marketing does matter, so don’t let unfamiliarity with the process intimidate you. To Dr. Patterson, he ultimately gauges a marketing contract’s utility and effectiveness by assessing how it impacts his bottom line: increased revenue. He asks of himself and his marketing team, “Are you generating more dollars [for my company] per hours worked?”