Manage My Practice put together a great case study about marketing your practice. They create a model of marketing success using the career of Jay-Z. Never heard of him? Well then your kids have. He’s only the most successful rap artist of all time, who’s also parlayed his success into careers in fashion, merchandising, vodka, and a stake in the NBA’s New Jersey Nets franchise. His success, beyond the normal hard work and talent, is ultimately in marketing himself. That’s something many of us are loathe to do. But it can really pay off with your practice.
How does Jay-Z factor into a physician’s practice?
Marketing is everything now. Declining reimbursement, increasing regulation, and the long-term shift from volume to value means physicians, practices, hospitals and systems need to adapt. Jay-Z recently released an album with a genius marketing plan complete with a big brand endorsement. He wound up giving select fans a free album and in return the album went platinum before it was technically released to the public.
Now all of us doctors might not be able to pull off a feat this remarkable. However, our Atlas MD model of primary care has made waves. In theory, for less than half a typical monthly cable bill patients can see a physician 24-hours a day, as many times as they need. They can get prescriptions for pennies on the dollar without even using insurance. Couple that with a high deductible, low monthly insurance plan and they can ACTUALLY save thousands of dollars and get the treatment they need, WHENEVER they need it. What’s more amazing is that WE are in charge of the service we provide. That means there’s room in our model for flexibility and innovation. One of our own innovations includes an EMR, HIPAA-certified and everything, that will completely reinvent how cash-only practices are ran. (That’s coming soon, so stay tuned.)
But back to Jay-Z… What can doctors learn from a rap mogul?
First off, market research is critical. Jay-Z made millions selling digital copies of his album to Samsung, who then released a free app that only Samsung users could download. The cash was nice, obviously. But the insight linked to the digital downloads was priceless for Jay-Z in the long-run.
Second, the more you know about your patient base and where they come from, the better you can serve them. The more keen your knowledge, the more adept you’ll be at offering exactly the right services at fair market prices. Market research comes in all shapes and sizes. If you can ask 5,000 people on your direct care mailing list the main reason friends/family/colleagues cite when they dismiss the model, you’ll learn so much about how to explain the benefits of your work. For us, a common issue we have with our audience is that people don’t believe you can get better healthcare for cheaper. That’s why we focus on educating them on how healthcare is priced nationwide, so they can see why they’ve actually been paying TOO MUCH. Thinking like that, we aren’t a scam. We’re just priced fairly.
Three, separate yourself through high quality. Yes, this is loose advice, and requires a certain level of proficiency and intuition to implement. Thing is, Jay-Z couldn’t have released his first album like this latest one. However, Jay-Z built his brand for nearly twenty years, and his brand means cutting-edge, and high quality. According to Manage My Practice, “to compete and thrive, healthcare providers must be able to offer a level of service and execute that service in a way that makes them stand out from the crowd.”
So how do I move toward Jay-Z’s level?
One, if someone Googles “family practice doctors in your area,” are you the first to pop up? If not, do you know how to go about earning better search placement? From there, do you know how to capitalize on that?
Two, be honest with yourself. If people ask who the best cardiologist in town is, would your name roll off their tongues? If not, what steps are you taking to improve your care? Are you improving your patient communications? That’s an excellent place to start building your brand. For one, the ability to really talk to a patient can lead to better diagnoses. Second, if patients can really talk to you, it’s more likely they’ll tell friends and colleagues to see you. That sequence of conversation/referral is the basis of good branding. Something Jay-Z and the more successful version of you will ultimately have in common.