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What Came First in Medical Marketing: Lead Generation or Branding?

By Anthony Watts on March, 20 2018
Anthony Watts

If you need a smile or want to know what’s hot on-line, Anthony is your go-to guy. As reigning Father of the Year, you can be sure he is equipped with the utmost patience and determination to foster and cultivate any online marketing plan! His digital expertise is a lot like his famous Bloody Marys: loaded with goodies and guaranteed to satisfy.

When it comes to launching an effective medical marketing strategy, many clinics find themselves torn between two seemingly opposing focus areas—lead generation versus branding. But the truth is that they don't have to be at odds. In fact, nurturing both sides is key to creating a sustainable, results-driven marketing plan.

"The problem is when there's an overemphasis on one or the other," says Anthony Watts, Digital Director at Ren Scott Creative. "The idea is to balance the two instead of placing one above the other."

Putting 100 percent of your attention on branding often comes at the expense of successful lead generation, and vice versa. This leads to a marketing tug-of-war where neither is nearly as effective as it could be.

"There's really a dynamic interplay between the two, not a struggle," Watts adds.

What to Do Before Moving Forward with a Marketing Plan

Just like you can't build a house without a solid foundation, you need sturdy ground to stand on before pushing forward with a medical marketing plan. Make sure you fully understand your clinic's goals right from the start. Why are you in business? What legacy do you want to leave? What kind of impact do you want to have on your patients?

These are the questions that should be guiding your marketing strategy. This is precisely why we call it a positioning exercise—it clarifies your position in the marketplace. Your answers serve as a jumping-off point because they'll ultimately shape your clinic's message and serve as the foundation of your marketing and advertising efforts. For example, does your website reflect what you want to be and the services you want to provide? Is your social media presence in line with your values and supporting your goals?

Once these kinds of things are clear, the next layer is to then look at important data points to create a tactical plan that actually generates leads. Whether you're launching a PPC advertising campaign or revitalizing your content marketing plan, the idea is to drive traffic to your clinic's website and nurture new leads. (Remember, new leads translate to new patients.)

"When you look at it from this perspective, it almost looks like you should lead with branding first, but you have to remember that creating that marketing foundation is ultimately driven by generating leads," says Watts. "It really underscores just how interconnected these things are, which is really the nuance."

Don't Do It Alone - Let the Experts Help

This is exactly why going it alone can put you on such shaky ground; understanding the interplay between lead generation and branding is crucial. Being able to then measure their impact is the other side of the coin. This is the sole function of our Data Track platform, which provides clinics with a visual interpretation of key data points. This highlights everything from lead volume to spikes and dips in website traffic and beyond. The takeaway? If you know what to look for, data analysis is one of the best tools in your business arsenal.

"There's a lot of technical setup and work on the back end of that, so when you're doing it on your own as the sole proprietor, it can be very difficult," says Watts. "You can find yourself making more mistakes that can cost you a lot of money in the long run because you're essentially operating blind."

Again, this all comes back to balancing branding with lead generation. It’s not an either/or situation – nurturing both sides is what’s going to best position you for long-term success.

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