Your External Marketing Strategies May Be Destroying
And you wont even KNOW IT!
Last Thursday I had given a Continuing Medical Education to approximately 20 Nurse Practitioners and Medical Doctors in Rochester NY on the diagnosis and management of biomechanical spine pain [that is what we tell the MDs we specialize in, since it covers the bases of chiropractic medical necessity and are words they are familiar with]. You have to understand the chiropractic paradigm in Rochester NY to “get” this Consultation. In Rochester the vast majority of chiropractors are “Wellness Oriented” and pretty much that is the message that is broadcast across the city. Just like many areas in the nation, the chiropractic profession markets aggressively to the public and tries to find “niche’s” to get more patients into the office [just like any business].
The issue here is that many of the marketing strategies are NOT about educating the public on CHIROPRACTIC they are about offering an additional “product or service” that will get them into the chiropractic office to get the “Chiropractic Message” across to them. It is not really a bait and switch since the ancillary service is actually provided, however I have always struggled with that approach. Even when it works the patients that are looking for those ancillary services are doctor shopping and their compliance SUCKS. They don’t see the chiropractor as a DOCTOR, they seem them as a retailer and what do people shopping retail look for? You guessed it…a DEAL, which is a discussion for another article, but for this one, the discussion on had on Thursday night with an medical internist in the audience had a profound effect on my ability to explain WHY some chiropractors get tons of medical referrals and why some will never see one EVER.
While I was getting into the reason the chiropractic adjustment modulates pain at the Central Nervous System level and then on to how chiropractors assess the spine for biomechanical dysfunction, the internist raised his hand and asked “Why do so many chiropractors specialize in weight loss? I would never think to refer to a chiropractor for mechanical spine pain” WOW…that hit me right between the eyes, not because I couldn’t answer it, but because if was a great flippin question!
I spent the next 20 minutes explaining to them what a “credentialed” chiropractor is and how, by using their CV they (as MDs) can determine whether the chiropractor they are referring to has training in MRI Interpretation, Spinal Biomechanical Engineering and triaging the spine pain patient. I discussed how working as part of an interprofessional team (Interdisciplinary is not the right word anymore, that is outdated, it is now interprofessional). The interesting thing he said RIGHT after I finished was, “where do I find one of those?” My answer with a big smile on my face…YOUR LOOKING AT ONE…
So from a business perspective, does the amount of patients you are getting from marketing to the public generate enough revenue for you to justify alienating one of the largest referral sources in the nation? That answer is completely up to you, but before you answer look at your business cards, your advertisements, your website and your Facebook page. When it comes to marketing take the time to see the BIG picture and understand how others SEE YOU and your practice.