Startling fact: 97% of patients say verified patient reviews matter more than a Top Doctor by U.S. News & World Report award. 

That’s just one of the many stats and insights we collected following 100 one-on-one patient interviews we recently completed for a large practice. 

In this episode of the Dr Marketing Tips podcast, Jennifer and Corey break down insights from 100 one-on-one patient interviews they organized for a large practice to inform and guide their marketing efforts for 2020.

Before you assemble your marketing plan for 2020, listen to this episode to find out how you can create and execute a low-cost, one-on-one interview series with patients and use the data to guide your messaging and spending for the upcoming year. 

Don’t just assume you know what your patients want or like – ask them! 

Tune in to discover:

  • How to create and execute a low-cost one-on-one interview series for your practice
  • Where patients say they receive information about their doctors (word of mouth is only 12%!) 
  • If being involved in the community really makes a difference in the eyes of a patient 
  • What matters most to patients in their own words 
  • Easy ways to update your messaging based on patient feedback

Get Your Free 2020 Marketing Strategy Template & How-to Guide

Take the first step to successfully attract and retain patients in 2020 with a detailed plan for getting your practice in front of the right patient, in the right place at exactly the moment they are looking for you.

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Get Your Free 2020 Marketing Strategy Template & How-to Guide

Take the first step to successfully attract and retain patients in 2020 with a detailed plan for getting your practice in front of the right patient, in the right place at exactly the moment they are looking for you.

Download Now

Get Your Free 2020 Marketing Strategy Template & How-to Guide

Take the first step to successfully attract and retain patients in 2020 with a detailed plan for getting your practice in front of the right patient, in the right place at exactly the moment they are looking for you.

Download Now

Transcript Notes

Speaker 1: Dr. Marketing Tips. Paging Dr. Marketing Tips. Dr. Marketing Tips, you’re needed in the marketing department.

Speaker 2: Welcome to the Dr marketing Tips podcast, your prescription to the answers you seek to grow your medical practice easier, better, and faster. This show is all about connecting practice administrators and medical marketing professionals with peers working in practices, learning from experiences, making mistakes, and sharing successes. Let’s get started.

Jennifer: Hey there. Welcome to the Dr Marketing Tips podcast. I’m Jennifer.

Corey: I’m Corey.

Jennifer: Today, we are going to share some data that we have gotten from a project that we recently did with a client. All the time, we’re making marketing messages. A lot of times when we’re doing a marketing message, we are being a little reactive or we come up with what we think sounds right and what we think the audience is going to react to. But in reality, we don’t often spend a lot of time talking to our patients. We had a practice that came to us and wanted us to do some surveys of their existing patients. Then through that, we were able to sit down one-on-one with right at 100 patients at this particular practice and start talking to them about how they choose their providers, what’s important to them with their healthcare, and just get a lot of really good data, wouldn’t you say, Corey, that just came out of that, that we’re able to now be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to messaging.

Corey: Yeah. There was a lot of really interesting not only data but just sort of tidbits and anecdotes and stories that we picked up from that, which I think is helpful when it comes to crafting a marketing message. Then in addition to that, I think it’s worth pointing out that as we were sort of teeing this up and getting ready to go ahead and line up the focus groups and everything, we were going back and forth with the practice. They were saying, “Okay. Well, I really like this word.” We were saying, “Well, we kind of think it’s this word instead.” Then as we were doing that, we were like, “Well, why don’t we just press pause on that for a second? Because we’re going to go ask the patients to really see what matters.” I think if you zoom out from that, it’s indicative of the entire sort of conversation that we’re having, is, “Instead of just assuming we know what people want to hear, let’s just go ask them and then make decisions from there.”

Jennifer: Well, especially when you consider that everybody’s connected every moment of every day and there’s no reason you can’t be going to your patients or going to a particular audience and just asking them the question. People are very open to providing you feedback if you ask in the right way. We happened to go into a live setting in the patient setting and sat down with about 100 patients. It took us a full two days, and then it took us a couple of days to pull all the data back together. But this will be the data that we really lean into in 2020. It’s a piece of a larger puzzle.

Jennifer: Let’s go ahead and get started with this. Basically. I already said it was about 100 patients. The bulk of the audience here for this practice were patients from 55 to 75 plus, which is just to be expected. This practice is in an area where the demographic is a little bit older, more retirees, and also because we were there during the day that it wouldn’t be the time that your younger folks would necessarily be in this practice. The bulk of our audience, I’m going to say 70%, were in that 55 to 75 plus range.

Corey: Yeah. That’s interesting because it lends itself to a lot of the other data. For example, one of the questions was, “Which brand do you prefer?” Then we showed a fast food logo and then a local kind of mom and pop restaurant. They were closer than I would have thought that they were, but they did prefer the fast food brand. Part of the reason, as we were having the discussion with them, is due to some of the stability and knowing that you can walk into this place and you’re going to get the same hamburger every single time. That stability factor sort of rears its head as we go through the data.

Jennifer: Yeah. I thought it was interesting because I thought that because we’re constantly talking about the value of an independent medical practice, that a mom and pop restaurant would have permeated higher than a national chain, and the same type of thing. We looked at it from a local restaurant versus a national chain, but then we also looked at it as one-stop specialty shop versus a big box retailer that you could walk into and get everything under the sun, kind of thinking about it in terms of independent physician group versus hospital. “Do you want to go to a place where they do everything, or do you want to go to a place where they specialize?” Overwhelmingly, the audience said, “I just want a place that I can walk into and know that everything is taken care of,” by about 75% to 25%

Corey: Yeah. Again, going back to small, local independent versus big national, when asked, “What’s most important to you?” 67% of them said stability. Being able to, like you said, walk in and know what you’re going to get and, like I mentioned earlier, just kind of knowing that that same hamburger’s coming off the line, that really mattered to them. I think part of that is going back to the age demographics. They’re a little bit older, so they don’t care so much about innovation and change. They don’t get excited about that like the younger generation kind of does. They just want to know that they’re going to walk in, they’re going to get what they expect, and that’s perfectly fine.

Jennifer: Absolutely. One of the next questions that we asked is, “Do awards earned by the practice matter, and when choosing your provider?” I really thought that awards were going to matter more. 63% of the respondents actually said, “No, awards don’t matter to me.”

Corey: I’m really happy about that answer because as a practice administrator and marketing professional, I’m sure that you, as a listener, you get this all the time, but you’ll see those emails that come across from different… like U.S. News and World Report and other organizations like that where they just say, “Hey, buy this $400 plaque because you won this award.” I don’t know about you guys listening, but for us, a lot of times clients will come to us or the physician specifically and say, “Is this a good idea?” I’m really excited to have some of this data to say, “It doesn’t matter. Do not waste your money. If you want to spend $400, then we can turn around and do it on some sort of measurable ad campaign like Google Ads or something like that where we can prove some ROI and not just have this dusty plaque in your office.” I was really excited about that data.

Jennifer: I was too. I think that it goes back to if we did the survey with doctors, I think it would matter.

Corey: Yeah. Absolutely.

Jennifer: [crosstalk] metric and whatnot that goes into it, but it didn’t matter to the patients, which was fantastic. Then the next one was we wanted to understand if patients care how involved the practice is in their particular community. For us, for the survey data, just under 60% said no. It’s pretty much a wash, I think. I think at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how involved the practice is in the community. Patients are either going to come here or they’re not.

Corey: But one thing that I thought was interesting too, one of the other questions was, “Does years of service in the area matter?” 75% said yes. If there’s someone new coming into your backyard, you know that they’re never going to be able to catch you in terms of how long that they’ve actually been in the community. I thought that’s really interesting because when you’re, again, thinking about crafting some marketing messages, depending on how long that you’ve been in a community, it might make sense to start saying, “Since 1985,” or whatever the year is, because that does matter.

Jennifer: Yeah. I think that’s really valid. It’s interesting. It doesn’t matter because it’s an older audience or it doesn’t matter because you feel like there’s stability with it.

Corey: Exactly. Yep.

Jennifer: The next one is, “Where do you hear or see most of the advertisements that you’re exposed to?” I wasn’t surprised on this one. Almost 50% said TV, especially cause it’s an older audience, and then 22%, however, said they are exposed to ads on the internet moreso than anything else.

Corey: Hey, guys. Corey here, cohost of the Dr Marketing Tips podcast, and I wanted to interrupt this episode just for a minute to tell you about Insight Training Solutions. Insight Training Solutions is an ongoing employee engagement and training platform for your medical practice, meaning employees can log on and take these medical practice specific trainings whenever and wherever they are. Each training is meant to increase employee engagement, improve practice reputation, and develop some patient service mindsets, if we’re being honest, something that we all know some of the employees may lack, not calling anybody out by name. But one of the cool things about inside training solutions is they’re always developing new content. They just released 10 Steps to a Phenomenal Patient Experience, where you’ll learn how to create a phenomenal patient experience, strengthen job security, and discover customer service secrets for your entire team.

Corey: This course is in addition to the other ones they already have, which include Communication Across Generations and How to Understand Today’s Multi-generational Workforce and How to Develop Overall Patient Experience. This is another course, The New Approach to Customer Service. We’ve also got Eight Ways to Wow Patients. You can sign up for a free trial to see what everything is about at InsightTrainingSolutions.io. That’s InsightTrainingSolutions.io, or just Google Insight Training Solutions. You’ll be glad you did.

Corey: Yeah. I would think that’s when they log on. By no means is this meant as a blanket statement, but a lot of older folks they are are on Windows computers. When they hop on, the first thing that they see is the Bing homepage. There’s a bunch of stories on there. There’s a bunch of ads on there. We know that because we have Google Analytics tied to a lot of different websites, and we can see the ages of folks that are on the websites and what browser they’re using. Just by default, they typically don’t change where the homepage is when they open up the browser. A lot of ads are exposed there, and then, of course, if you’re a grandparent, you’re looking through social media. You start to see the sponsored content on there when you’re looking at pictures of the grandkids on Facebook, et cetera, et cetera.

Jennifer: Yeah. Absolutely. It would be interesting to have this data from a couple of years ago and to see how it changes…

Corey: How it’s changed.

Jennifer: … into the next couple. The next two, I think, are really relevant for a lot of the practices that we work with, especially when you look at practices trying to extend their hours or to allow for walk-ins versus people having to schedule an appointment. “Given the option, would you prefer to walk in or to schedule an appointment?” Overwhelmingly, by 70%, the focus groups said they want to schedule an appointment, which just says a lot. Then the followup is, “Do you prefer to schedule that appointment on the phone or online?” We only had about 30% that said they would prefer to do it online, but that kind of goes in with this older population.

Corey: Yeah. I was going to say, I bet that because the population here is older, if you were to ask these same two questions to a younger generation, the answers would be flipped on both questions. Yeah, “Would you prefer to walk in or to schedule an appointment?” If you’re a little bit younger, I bet they’d say walk-in. Then, “How do you prefer to schedule an appointment?” I bet they’d say online over phone.

Jennifer: Yeah. I know for me, I would prefer to schedule an appointment, but I want to do it online. I do not want to get on the phone.

Corey: Yeah. Yeah. I couldn’t agree more.

Jennifer: All right. When choosing a doctor, rank which matters most by importance of [inaudible 00:12:51]. Overwhelmingly, it’s, “Is the doctor in your provider network?”

Corey: Nothing surprising there.

Jennifer: Not surprised at all. I was surprised by only 5% of people said access. The convenience factor didn’t really matter, but 27% said qualifications and credentials.

Corey: Yeah. Outcomes really didn’t matter either, which I thought was really interesting because you would think that… Obviously, yes, I want them to be in my insurance network. I want them to be close to home. That was another one that didn’t really matter, where I thought it would make a big difference. Then you want them to be good at what they do. Right? Outcomes would matter, you’d think. I just wonder if it’s because of the way that the question was kind of laid out that they’re thinking that, or is it more just because they say, “Okay, so Dr. X went to Stanford, so obviously he’s a good doctor,” and then they just sort of fall in line with that expectation? I’d like to do a little bit more digging there, but interesting from a top level that the answers kind of… There was such a wide spread between what mattered most.

Jennifer: Absolutely. Then the follow up is another kind of rank what matters. “When choosing a doctor, rank which matters?” Overwhelmingly, patient reviews and customer service are right there [inaudible] 90%. that’s what matters most to people. They’re checking online for reviews, and they’re seeing what kind of customer service that they can expect, which really drives home a lot of the things that we’re doing, which is why I’m excited about that.

Corey: Yeah. A lot of the messaging and the marketing and the things that we focus on for a lot of clients, we call it the patient-forward marketing. We’re talking about patient reviews and how to improve the patient experience. These numbers really back that up. To pat ourselves on the back, that was a good one to see. Yeah.

Jennifer: Hey, they looked at two practices side by side. They were asked to choose between a practice that had five stars, but they only had one review versus a four-star practice with 112 reviews. Overwhelmingly, by 72%, they chose the four-star practice. I think that tells us that our patients are becoming more intelligent on how these reviews work. There’s a lot of merit, a lot of weight that goes into choosing a practice based on the reviews.

Corey: Right. The quantity of reviews, I think, sort of inherently says, “They’re more trustworthy even though they’re not rated as high, because this is only one.” As the older generation starts to notice these things, that trickle down. It’s obvious that younger folks would immediately put that together as well. It’s nice to see that the entire sort of age population is onboard with this and understands what these numbers mean.

Jennifer: Yeah. The next question, which was awesome, I think, is, “Which matters more? Top doctor by U.S. News and World Report,” because we all see the advertisements everywhere from some of the big hospitals, “or verified patient reviews?” 96.3% said verified patient reviews. They don’t care about the top doctor awards. What they care about are what other potential patients and people in the community are saying about the provider.

Corey: Hallelujah.

Jennifer: All right. The next one, “Where do you get information about your doctor?” 48% said they get info from their primary care physician.

Corey: Yeah. To me, that says that it is still important to have some sort of physician liaison or someone that is going to market your physicians to their peers and their referral partners in the area, because the drop-off from primary care physician to the next highest category, which was social media is pretty high. It’s a 28% difference from primary care physician down to social media, and then followed by word of mouth, internet search, and friends and family. Yeah, but I think we’re getting closer, and you’re starting to see a shift. If you look at social plus internet, because, really, I’m going to classify those as the same, I know the client wanted to separate them, then you’ve got… 32% is the next category. It’s getting closer and closer to a PCP. But again, this is an older population, so they’re probably getting it from their PCP. You’ve got to make sure that you’re in-network, and then yes, things matter like customer service and reviews, but it’s all coming from that original PCP.

Jennifer: Yeah. No, that makes sense.

Corey: Awesome. Then this is kind of the final thing because we’re not going to do all of them, but for this particular practice, we basically said, “All right. Everything aside, how did you actually hear about this practice?”

Jennifer: Overwhelmingly, internet search and then families and friends were the highest that were out there. Interestingly for this practice, they said radio and TV, and the practice doesn’t advertise on radio and TV. I’m not sure how much I trust all of the data, but it kind of backs up everything that we have been working towards with our patient-forward approach, and it just leans into reinforcing the strategies that we’ve already got in place. The data was really good, and I think it’s necessary to take a step back and ask your patients what it is that’s important to them so that when you’re putting together a marketing plan, you can be proactive rather than be so reactive.

Corey: Yeah, These were 15 of the 40-something questions, I think, that we had for them. I would say that obviously you don’t need to create some sort of big, in-depth focus group where you’re meeting offsite and you’re providing lunch and all of these other things. It doesn’t need to be like that, but it might make sense as you’re preparing for 2020 and 2021 to… Basically, if you can carve out a little bit of time to just walk out in the office and ask some of the patients what they think, what they’re hearing and start to collect some of this data, even anecdotally, so you can make informed decisions about your marketing and your… not only your budget, but also your messaging, it’s pretty simple to do. The answers will really help guide you as you’re trying to figure this stuff out. You don’t have to do it blind. Just go ask the butts in the chairs.

Jennifer: Absolutely. Butts in chairs, social media, your email list. I’m really bullish on focus groups this year, so we’re going to do focus groups with employees this year coming up. It’s time to start asking people what they think and stop assuming that you know.

Corey: Yeah. You don’t have to overthink it. Sort of my big point is you can start this today. You can go out there right now and do this.

Jennifer: That’s right. I think this is a good place to end it. With that, thanks for joining us. I’m Jennifer.

Corey: I’m Corey.

Jennifer: We’ll see you next time on the Dr Marketing Tips podcast. Thanks for coming.

Corey: Thanks. Guys.

Speaker 2: Thanks for listening to the DrMarketingTips.com podcast. If there’s anything from today’s show you want to learn more about, check out DrMarketingTips.com for our podcast resource center with all the notes, links, and goodies we mentioned during the show. If you’re not already a subscriber to our show, please consider pressing the subscribe button on your podcast player so you never miss one of our future episodes. If you haven’t given us a rating or a review yet on iTunes, please find a spare minute and help us reach and educate even more of our medical practice peers. Thanks again for listening, and we’ll catch you next time, doctor’s orders.

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