marketing agencies for doctors

What large marketing agencies for doctors won’t tell you

Many doctors have a solid opinion about marketing. It will come as no surprise because so many marketing offers are pushed in front of you and often contain high levels of promise. In this article, we offer an in-depth behind-the-scenes overview of what you should know about digital marketing as a surgeon or specialist in private practice. 

marketing agencies for doctors

What large marketing agencies for doctors won’t tell you

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

June 28, 2022

The myth about big agencies and big clients

big medical marketing agency

The first paradox to be aware of is that the big medical marketing agency you meet, might have a focus on scaling and growing its own operations, not yours. 

That’s right. There is a nuance. If the focus is on systemising and templating everything, the agency will look big, shiny and successful because there are a lot of staff. But does it bring you more customised work? Personalised service? Marketing expertise that helps you make well-informed choices instead of buying into generic packages nobody understands?

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"Big agencies will show you big clients and assume that that gives you confidence as a doctor. Personally, I feel more confident when someone tells me they are a small operator who values quality over quantity when I buy a service."

Looking at marketing agencies for doctors, you don’t want to be blinded by their appearance. What matters is not the size of the average customer. What matters is the results that are obtained, and as a private practice owner, your definition of results is a personal matter. It could mean:

  • More patients: filling your practice up to full capacity.
  • Prequalification: increasing surgical value and improving your online patient education so you spend time in consultations with the right type of prospective patients.
  • Leadership positioning: improving your overall digital profile so partnership and hospital opportunities are stimulated and your overall career across the public and private sector are supported by a contemporary, compelling and reliable online presence.
marketing agencies for doctors

Is your medical marketing team wasting your budget?

medical marketing team

A medical marketing team is a unique combination of people with specific skill sets. You don’t recruit this type of team the way you would recruit for a non-medical agency.

With larger marketing agencies for doctors and large agencies in general, there is this thing called the Ringelmann effect. Group size and group performance are known to affect the way a process is managed and service is delivered.

I saw this group effect at work long before I knew the name of the phenomenon. In large organisations, people often hide. Sometimes symbolically, taking all the time in the world to slowly move through a set of tasks so they can fill up the time their employment provides. At lower levels of concentration and without any ownership. Sometimes literally, masking a lack of commitment with something we could label as justifying their job in lengthy emails and notes or in meetings.

The research about the Ringelmann effect was done decades ago but with the ever-changing digital landscape, the size of a team matters, even more, when we are talking about a medical marketing team. Your highly specialised content needs to be understood, processed, visualised, re-packaged for the online consumer and distributed in a compliant and Google-friendly way.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"A medical marketing team that needs to grow because it serves too many customers, will end up allocating tasks to inexperienced staff. This will inevitably lead to one of the many disappointments that doctors have experienced in the field of digital marketing."

So when the massive reception desk and the dozens of workstations are initially flagging a high success rate when you visit a large medical marketing agency, think again. 

Scaling so more tasks are given to juniors is in the interest of the agency’s business growth, but how does it serve yours?

Many doctors will pay thousands of dollars every month because that first impression of a larger-scale agency convinced them that this had to be amazing.

The disappointment when promises turned out to be made of thin air came afterward. Marketing budgets being wasted are not an exception in the medical space, unfortunately and this is what inspired us to take a totally different approach in 2016 when we created Digital Practice.

Why you deserve more than ‘one-size-fits-all’

bespoke medical marketing

In the odd 15 years I have been working with surgeons and high-profile doctors, I have never met two doctors who could swap roles tomorrow. Simply because you take a unique course based on your training, fellowships, experience, particular interests, research and personality. 

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Founder Digital Practice

"Marketing is not about a package. Marketing is about understanding your profile as a doctor and helping you fine-tune the framework of your private practice as a business, always keeping a broader perspective if you are also pursuing a career in the public system."

The one-size-fits-all philosophy will never be presented to you in plain sight when a marketing agency sends you a sales pitch. What we see is that many teams will just keep repeating the same formulas and templates, because they have invested in the system.

Autonomous thought, custom strategic thinking and the creative process from which new ideas are born… would be the missing components in a typical one-size-fits-all marketing strategy. It feels like the agency shoehorns you into a particular package and you don’t really know what is being done this month for your business development.

Smaller medical marketing agencies remain open-minded. They start from your unique current situation as a doctor and take a 360-degree approach. Bespoke medical marketing does not start with the marketing buzz. It starts with you as the key figure in the business that is your medical practice. And probably one of the biggest strengths of the bespoke medical marketing strategies we build here at Digital Practice is the research. Patient search behaviour data underpin every paragraph and medical website section for each of our customers. That is how you only attract the traffic that your practice wants, at the pace you define when you choose the topics for your website.

If you want to read more about organic SEO for doctors, check out these excellent reference articles to gain a deeper understanding of private practice growth: 

The ‘I don’t know what they are doing’ problem

best agency for doctors

The best agency for doctors is the one that helps you achieve your goals. More patients.
Increased leverage to start your own group or join one. Status in the local community.
Leverage to negotiate with hospitals or the health department. Employer branding so you attract the best team members. 

Can you see why we believe that marketing really starts with you? The best agency for doctors in private practice is the one that asks: “Where do you want to be with this business, 12 or 24 months down the track?”.

Without red tape, with you being a customer that everyone in your medical marketing agency knows, it’s obvious that results will come and they will be different compared to what would happen in a one-size-fits-all agency.

The biggest problem in factory-style marketing agencies for doctors is that they are built like a factory. With key personnel that comes and goes. With policies that are driven by the numbers that are presented to the board. Focused on their own growth, not yours.

Because we love it when content works

content marketing for medical

Content marketing for medical b2b and b2c communication is our passion. Why? Because we combine advanced market research, design and development skills and a complete pathway in media and journalism roles, to achieve our goals for our customers. 

If we say that we truly believe small medical marketing agencies have a big advantage, we know what we are talking about and so do our customers.

Let's meet

Let’s talk about big results

business advice for doctors

Much of the business advice for doctors out there is about investments, reducing taxes and the perfect financial structure for your business. That’s great and helpful. But here at Digital Practice, we position ourselves at the other end of the spectrum. We help you attract more of the right patients for exactly the right consultations that lead to exactly the right types of treatments. So you can thrive academically, surgically and economically. Let’s talk if you are ready to talk about results! 

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