Hiring an Medical Practice Marketer
By: Tina Bell Director of Marketing, HealthCARE Express As an Medical Practice owner, you probably have the interview process down for hiring nurses, receptionists, and medical providers. In fact, if you have a medical background, it is very easy for you to interview on skills for these positions. What you may not be good at is hiring someone to market your Medical Practice. Don’t feel alone. One of the top requests I get weekly at Medical Practice Success is to provide hiring tips for adding a marketer to the Medical Practice’s staff. As the director of marketing at HealthCARE Express, I have been responsible for building our marketing and sales team for our different clinics for the last three years. When I first started hiring marketing coordinators for our individual clinics, I looked for someone with a background in traditional marketing. I soon learned that while having those skills is an added benefit, the most successful marketers I have hired have had a strong background in sales. Understand the Marketing Role Before you decide to hire someone for marketing, you should set goals for what you expect the added salary expense will add to your business. If you want to grow your referral base from area doctors, hiring someone with a background in pharmaceutical sales or physician recruitment is a good idea. If you want to grow the number of companies utilizing your occupational medicine services, hiring someone with outside sales experience is a plus. If you are looking for someone to manage your social media marketing, obviously you will want to look for someone with a background in internet marketing. In reality, you probably want someone with experience in all three areas. Finding that person is rare. The good news is, if you hire someone with the right personality, all of the skills can be taught. If, however, you hire someone with all the skills and no personality, you will be setting the new marketer up for failure. Inside vs. Outside Sales At HealthCARE Express, our marketing coordinators primarily fill an outside sales role. During interviews they are told that 80 percent of their time will be spent outside of the office marketing the clinic to area businesses, daycares, schools, and at community events. The biggest mistake we have made in the past is hiring people with inside sales or marketing experience. Most people with inside sales or marketing experience may be great at talking on the phone or coming up with marketing concepts. The biggest problem with them however is it becomes hard to get them to leave the comforts of their office setting to actually market your clinic in the community. Your front desk staff and nursing team members can help you with inside sales and marketing tactics. If you are going to spend money on a marketing salary, find someone who wants to spend time outside selling the concept of your Medical Practice. And make sure the person you hire has experience selling and marketing companies in the same stage as your Medical Practice. If you are a start-up business, you need a marketer with experience marketing start-up concepts. If you have been open for 10 or more years, you need a marketer with experience marketing and building established patients. Skill Set Once you have determined the marketer has the personality you need, make sure they also have the skills. To start with, your marketing coordinator needs great written and communication skills. Your marketing coordinator should be able to write press releases on a bi-monthly basis, pitch stories to area radio and television stations, and be able to answer media inquiries as needed. Additionally, they need to be able to coordinate newsletters you send to your patients. During the interview process, ask your marketing coordinator to write a press release on a certain topic. Your marketing coordinator should also be organized. They will be responsible for coordinating your monthly, quarterly, or yearly contracts for advertising in the newspaper, on television and radio, and on the internet. They will also have to coordinate ordering supplies for health fairs, community events, and in-house marketing. They will need to be ready to stock local apartment complexes, area RV parks, hotels, and even the local Chamber with promotional literature about your Medical Practice on at least a quarterly basis. In order to be successful, your marketing coordinator must be a multi-tasker who is not afraid to put in long hours when needed. Smart and Gut I ran across an article on hiring for marketing recently that said to remember two words when hiring a marketer: Smart and Gut. Simply put, look for “smart” when interviewing and trust your “gut”. Smart people will quickly pick up knowledge about what your Medical Practice does. They will adapt to your company culture and instinctively know how to transition their skill set into your company. And no matter what position you hire for, you should always trust your gut. If the marketing candidate sitting across the table from you rubs you the wrong way, they will probably rub your potential clients the wrong way too.