Thursday, September 4, 2008

Chiropractic Marketing Lesson to Be Learned From Chiros Declaring Bankruptcy

by Frank Sardella

A recent conversation with a Bankruptcy attorney shockingly revealed a trend of chiropractors recently filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. How is this possible?

On another occasion, while I was grocery shopping late one night, I saw a doc I knew stocking shelves! It turns out he had closed his doors, given up altogether and was considering studying to become a physical therapist. How could this be?

Yet another chiropractor recently mentioned that he took a part-time job to "make ends meet" while "things were slow". Why were they so slow?

As bizarre and random as these things seem to be, there is a pattern and a definite valuable lesson to be learned from all this - a lesson that may save a practice or a life: chiropractic marketing savvy.

What Did The Bankrupt and Moonlighting Chiropractors Have In Common?

While it is known that chiropractic does not generate the highest income of all healthcare professions, it is not this fact that causes such financial problems. It is a lack of chiropractic marketing know-how, with the basics of the subject unknown and random campaigns leading to no return on the investment.

The tragedy is that, through no fault of their own, docs were missing the most fundamental components that govern successful campaigns, basics which are apparent but often overlooked.

The TYPE of Marketing Chosen Is Never to Blame.

Name any type of marketing you ever tried and failed at and I will show you a hundred chiropractors who used it successfully. You could show me a hundred more failures, and I'll find another hundred successes. We would go on and on.

In point of fact, it is not the choice of promotion type that causes failure.

So, What IS to Blame for Failed Promotional Efforts and Financial Crashes?

It seems odd that the type of promotion chosen cannot possibly be to blame, assuming a decent type was used. But nonetheless it works out true. So if not that, what then? It must be something in the planning or administration of the marketing - and it is.

It is the administration and coordination of chiropractic marketing that drives it and makes it effective. Though it is not complex when done right, it can be very touchy if not done in the correct order or sequence and with just the right frequency and regularity. This reveals why two practices can use the same marketing types and get drastically different results.

Why Didn't They Teach This Stuff In Chiropractic School?

Through no fault of your own, you missed this one. In all your years of college, you didn't once learn about any of it, even if you minored in marketing as an undergrad. Colleges teach "branding" and other confused concepts rather than the things that really count to keep a business afloat and alive.

You learn patient communication skills and are expected to put these to use with "potential patients" (which is what we call every member of your community who is not under your care). The problem is these are two COMPLETELY different contexts and require near opposite approaches.

How Do You Get a Practice Off the Ground And Keep It From Splattering On the Pavement?

While it would be impossible to give you a crash course in one short article, chiropractic marketing can be mastered by finding good, solid chiropractic marketing ideas, planning a campaign and a schedule of frequent, regular promotional steps using the most cost effective channels that can be found and driving it, pushing it all the way - persisting through even times when it seems not to be working. Trusting that it will you will prevail.

The greatest weapon you have is the ability to realize when you don't totally know what you're doing and ask someone for help who does indeed know. That is your failsafe.

What Can You Learn From a Bunch of Bankrupt Chiros?

As evidenced by bankrupt and moonlighting docs, chiropractic marketing is not something you mess with if you do not know exactly what to do. And it is certainly not something you do randomly.

What can you learn from failing predecessors? Don't attempt something you don't know enough about and know enough to know you don't know all about it. And then you can start winning.

I hope this helps.

Best of luck in practice.

Frank Sardella
(845) 219-1101