Cover Story: Doctor, Heal Thyself
Doctor, Sell Thyself
Doctors were perhaps the last holdouts among professionals, Bakewell says. They just weren't marketing themselves—until now.
"They couldn't do what we do before," he says. "They just couldn't afford it. That's one of the biggest reasons. Very few agencies do practice marketing. The only ones they'll do it with are typically people who are doing elective procedures who can afford to do major brochures."
Plastic surgeons, for instance, already market directly to consumers.
But among the other physicians who are marketing, many of them are spending their money in all the wrong places. PracticePlus fixes that, Bakewell says.
"I mean, some of these practices —they're grossing $25 [million], $30 million a year," he explains. "They're doing virtually no physician-to-physician communication. Some of them are trying to do consumer; you'll see the billboards and occasionally you'll see the TV or hear the radio—whatever. Hardly any of them are promoting their capabilities to where they get the majority of their patients everyday, which is referring physicians. So that's why we think this is working so well."
Besides that, he says, the hospitals that are offering the products and services of PracticePlus to these physicians are seeing another benefit. "It's a loyalty tool for a health system with affiliated—some call them voluntary—not-owned practices," Bakewell says.
And he thinks healthcare providers will stay loyal to PracticePlus, too.
"Health systems are a notoriously difficult … prospect to go after, because everybody wants to do business with them because they can aggregate," Bakewell explains. "They're typically multi-billion dollar organizations. They've got a lot of buying power. And they enable you to get to doctors, which everybody wants to do."
But, he continues, "going doctor-to-doctor is something that's very hard to do profitably for any business. ... Because of the fact that we've been at it on the 1-8OO-DOCTORS side for several years, because we have a absolutely amazing group of advisory board members. … We've got a bit of an advantage in that it's going to be hard for somebody else to break into that group of prospects easily."