Do you utilize a framework in your Nurse Practitioner practice? When you work with your patients and do your marketing?
Not sure …?
Chances are you do, even though you may not call it a framework.
Although there are formal frameworks, with fancy names, across all different fields, most of us have our own informal frameworks we use every day.
After all, a framework is nothing else but a tool to help us make structured decisions. They are a systematic way to help us organize our approach to problems so we can find solutions.
Think back to when you planned your last vacation; you applied some decision-making framework, didn’t you?
- You defined the problem… I want to go on vacation, but where?
- You did some research and found a few exciting places.
- You considered the pros and cons of the finalists.
- You picked a winner; you made your decision.
- You took action and booked your vacation.
What’s the Connection?
What does this have to do with your Nurse Practitioner practice and marketing?
Let me explain…
One of the most frequently asked questions we get is: “How do I get more patients… how do I market my practice?’
And I get it…
No Patients = No Practice. It’s a simple equation.
Ironically, it’s the same challenge all businesses face.
How do I get more clients for my business?
And that’s why marketing is so vital to the well-being and future of your practice.
But here is the problem…
While it’s easy to apply a framework when planning a vacation, doing the same to building your practice is far more challenging.
But it doesn’t have to be, not if you have a framework, not if you have a way of thinking and approaching the marketing of your practice!
And this is why I want to share the “The 4 Ps of Marketing” framework.
Don’t let the name fool you; I think the framework applies to everything in business beyond marketing.
The 4Ps of Marketing
What are they, and what do they include:
It sounds boring and abstract, but stick with me and let me explain.
Now I’d like you to stop for a moment; think about your business and the 4 Ps…
- At the core of every business is a product, a service, or both, a product and service.
- The product or service is available for purchase by customers at a specific price.
- The place refers to how and where the products or services are delivered to customers.
- The Promotion refers to the strategies used to market the product or services. The promotion also includes your customers, patients, or the audience you’re working with.
Sidenote… you’ll find the 4Ps listed as product, price, place, and promotion or as product, price, place, and people.
Please keep in mind that you don’t want to look at these 4 Ps in isolation. They interact with each other and influence one another. Tweaks and changes in one will affect the rest.
Also, while the 4 Ps provide a valuable framework for marketing your practice, they don’t cover every aspect. They’re not a framework for researching your market, building customer relationships, or delivering world-class customer service.
The Moral of the Story…
If you made it this far, it tells me you want to grow your practice and have some interest in marketing.
Kudos to you!
So here is what I want you to take away…
When you think about growing your practice, always consider all 4 Ps. From now on, it’s your framework for marketing and growing your practice.
And be sure to tailor the 4Ps to your specific situation.
For your Nurse Practitioner practice, the two points below are the most important ones to consider.
Although you may sell supplements or similar products in your office, your core “product” is most likely a service, not a tangible product.
What’s the difference, and why does it matter?
When you offer a tangible product to customers, it’s something they can see, touch, and feel, like a new car, a pair of shoes, or a piece of furniture. Tangible products are standardized, and for the most part, one is the same as the other.
But that’s not the case with a service; a service is an intangible. People can’t compare your service to a similar service down the street because services are performance-based.
Services are unique; they are consumed, can’t be owned or stored, and provide the bulk of their benefit while delivered.
The difference between tangible and intangible products is important to your marketing. Potential patients will evaluate you based on your credentials and your reputation. They will trust a referral from a friend, family, or another provider.
The takeaway: establish trust and credibility in your marketing; ask happy patients for referrals.
Compared to products, services, due to their nature, vary in performance and consistency. A patient may have a great experience one day but be bitterly disappointed at the next visit, all because there may have been a flood of patients or an emergency that took precedence.
The takeaway: try to be as consistent as possible in operating your office and delivering services.
As a service provider, you have a direct relationship with your patients. Their satisfaction with you and your office is directly influenced by the quality of interaction with you and your staff.
The Takeaway: create a friendly and attentive environment for patients. Make them feel welcomed and appreciated.
With the internet, access to a wide variety of marketing channels is available even to small businesses.
Traditional marketing methods are still available and still work. They are complemented by digital marketing methods such as social media, email and content marketing, search engine optimization, and pay-per-click advertising, to name a few.
It’s essential to match the audience to the channel… market to people where they are (not where you think they are).
The Takeaway: Choose your marketing channels wisely. Always match your audience to the channel. Limit the number of marketing channels you use and track your results.
The 4 Ps of marketing framework… product, price, place, and promotion is an essential tool in every NP’s marketing toolbox.
In healthcare, the product is an intangible service. Frequently, its perceived value is heavily influenced by trust toward and reputation of the provider.
Promotion utilizes traditional marketing methods and digital, online strategies to bring new patients into the practice.
In most practices, price is determined based on customary reimbursements and what other offices providing similar services charge.
Today, place in the framework may include a traditional office, telehealth provided from a home office, and various other settings, providing ever more accessible healthcare services to patients.
By understanding and embracing the 4 Ps of Marketing framework Nurse Practitioners can boost their marketing efficacy, expand their patient base, and grow their practices over time.
What are your thoughts about this framework…? Let us know what you think and leave a comment below.
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, LAc; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.”