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Aligning Physicians with Modern Marketing Practices

By healthgrades  
   December 04, 2017

As interactive digital experiences become more ingrained in everyday life, they are changing the way consumers relate to healthcare services. One in 20 online searches is now health-related.1 And about 70% of hospital traffic comes from search.2 Today’s healthcare consumer is eager for information, and healthcare marketers benefit from consumer engagement at every stage of the decision-making process.

Although marketers have a strong incentive to engage with audiences online, physicians — who are often partial to more traditional marketing — are more reluctant. In a recent poll, 46% of healthcare marketers said resistance to change in their organization is a barrier to digital marketing efforts.3 Effectively working through these challenges can enable healthcare organizations to take an active, ongoing role in consumers’ decision-making process around health services.

To align physicians with modern marketing practices, we have outlined four strategies healthcare marketers can take to garner the necessary support.

1. Define marketing.

Those who are unfamiliar with the business of marketing tend to blur the lines between sales, marketing, and advertising. It’s important to create the distinction between each activity. Offer some clarity on the purpose, functions, and goals of marketing. Share consumer insights and trends. This transparency can help physicians understand the need for digital tactics.

2. Support your efforts with data.

Physicians are trained to understand evidence-based research. Traditional methods of marketing simply cannot measure ROI the way digital practices do. Measure the metrics that are most important for reaching your organization’s goals, and report the results. By providing a quantitative analysis, healthcare marketers can help physicians process the information in a familiar manner.

3. Seek physician expertise. 

Physicians are problem solvers by nature. Invite them into the strategic process by asking them technical questions related to patient care. Prompt them to talk about their challenges and successes. Not only will you build a more communicative relationship, youll also likely come away with some compelling stories to work into your content. 

4. Shift to video.

Traditional marketing methods such as billboards and newspaper ads give physicians a sense of recognition. The limitations of these media, however, are many.  For the physician who enjoys a more public presence, healthcare marketers should experiment with video campaigns.

With over 50% of users now favoring mobile devices over desktops, audiences want content they can easily consume.4 This approach is win-win-win — marketers have more control over messaging, the consumer connects with the brand in a new way, and the physician receives the desired exposure.

Final thoughts

Closing the gap between physicians and hospital marketers is critical for both organizational success and a satisfying consumer experience. This starts with proactive leadership that champions the role of digital marketing to meet the needs of the demanding healthcare consumer. A united effort will enhance consumer engagement and effectively prove the value of integrated marketing ROI to physicians and the C-suite. 

To learn more about enhancing engagement and improving access for consumers, visit Healthgrades.

1. Google Engage, “Connect Healthcare.” YouTube, March 9, 2016.

2. 2016 Google/Millward Brown Digital “Path to Treatment” study.

3. “The 3rd Annual State of Digital Marketing 2017,”

4.  Agrawal, AJ,  7 Content Marketing Tips for Healthcare Companies. January 17, 2016. Retrieved from:


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