Why Are So Many Practitioners “Dingo Marketers?”

What is a ‘dingo marketer? That’s the label for a well intended, but totally misguided, mindset where a practitioner figuratively chews his own arm off to escape the “trap” of doing practical marketing.

Practice owners, usually successful practitioners, are eager to learn what’s working in marketing, and generally, how to efficiently and cost-effectively advance their goals.

To illustrate, here’s a recent, real-world encounter.

True story. Recently, a well-credentialed practitioner approached me at a healthcare conference. He proudly displayed his business cards. He had created the cards online for free. With considerable pride he announced that (a) he doesn’t do marketing, (b) the cards are his only promotional effort, and (c) his budget was zero.

Of course I was curious to know how that was working for him.

His eager response was that he spends little or nothing, perhaps believing that budget savings was the end-game. Commence dingo arm-chewing.

But was he realising any practice growth, I asked. Well, no.

Did the zero-budget business cards bring in new patients or referrals. Well, no.

And I pressed a little further, it seems his market share was eroding to the competition. Hummm…well, yeah.

So here was the classic “dingo marketing” at work. Not all “dingo” practitioners are as severe as this particular illustration. But others I know cut corners or hold back on parts of their marketing efforts to some degree, usually with the same diminished results. When the objective is to spend less (or nothing), the results are little or nothing. Zero is no game at all, and by chewing off his arm, his “savings” have actually produced a negative in the form of lost opportunity, no revenue and shrinking market share.

This practitioner might not know it but everyone in business/practice does marketing. It may be effective, or in this instance, totally ineffective, but denial is not a working game plan. The reality is: Yes, you do have competition. And right now, some extremely intelligent, business-savvy practitioners are engineering aggressive ways to take patients from you.

The true test in healthcare marketing is an accurate measurement of Return-on-Investment (ROI). I know many providers who happily budget thousands of dollars per month because the investment is delivering a million dollars in revenue.

I have yet to meet a business-card-toting, non-marketing-health practitioner whose business was thriving on neglect. Ultimately, “dingo marketers” have the choice to do