Referral Source Marketing in Today’s Environment

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Craig DouglasBy Craig Douglas, VP, Payer and Member Relations, VGM & Associates

Whether you realize it or not, DMEPOS companies today need to put a lot of strategy and thought behind their marketing efforts. You are likely marketing to a very diverse audience, so attempting to have one message that is effective for your entire audience, or to reach your entire audience through one method, is likely not going to be very effective.

Even if you are trying to keep things as simple as possible, you still should have multiple separate and unique marketing messages: one directed toward payers, one toward referral sources (e.g., physicians, hospitals, rehab facilities, etc.), and one toward your patients or direct customers. You must look at which talking points to focus on for each target audience.

In addition to that, the way in which you market may need to change periodically. Case in point: The COVID-19 pandemic may have disrupted some of your marketing efforts. If you did a lot of in-person marketing in the form of delivering company-specific materials or conducting periodic informational in-services to showcase the products and services you offer, you may not be able to do those as frequently as you did before, if at all. Many referral sources are now very strict about who they let in, for what purposes, and how frequently.

Let’s look at some steps you should consider to help your referral source marketing efforts in the current landscape. While the focus will be on individuals and organizations supplying care, I’ll touch on payers briefly too, as there is some overlap in tactics.

Knowing Your Market

As you are strategizing your marketing efforts, you want to make sure you know your market inside and out, as best you can. If you’ve been in business for some time, you likely already have a good idea of who your market is. Even still, defining and documenting your market is essential in creating a strategy. There are several questions you should ask yourself to get started:

Questions for Defining and Documenting Your Market:

  • Who are you contracted with from a payer perspective? And who are you not contracted with but would like to be?
  • What competitors exist in your area? How do you “stack up” against them? (Be honest. You’re only hurting yourself by exaggerating your accomplishments.)
  • What types of equipment are you most interested in receiving referrals for?
  • Which referral sources are ordering that type of equipment? Which are currently sending referrals to you?
  • What percentage of those referrals are you receiving? Which referral sources aren’t sending you anything at all yet?
  • How do they prefer to be marketed to? Do they have corporate policies that dictate how they can be marketed to? (Access to social media at work? Frequency of in-person visits? Monetary value limits on gifts or leave-behind items?)

Crafting the Most Effective Message(s)

Once you’ve determined which customer base you are going to market to, you then must craft an impactful message for them and decide how you are going to get that message to them...

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This article was originally featured in the Q4 2021 VGM Playbook: Optimizing Sales and Marketing in the DMEPOS Space. Download your copy today!

 

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