For most Ambulatory EMR / EHR Vendors that sell to small clinics (less than 10 providers), marketing is geared as if it is a B2B sale. It makes sense on surface.
What is B2B Marketing?
B2B marketing is about meeting the needs of other businesses, and a medical clinic is a business. Marketing to business has following distinctions:
- Complex decision-making. Target audience consisting of roles with changing individuals that may have different motivations and/or personal interests.
- Buyers are more 'rational' than emotional.
- Products are more complex - EMR / EHR / Practice Management systems are certainly complex.
- B2B buyers are long-term buyers.
- B2B buyers are very demanding.
What is B2C Marketing?
Business-to-consumer market purchase more on emotion. They are more interested in the benefit of the product. They will want to hear more about how a product or service helps them and what benefits it brings to them personally. With EHR, we find that the buyer is the provider/owner of the practice that looks at his/her ease of use more than other members of staff.
Do Physicians buy like a business or consumer?
When you are marketing to a 'consumer' you want to focus on the benefits of the product. Their decision is more emotional. Providers (Consumers) are less likely to be interested in a lengthy marketing message. They will want you to get right to the point. Consumers don't want to work to understand your benefits, instead they will want you to clearly point out the benefits to them. Your most effective marketing strategies will focus on the results and the benefits that your product or service will bring to them.
Most EHR Vendors that cater to small practices, I am sure, see the distinction. You can certainly classify a medical clinic as a business, but the Physician buyer in most cases behaves like a consumer.
When consumers buy simple 'consumables', insurance policies, or a house, they don't buy alone - a partner/spouse is frequently involved. Haven't we seen parallels in EHR buying?
Why should we market to Physicians with a B2C strategy?
As EHR marketers, we have two goals.
- Create memorable brands with sometimes less-than-memorable products.
- Fuel sales reps with high-quality leads.
Physicians are humans after all. Drew Eric Whitman talks about Buyer psychology in his book. No matter who a person is or what their socioeconomic background is, people are controlled by these powerful desires:
- Survival, life extension
- Enjoyment of Food
- Freedom from fear, pain and danger
- Comfortable living conditions
- To be superior, to win
- Care and Protection of loved ones
- Social Approval
Physicians as humans have the same needs. Therefore, people buy products and services that fulfill these basic desires, completely unknown to them; subconsciously.
Take a serious look at how you are presenting to Physicians. You will be amazed at the results.