Healthcare Marketing: The Basics

We thought it would be nice to blog Kerry’s latest article in the Washoe County Medical Society Communicator, just in case you missed it. Enjoy! 


Healthcare Marketing: The Basics

It’s no secret that many doctors and healthcare organizations remain “marketing-shy” more than 30 years after the landmark 1977 Supreme Court case Bates V. The State Bar of Arizona, which made marketing legal for doctors and other professionals, lawyers included. State licensing boards also agreed to allow marketing in the early 1980s and since then many healthcare practices and organizations nationwide began marketing, however many physicians still feel uncomfortable because they are worried about coming across as “needy, cheesy or greedy.”

If that sounds like something you have thought, I understand your concern. After all, your most precious asset is your reputation and should be protected as such.

What’s important to remember is that the way you market your practice- and therefore the reputation you build- is completely up to you. Marketing, public relations and social media are all important avenues for creating positive influence and shaping how others think of you and your practice. With a strategic, cross-platform marketing plan, you’re telling current patients, prospective patients, colleagues, and the community at large what you do, and reminding them to think of you as an expert and most importantly, often.  The message that’s received depends entirely on the message that you send, so it is imperative to control and direct this process.

The main goal with marketing a healthcare practice is to grow the business by attracting more patients, but a well-rounded, personalized marketing plan will achieve much more for the provider.  Strategic marketing, public relations and social media can open the door to benefits for providers to:

  • Achieve profitable growth;
  • Attract cases that the doctors either enjoy or have special expertise for;
  • Protect and grow market share against competition;
  • And, build the professional reputation of the provider with the community and peers.

These high level objectives also translate into answers to challenges and opportunities such as:

  • Attracting more profitable cases;
  • Reaching “ideal patients”, directly and cost-effectively;
  • Earning more professional referrals;
  • Supporting a new location, provider or technology (or all of these);
  • Transitioning to a “cash business” or “all-referral” practice;
  • Standing out from the crowd in positive ways;
  • And, tastefully building and extending your reputation.

Healthcare marketing- done professionally and using proven, evidence based strategies and tactics- will help produce positive results, measureable growth, and enhance your reputation in favorable ways.


Kerry Sutherland is Principal at K. Sutherland Public Relations, a full-service public relations and marketing agency in Reno that specializes in marketing healthcare practices, public health issues and causes. Contact her at