So you’ve discovered the enormous benefits of purchasing pre-owned, refurbished medical equipment like MRIs, CTs, C-arms, PETs or other imaging devices. And you’re feeling pretty smart. After all, you get the ideal imaging equipment for your facility without paying full price for the shiny new toy. If you were wise enough to buy from Atlantis Worldwide, you like the fact that they put all pre-owned equipment through a no-holds-barred process that ensures the highest quality standards, rock star performance and reliability and a price point that makes you look like a genius. In other words, it’s as good as new, without the OMG price tag. You also like the fact that Atlantis Worldwide provides an amazing warranty and the exact kind of service contract that will keep it running like new—without the headaches. Think your job is over?
Actually, it’s just beginning. Because if you don’t have a strategic marketing plan in effect, you won’t get the most out of your purchase—or your equipment. If you want to maximize the impact (and profitability) of your new equipment, you have to let your suppliers (i.e. referring physicians) and your end users (patients) KNOW that you have what they need.
So what do you do?
- First, you have to define who your target audience is. And in most cases, you have several target audiences. Of course, you have to let physicians and other healthcare providers know about the availability of your new equipment. After all, they’re the ones who refer patients to your facility. But the reality is, today’s patients are much more in tune with “what’s out there.” They are taking much more active roles in their healthcare. Instead of blindly doing whatever their family physician or specialist says to do, they hit the internet. They do research. They go to chat rooms and talk to other people about their recommendations and experiences. They research new technologies. They compare facilities. They do their homework and ask intelligent questions before they choose a facility, treatment or caregiver. It’s important to understand who your end user is, as well as your source of referrals.
- Understand the benefits of your new equipment. What does it do? What makes it better or different from other equipment in the marketplace—or even in your own facility! Make sure you understand both the physical and emotional benefits to all of your target markets. Will a patient be more comfortable? Will a physician feel confident about the equipment and the personnel who will be administering the service? Look at the benefits from all points of view.
- Understand the negatives, too. What are the limitations of your equipment, facility or personnel. If you over promise and under deliver, people will talk, post negative reviews in chat rooms and let the world know (or at least their own little piece of it) about their unhappiness.
- Talk to the folks who sold it to you. Hopefully, you’re working with Atlantis Worldwide, because we can provide you with best practices and lots of market-proven marketing strategies for your consideration. Just remember—a cookie cutter marketing approach is rarely effective. You will need to devise a plan to fit your specific situation. Be sure to ask what kind of support you’ll get when you buy equipment from any vendor.
- Define your geography. You don’t want to select marketing options that aren’t cost effective. You don’t want to promote your new equipment, facility or service to a geographic area that simply won’t travel to your facility or use your services. Advertising in Yellow Pages or even traditional newspapers and magazines are most likely not the best places for your marketing dollars.
- Understand who your competition is. Who are they? What are they saying? How are they better, worse or different from you?
- Update your website. Be sure to “celebrate” the fact that your facility has this equipment and what the physical and emotional benefits are. This is a great place to provide lots of information about the new equipment and service, because more words don’t cost you more. Product and service benefits in ads, brochures or other marketing materials must be succinctly written because space is more limited. Your website isn’t.
- Develop a short benefit-oriented statement or tagline that communicates the benefits of your new equipment simply. For example, “Home of Low Dose CT” or “Ask Your Physician if a Low Dose CT is Right for You.”
- Educate your staff. Make sure they can speak intelligently about your new equipment or service. Create an informative “cheat sheet” for your staff to refer to. Have them mention the new equipment or service when making appointments—“you can now choose digital mammography instead of traditional mammography, if you prefer.” Think about preparing a Frequently Asked Questions brochure or sign for your office, as well.
- Establish a budget. You can’t make a plan without knowing how much you can spend to get the word out.
- Create a plan and stick to it. A strategic marketing plan doesn’t just happen. It takes research, planning and then execution. Sure, if something isn’t working, rethink it. But make sure anything you do achieves the goals you’ve set for your marketing plan. Spending $1,000 in a charity program at your kid’s school may make you feel warm and fuzzy, but if it doesn’t help you get the patients you want and need—and if you don’t have money to burn, don’t do it.
Call Atlantis Worldwide Today for your refurbished and used medical imaging equipment needs at 800-533-3356 or email us now!
Meet the Author: Norm Tessell, FACHE