Marketing Basics for Financial Advisors and Physicians

On Differences and Similarities

By David K. Luke; MIM

[Investment Advisor]

The difference between internal marketing and external marketing for physicians is that internal marketing is the management strategy of improving satisfaction by making patients aware of the positive differences in the physician’s practice –versus- other modern or traditional alternatives that the doctor might externally use [yellow pages, coupons, TV, radio, internet, blogs, etc].

Now, compare marketing with advertising, which attempts to draw patients to the medical practice or clinic using more expensive channel distribution means and/or media messaging.

The “X” Factor

Internal marketing gives the patient “something extra” during the visit that tends to make them pleased, satisfied – or better yet – delighted!

In show business, Simon Cowell calls this something extra the “X” factor.

Whether it is a “Patient Bill of Rights” or just making sure that patients are treated fairly, and with respect throughout the process, turns the patient into a practice advocate instead of a patient from hell.

Improved listening/communication can come in the form of an attentive and caring human ear, enhanced bedside manner, or technology like P[C]RM (Patient {Client} Relationship Management) tools and/or eMRs, for example.

Sloppy Medical Office Procedures

Having office staff involved, by noticing improvements, can also help with the implementation of a successful internal marketing strategy. Sloppy office procedures can be cleaned up, scheduling access management can be revamped, and any administrative mix-ups can be avoided.

Negative practices such as “we enforce a minimum $50 office visit fee” should be stopped, as this casts a negative attitude on all patients, not just future deadbeats.

An effective P[C] RM strategy can increase patient satisfaction and be inexpensive to implement and maintain, especially in light of modern advertising tools for medical practices.

Financial Advisor Comparisons 

A physician’s internal marketing program is comparative to an FA’s internal marketing program, in that both methods are much more cost effective and yield better results than traditional external marketing or advertising.

For an FA, the practice of encouraging referrals can be done discreetly without making the existing clients uncomfortable.

An FA practice that is “referable” is one in which there are consistent standards and procedures in place. This creates a comfort factor with existing clients and assures them that when they refer their friends and family they will also receive consistent quality treatment.


An FA can implement procedures similar to a medical practice by training staff to point out and recognize office procedures that might be improved. Letting clients know they are appreciated and that referrals are accepted sounds like obvious advice, but is often ignored by too many Financial Advisors, and even doctors.

Editor’s Note: David K. Luke is currently enrolled in the online chartered professional designation program.


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3 Responses

  1. Marketing Secrets of Not-so-Successful Financial Advisors

    David – The Multi-Financial Securities Corporation looked at the answers 700 advisers gave on an April survey covering marketing and practice management, and then cross-matched their answers to the firm’s revenue per principal.

    The results identify the top drivers of revenue for advisory firms, and those not so! Any thoughts?



  2. How to gain patients through effective PR

    You can’t spell practice without “PR.”

    Noted above are three easy in-house healthcare PR tactics you can start using now.



  3. Digital marketing to physicians is amazing …. And concerning

    I’ve written about physicians’ financial conflicts of interest at The Upshot. I’ve made a Healthcare Triage episode, too, if you prefer that medium.

    As this discussion goes more public, overt marketing to physicians has decreased. For instance, visits from sales representatives have gone from 77% of physicians in 2008 to 55% in 2013.

    But, there are new, digital ways to market to docs. A new piece in the NEJM highlights just a few.

    Aaron Carroll MD via Ann Miller RN MHA


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