Blog, The Hospital Finance Podcast®

How to Tell Whether Marketing is an Expense or an Asset [PODCAST]

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The Hospital Finance Podcast

In this episode, we’re pleased to welcome David Sanchez, the founder and CEO of Digitalis Medical and Miracle Recovery, to discuss how to tell whether marketing is an expense or an asset. 

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Highlights of this episode include:

  • How to measure marketing results
  • Types of marketing with the best return on investment
  • Why we’re seeing a jump in enrollment
  • Ideal marketing team
  • How to get started with a cost-effective marketing plan
  • How to scale marketing efforts without losing money

Kelly Wisness: Hi, this is Kelly Wisness. Welcome back to the award-winning Hospital Finance Podcast. We’re pleased to welcome David Sanchez, the founder and CEO of Digitalis Medical and Miracle Recovery. On one hand, David is helping healthcare brands build their profits and visibility through digital marketing. Through Miracle Recovery, he works to save lives from addiction. From being a nurse in the ER to scaling his own addiction treatment center from zero to seven figures, David is committed to making a huge impact on communities while also driving huge results from healthcare companies. In this discussion, David will discuss how to tell whether marketing is an expense or an asset. Thank you for joining us today, David.

David Sanchez: Thanks for having me. I’m looking forward to it.

Kelly: Yeah. Well, let’s go ahead and jump in then. How can you measure marketing results?

David: Well, first you got to see how much you’re putting into it, of course. [laughter] For all the CPAs out there, they would know very well how to measure all that stuff, all you’re putting into it. But then some of the stuff that is a little more difficult would be measuring the output, what you actually get from it. So that’s super important. You have to be able to track what’s coming in and what’s coming out very specifically. And there are tools nowadays to measure that a lot better than there were even five years ago.

Kelly: As a fellow marketer, yes, you are correct about that. And which types of marketing have the best return on investment?

David: There are so many different types. There’s traditional marketing. You have radio, newspaper, billboards. Those are much more difficult to determine the return on investment. Nowadays, you have digital marketing, which covers a lot of grounds. There’s SEO, which is search engine optimization. You’ve got paid advertising, which is like Facebook and Google ads on search engines and social media. You’ve got a bunch of different types. But really, content marketing is what has been proven over and over again to really get the best return on investment. So the studies that have been done say that content marketing costs 64% less and drives three times the results compared to traditional marketing. So that’s something that I always encourage people to do. And you can do it in a lot of different ways, but video is really, really powerful. It connects with people on a very deep level, especially when it comes to patient testimonials or explaining a surgical procedure or explaining, basically, what differentiates you from your competition. So, content marketing is something I always really encourage. And it’s not something that you necessarily see results on within a month or two months or six months, but it’s over the long haul. Long-term is where you really see the results, and it makes a massive impact. Generally, within six months to a year you’re seeing at least three times what you’re putting into it.

Kelly: Yes, I think the podcast would be a good example of that, wouldn’t it?

David: That’s a big one. Yeah.

Kelly: Yes. And what does the ideal marketing team look like to you?

David: First of all, you got to have somebody who’s decision making. So generally, that would be a CMO a lot of times, or a marketing manager. You’re going to want somebody that can measure things very effectively, to make decisions on what to stop, what to start, and really oversee the whole process. Because in marketing, you have to be able to look at it very analytically, be able to test things, start new efforts and stop, and make sure the whole thing fits together. So, it depends on the size of the organization. But from a hospital standpoint, I would recommend somebody who’s doing public relations, like a director of communications or something along those lines, who’s speaking for the facility and getting involved in the community, which is extremely valuable. Publicity is huge. And then on the other hand, somebody really needs to be managing everything that’s related to the digital stuff, digital communications or digital marketing. Because you have to be able to get into it on a really granular basis and dig into the details to measure the results and cut the things that are not working effectively, not bringing a return on investment, and to really double down and put all your efforts into what’s really working well.

Kelly: Yep. Completely agree with that. And how do you get started with a cost-effective marketing plan?

David: So, first of all, you’re going to want to start with a foundation. You have to be visible to the people who need to find you. So, for a hospital, generally, that’s going to be local directories, what we call local citations online. So that would be like Healthgrades,, WebMD, Yelp, all the really basic local directories that people use to actually find a facility. You’re going to want to establish, really, consistency for how you’re displaying your information on those. So, like a description, the images you’re using, the branding, like with colors and logo, make sure it’s consistent across the board, and actively getting reviews on those that are accurately reflecting the facility. So that would be a part of the foundation. And then from there, I mean, that’s one of the basics. Another thing is targeting the people that will be driving revenue for the facility. So what does your facility specialize in? So, it could be cardiac, could be orthopedics, could be robotic surgery, psychiatry. Whatever’s going to be really pushing the revenue and the profits, I would recommend getting behind content marketing as quickly as possible. And it doesn’t have to be super high budget. You can start very simply, even with video content from patients or video testimonials from staff. But it has to be something that connects on a very basic emotional level. Like I said, it doesn’t have to have super high production value. It doesn’t have to be shot in a studio. It can be with a cell phone, a patient or a staff member on a cell phone. You can use those for just really simple content on Facebook or Instagram or YouTube, and then you can promote that with paid ads to the people. You can target them so specifically nowadays to the people, the patients, that will bring the highest value and highest revenue to the facility. So that’s where I’d recommend starting, just a few real basic things. And then once you start seeing the return on investment come back, which is generally within a matter of a few months, you can continue building on that, but you want to have a foundation of a plan. I generally would do six months at a time of what type of content you’re going to produce, and make sure you’re targeting the right people specifically in your local area, and then continue building on that. And then you can use the profits from that to continue growing and expanding your efforts.

Kelly: Thank you. Those are some great tips, David. And how do you scale marketing efforts without losing money?

David: Sure. Yeah. Yeah, so that really comes back to how can you measure marketing results? So, most facilities would have something like Google Analytics or another analytics tool. Google Analytics is pretty much the gold standard because Google brings in 88% of search engine traffic. So, it’s a free tool. It’s very easy to set up. Your website manager can install that if you don’t have it already. And so you start with measuring what you have, what phone calls or form submissions are coming in. You have to be able to record new patients, how they heard about you. Obviously, referrals are big, but when people are finding you on search engines, through billboards, through digital media, you have to know how they found you to be able to actually put a monetary amount on those leads that are generated. So, you have to start out by measuring those results. And then from there, it’s called attribution. Attribution is where is the revenue coming from, which channels are producing the patients that are getting high-revenue procedures or high-revenue services from the facility. So that’s really where it starts. Once you’re getting accurate information from there, you can say, “Okay. So, promoting this surgical procedure that this orthopedic group is providing, through Facebook and YouTube ads, that’s bringing in 3 to 500 percent return on investment. We really need to keep that, focus on that, expand that, grow it. But then over here, this other service, we put equal or maybe comparable amounts of resources into for this campaign, but we’re really not seeing the results for that. Maybe we should cut that in half this quarter, or maybe we should cut it by 25%, or maybe we should reduce or eliminate it and then focus all our efforts on what really is working.” So you just continue doing that over time, measuring, getting feedback, measuring, getting feedback. And you continue iterating, basically, on what’s working.

Kelly: It is definitely an iterative process, yes. Well, thank you so much for this great information and for joining us today, David.

David: Yeah. My pleasure.

Kelly: And if listeners want to learn more, what’s the best way to reach you and/or your company?

David: You can find me on LinkedIn. My link is David Sanchez, RN. And then also our website would be great,

Kelly: Great. Well, thank you again for sharing your knowledge on this topic with us in this episode. And thank you all for joining us for this episode of the Hospital Finance Podcast. Until next time.

[music] This concludes today’s episode of the Hospital Finance Podcast. For show notes and additional resources to help you protect and enhance revenue at your hospital, visit The Hospital Finance Podcast is a production of BESLER, SMART ABOUT REVENUE, TENACIOUS ABOUT RESULTS.


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