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In this episode, Barbara and Len discuss:
- What are the biggest issues companies face when running a digital marketing campaign
- How will you establish a marketing budget
- What is AI, and how does it work?
“It involves determining all the major factors, including sales and marketing, contributing to your customer acquisition costs. Once you have it, you will have the necessary information to calculate your return on marketing.” Len Ward
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Connect with Barbara Hales:
Business Website: www.TheMedicalStrategist.com
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Dr. Barbara Hales: Welcome to another episode of Marketing Tips for Doctors. I’m your host, Dr. Barbara Hales. Today, we have with us Len Ward.
Len Ward: Hi, Doctor. Thanks for having me.
Dr. Barbara Hales: With over 26 years of experience in entrepreneurship, business, finance, and digital marketing, why consulting specializes in marketing, ROI, auditing, consumer acquisition, cost allocation, and digital marketing consulting. We will help you make sense of your marketing numbers. And instead of diving into different strategies to market your company, word consulting ensures you are thinking about innovation and not just optimization. In short, you will learn the intelligence behind marketing investment decisions.
Welcome to the show, Len.
Len Ward: Thanks for having me.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Len, the biggest issues companies face when running a digital marketing campaign is debatable, but what do you think the biggest issues are?
Len Ward: I think there are two issues. But the number one issue people have with digital marketing campaigns is they do not know the proper amount of money to spend. So they feel the return on the investment should be larger than the investment they put in there. So if they’re putting in $1, they’re expecting a lot more from that dollar than what it should be. Secondly, even if they know what to invest in digital marketing, the biggest problem is they don’t know where to allocate that money. And allocating the money is predicated on where your sales process funnel is or your funnel or pipeline, however, you want to refer to it, wherever the holes are in that pipeline to get your patients in the front door. So those are the two biggest issues I think are consistently challenging the digital marketing role.
Dr. Barbara Hales: How does the company typically decide how much money to allocate to that?
Len Ward: Well, you have to start off with everybody will come in and say I don’t see a return on investment, or I’m looking for a return on investment. Return on Investment starts by identifying the actual number you’re going after. You can’t establish a return on investment unless you have something to weigh it against, whether that’s the number of patients you’re getting in the front door, whether it’s the amount of revenue you’re looking to bill. But that’s exactly how it starts. Once you identify the money you’re going after, the revenue target will say, then you have to go in and say, how many patients do I need to hit that revenue target? You take a step back, and then you identify what my pipeline looks like. And then right there is where your marketing budget starts emerging that it’s like, okay, I’m looking at the holes in my sales pipeline or my funnel. And it’s obvious that I have to allocate money in a couple of different areas, then you go to the platforms and identify what that bidding environment looks like.
So if you are an office and need a lot of leads right now, you’re going to be living in the ad world, which is a prohibitively expensive place to be advertising. So you go in, try to work on some keywords, work with your digital agency, work with your marketing team, and identify what you believe are the keywords or the user intent to find your services. And then you start building out a budget. And then, obviously, there are some KPIs and numbers. But that is truly how you try to establish a marketing budget. Too often, companies will come up with a marketing budget after they’ve looked at their operating expenses, and look at a lot of different things and say, This is what I have leftover from marketing. Those days are long gone. And you will not succeed in digital marketing if marketing is the last conversation on the operational expenses for the calendar year.
Using AI in Marketing
Dr. Barbara Hales: Have you converted to AI in your marketing yet?
Len Ward: So we’re just starting to look at AI. I don’t think it’s just going to disrupt the marketing industry. I think it’s going to walk in and destroy the marketing industry. And I don’t say that too lightly. I was fortunate enough at my age, to date myself, I’ve been around since the internet kind of started emerging. I remember when I first owned a digital agency, we were optimizing for 15 search engines, not just Google. I was also fortunate when I worked on Wall Street to watch the rise of digital happen. And a lot of people were talking about how much that was going to change the way people advertised and interact with people, AI is going to do the same thing. So I think with marketing, what’s going to happen with AI, it’s going to take over your copywriting. It’s going to take over your strategy. It’s going to take over a lot. And I do think companies need to prepare for it. But I will say this. As much as we all want to race to AI and I’m right there with everybody trying to get in the front door, I think we have to let this play out just a little bit and try to find out exactly what they’re doing because Google and Bing and everybody’s now saying they’re integrating AI with advertising and so forth. I think that’s just a really nice way to say hey, we’re going to try to profit off the term AI. So make sure you keep your ad dollars flowing. But I don’t think we know what will happen for another year, but marketing people better be ready for AI.
Dr. Barbara Hales: So, what do you think digital marketing will look like in 2025? Do you think it is just well going to be AI?
Len Ward: I believe that, in my personal opinion, AI is not going to replace critical thinking that we know, thank God. But I do believe AI will probably encompass about 75% of marketing. If I had to predict, I believe marketing teams are going to be down to about two to three people. And so whatever platforms are wrapped around that will be running your campaigns. So it’s the companies that have mastered the investment in marketing are the ones that are going to succeed. It’s the ones who are going to have good creativity, although I do think AI is going to kind of replace that. And those two people are the ones that are going to succeed. So I believe marketing departments will be cut by 75%. And I believe the ones who truly have a good product, like a game-changer separator, are the ones that are going to make it. So marketing is going to look very different. I think it’s going to be a lot of people coming out of college with, quote-unquote, no longer marketing degrees. And that’s a good thing.
Dr. Barbara Hales: So, for our listeners out there, could you explain to them what AI is and how one converts over to that?
Len Ward: So artificial intelligence, right now, the easiest form to understand is ChatGPT. That’s the Microsoft product. This is the one Elon Musk put a lot of money behind. ChatGPT has a rapid, fast way in which you can crawl the internet and formulate and put together an answer predicated on the questions you’re asking. It can also do the same thing with creativity, meaning you can create an actual like image for yourself. If you say create a purple duck walking down the street in New York City, it can create that, although it’s really not there. However, the conversation through chatGPT is very interesting because the way it scrolls and crawls the internet and harvest data can give you answers that in the past may have taken you customer surveys, days upon days if not weeks to scroll on the internet reading, and trying to put an entire thesis together and saying this is what I think it’s going to be ChatGPT digest all the stuff that the humans have ever created and says this is what your answer is.
The problem with ChatGPT is that a good 35 to 40% of it may not be accurate because some of the stuff you’re looking at online is really not accurate. But it’s going to change the way we do jobs. Like instead of having somebody do a test for you, you’re probably going to ask for an AI interactive device. Hey, can you handle it for me? Hey, can you do that for me? So the stuff per se of marketing, like, can you build this campaign for me? Can you tell me how to fix this on a website? That’s the kind of stuff it’s going to handle. So I hope that kind of explains it. And I think the actual explanation of AI will probably change slightly over the next six months.
Map Out an ROI Campaign From Marketing
Dr. Barbara Hales: How can someone truly map out an ROI campaign from marketing?
Len Ward: That comes back again to understanding what your targeted goal is and then really understanding what your customer acquisition cost and your lifetime value are. So you have to really understand what you’re investing in your customer acquisition cost is the investment in your customer acquisition costs properly allocated across the holes in your pipeline, and then weighing that against the client’s lifetime value. So if your customer acquisition cost is $100, and your lifetime value of a client is $1,000, meaning they will come up 10 times and spend $100 with you, your investment in marketing is 10 to one. For every dollar you put into sales and marketing, you’re getting $10 back, which is the proper way to look at a return on investment. What you cannot do when looking at return on investment is trying to pull in operating expenses and say, “Oh well, you have that. I had this, I had that. It’s identifying all the main components that go into your customer acquisition costs, which are marketing and sales. And once you have that, you now have the foundation of identifying what your return on marketing is.
Dr. Barbara Hales: How do you help medical practices get patient acquisition?
Len Ward: How do we help medical get patients? Okay, so you mean patient acquisition costs? Or do you mean just obviously get patients in the front door?
Dr. Barbara Hales: Are you involved in getting patients through the front door?
Len Ward: Yeah, we had worked with medical facilities in the past, so currently, right now, when I owned a digital agency, I owned a full-scale digital agency, two of them. We did work with medical facilities and brought them in, so it was the classic Pay Per Click retargeting, geofencing, email drip campaigns, and all the touchpoints. So if you are in the cosmetic area and let’s just say you’re doing filler in the face and Botox and so forth, there are multiple times in which people would like to be touched for that, obviously, your pricing is going to be really big for that. But yes, we would simply run pay-per-click campaigns; you’re trying to get them in the front door. There’s a special on however many vials you’re purchasing, email, drip campaigns, and so forth.
So you have to remember, if you are in that field, if it’s a medical emergency, that’s different. We know we’re going to the emergency room. If your tooth is cracked, you’re going to the dentist. That’s different. That’s a Google; you’re just trying to get them to alleviate pain. When you are trying, when it’s a little bit of a different medical situation, and as an elective medical situation, you have to remember that the average person would like to be touched in the neighborhood about five to 10 times. You need to ensure your ad campaign touches those five to 10 times.
Tips for Digital Marketing Campaigns
Dr. Barbara Hales: What are two tips you could give our listeners today that they could implement right away regarding digital marketing campaigns?
Len Ward: It’s mandatory to leverage your email list much more than you are. I don’t care what anyone tells you out there. Email is still the largest converter of sales. I understand that people’s email boxes are in your data right now. And it does get frustrating. But if you’re really good at email marketing, if you do have the right taglines and offer the readers something legit, don’t just send them a blog post. Nobody cares about that. But if you want to do before and after pictures, which is what everybody likes to see, that’s something somebody wants to read in an email.
Leverage your email list, and ensure you’re reaching out to past or current clients, prospective patients, or clients. At least on a monthly basis, make sure you have an offer on there. And if somebody does come in the front door and does have a consultation, one of the things you want to do to make sure that you’re keeping them there is implemented a drip campaign, which means a series of three to six pieces of content that’s mailed out to those individuals over the course of three months, however many times you see the individual patient, so standard email campaign, make sure you have something going out on a monthly basis. And then a drip email campaign for patients you’re trying to convert are two things you should implement almost immediately.
Dr. Barbara Hales: I’m sure that you have a lot of competitors in the digital marketing field. How do you attract your clients? How do you stand out from your competition?
Len Ward: Well, I’m a little different. I don’t mean to say this in any type of fashion, but it’s rare somebody sits down and is going to talk more about the financial aspect of marketing than the actual creative aspect of marketing. It’s not that I think creativity is easy because it’s not. It’s difficult. But the most difficult conversation in marketing is actually having a conversation about dollars and cents. So when I do have that conversation with clients, I quickly separate myself because, at the end of the day, marketing people, they’re not finance people. Do you know why? Because they’re not supposed to be finance people. I was just lucky in my past career to be able to work within the world of finance. I’ve run my own businesses. So I know what type of investment it takes. And that’s my differentiator. What also helps out is that when people work with me, I don’t implement or run your campaigns. I am a consultant with it. I will work with your agency, I will work with your internal team to make sure that your money is allocated properly and that you are getting the return on investment that you’re looking for. So I guess you could say I kind of live in the space between a regular marketing consultant and an ad agency. I live in that space in between, which is a unique blend. I think that’s what separates me normally.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Well, thank you for clarifying. And thank you for being here with us today, Len. This has been another episode of Marketing Tips for Doctors. Speaking with Len Ward. Til next time.