Give Your Practice a Marketing Analysis

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Neil Baum, MD

Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, LA

Author, Marketing Your Clinical Practice-Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, Jones Bartlett Publishers


Physicians are not used to setting goals for their practices, as most of us have been on auto-pilot and have not had to evaluate and measure what is taking place in our practice nor are we knowledgeable about predicating the future direction of our practices.

I recommend that conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of your practice. Performing this analysis enables you to formuate focused marketing objectives and goals. By systematically listing all SWOT factors, you have constructed the foundation of your marketing plan. You are basing your plans on research and analysis—not on speculative ideas and gut feelings. Shooting from the hip will not work in this new era of medical marketing. You have to get the data and devise a systematic, informed research plan. See the sample SWOT analysis below.

Bottom line: It is necessary to know your marketing goals and a SWOT analysis, among other things, and then methodically plan, execute, and fine-tune your strategy as you go. By putting your overview of your marketing plan on paper, you have a much greater opportunity to reach your goals and objectives.

Sample SWOT Analysis:


  • We have 40% managed care patients compared with the community’s average of only 25%.
  • We are an obstetric practice delivering patients in a major tertiary hospital, with all the benefits of high technology and capable of caring for high-risk pregnancies.


  • We are a family practice with only three providers, so we are at capacity and already have waiting lists, particularly because we act as gatekeepers in so many managed care plans.
  • Our obstetric patients are increasingly moving out to the suburbs and say they would prefer to see a physician closer to home, even though they like the idea of delivering at a large downtown hospital that has a neonatal unit if the patient and the newborn need such a facility.


  • Recruit additional physicians, nurse practitioners, or physicians’ assistants to handle the growing patient load.
  • Open satellite offices in the suburbs in which the highest percentage of our patients live (as revealed by a zip code analysis).


  • Younger, upscale families are moving into our community and insist on using a pediatrician instead of a family practice physician because their perception is that a family physician is not as well trained to handle children.
  • More and more patients are seeking both obstetricians and hospitals closer to home.