37. Harnessing the power of data to take your practice to new heights
With Shayne Harris and Nate Woudstra
Marketing is one of those things that's easy to take for granted; that is, until you experience great marketing, and then it's hard to live without it.
But, in 2024, marketing is more than just mailers, social media, or ad buys. It can be all those things and more or — none of them.
Most importantly, though, savvy marketing is about gleaning pivotal insights from real-time data about your customers and using those insights to drive your marketing strategy.
Meet our guests
In this episode, we're talking with Shayne Harris and Nate Woudstra from EOS Healthcare Marketing, a premier nationally-renowned healthcare marketing agency.
Shayne is the founder and CEO and opened the full-service marketing firm in 2001. Nate joined the team in 2016.
In this episode
- What sort of data healthcare providers need to consider when they're thinking about launching, acquiring, or expanding a practice
- Why census data isn't detailed enough to provide critical insights
- How leveraging data can impact a practice's life cycle
- How to use real-time data to drive a practice marketing strategy
- What some of the must-haves are for marketing a practice on a smaller budget
Welcome to the Path to Owning It Podcast by Provide, hosted by me, Corey Brown, a marketing leader at Provide with over a decade in the health care industry. If you found us, you’re likely an aspiring or established health care practice owner looking for tools and advice to begin your journey or take your practice to new heights… and you're not alone.
So to help you achieve your practice ownership dreams, twice monthly, we’ll tap into our unparalleled network of industry experts who will join us on our quest to provide the answers to your most pressing questions.
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Today we're here at the Greater New York Dental Meeting in Manhattan, and I have the pleasure of interviewing Shayne Harris and Nate Woudstra at EOS Health Care Marketing.
Shayne is the founder and CEO and began his full service marketing firm in 2001. He has orchestrated over a thousand practice startups and over a thousand acquisitions. Nate joined the team in 2016 as the company has become a premier nationally-renowned health care marketing agency. The company utilizes real time data to provide companies with in-depth market research, competition evaluation, consumer analysis, risk assessment, planning, execution and performance tracking of marketing activities nationwide.
Gents pleasure to have you here today. Welcome.
So we're at Greater New York Dental meeting. It's abuzz. What are you seeing here? Anything that you're excited about? What's going on here?
Well, this is the first time I've been to New York. Just the sheer size is a lot to take in, for a guy that likes to be in the country. But it's incredible. I mean, it's been a lot of fun so far.
Yeah, that's awesome. So, you know, today we're going to talk about kind of harnessing the power of data and how that relates to marketing and, Shayne, I want to ask you, you know, when one thinks of marketing, I don't know that data is maybe the first thing they think of. How do those two things kind of work together in your mind?
And then you overlay the marketing plan into that marketplace to ensure a greater level of success. That's really where it begins.
And where does your love for data in the healthcare industry, where does that come from?
Here's the challenge at that point, right? The information was poor. We were getting census type data, which is often inaccurate. And having a doctor rely on that type of information to really decide whether or not they're going to be successful or not, or they should open a practice or whatnot.
And we were led astray with this bad data. From there, we began to build out a new model of capturing real time data, meaningful data that's relevant, and that can be translated into actionable items for a doctor providing clarity so that they can be ultimately more successful.
And what's the difference, I guess, between census and real time? Can you talk a little bit more about that and why real time data is superior?
So we have a term what do we call that, Nate?
Census data means, “we don't know.”
Yeah, at that point.
And we lived it. I mean, when Shayne started this business, he wanted to utilize data and what's the easiest thing that everybody's going to go do is census information. It's cheap, it's easy to obtain.
That would have been the first thing I would have thought to do.
And it was fortunate for us that like through Shayne's relationships, we were able to say, okay, this is bad information. We need to find something that's going to benefit us. Yeah, because right now, again, it's the bad data in bad data out, we were able to formulate something. It's not just us coming in saying, okay, census information is bad because we have different information.
Right. We've lived it. We've gone through the census block data side of things, found that that information was not benefiting our clients, but rather hurting them. And we're able to develop this real time house level data that's allowed our clients to be extremely successful.
That's really ultimately what will provide.
And where does one access real time data? If they don't own a marketing company that specializes in it.
It's very difficult to find this information. It's not something that you're going to Google and find like Google. You can look up a lot of things in Google. The relevancy and the accuracy of that data is going to be limited to what they have access to, which is going to be census information. Right? Because it's about like, how quickly can I get that data has to be pre-filled in and then you pull that file out of Google and say, okay, this is the answer that we have access to versus real time data.
You're actually mining that from multiple sources at that time. So it takes some time to obtain real time data because you have to mine it from multiple sources and make sure it's accurate. So it's a tough question. You can get data in a lot of different places. Getting good data or real time data is very difficult, if you don't own a marketing company that has access to this information.
That can be very limited in the information they give and the accuracy is gonna be missing. So if we're in and we get in the minds of the consumer, let's think about the consumer and what they value. And it's by location. And it might be even by social, economic sort of positioning in their marketplace. And so but we are looking at what you buy with what frequency are you buying name, brand offbrand generic and the decisions that you're making.
Do you value the health care value proposition or are you looking at price so we can get in the minds of consumer and segment that marketplace based on what they prefer their preferences? Right. So the application of that comes down to… If I care about the health of my children or I care about the health of myself, we can get into their minds and say, okay, if we're going to approach them with this information, understand what the brand allows us then to develop that pathway back to them.
Absolutely. And so we've got real time data. How does that play a part in the practice lifecycle? How do we take what we have and kind of use it to our advantage?
So if you're simply thinking about it, you begin on a marketing standpoint as providing clarity as to what is it that I want out of this practice, what's the vision for that practice? Get it crystal clear, write it down, get it in place. And then taking that information and pushing it into the marketplace… is that brand of health care?
Is that going to be received well? What's the consumption patterns of the consumers in that marketplace? Is it dental implants? Will they carry will they be consumed? You know, is that something is that a service that can provide and ensure that I'm going to be successful before I do that? Now you launch a practice and you're evolving and growing and deciding whether I should bring an associate?
Should I bring in additional services? Those are things that we can assess for, right? Not only that is that we can now deploy a plan to execute that to ensure minimal risk and maximum performance. You get it to maturity if you're looking to maintain or grow the business and flip it or it decline and you want to do that, we can also help you along those lines by assessing what's happening in the marketplace and then identifying any obstacles that might exist.
We can plan for those as well. And then ultimately achieve the goal that you have for your practice. So whether you're planning on flipping it or you want to assess whether or not it's time to sell and move or expand, those are all components that we can look at and evaluate the market based on what it is that you're trying to achieve.
Yeah, I mean, even getting into we have a bunch of doctors that are going to go take CE courses, right? Yeah. And if they own a practice and they're like, okay, I have to go take CE, we can help them on what CE courses you should take that are going to benefit the practice the most based on what's happening in that market.
So data can be utilized from a marketing standpoint, what should I do? How should I do it? How am I going to engage with the individuals in this market? How am I going to grow my practice from now I'm going to go take an implant, CE course. Are implants a good opportunity in my specific market? What does that look like down to the households that would qualify for implants?
We can answer those questions before a doctor goes out and says, okay, I'm going to spend all my time on a weekend taking a CE course we can answer to make sure that it's relevant information for their market. It's a relevant CE course that's going to benefit and grow the practice.
Yeah, so real time data then not only helps with marketing, but you're saying almost any decision that they would have and a pivotal stage of either starting, growing, learning something new, data can really play a part of that.
Yeah. You know, gents, we've talked about the different types of data and how it plays a part in the practice lifecycle, but when we come back, I'd like to get into how health care providers can use data they collect to market their practices more effectively. More with Shayne and Nate right after this.
I'm Corey Brown and this is Provide’s the Path to Owning It Podcast. We're back with Shayne Harris and Nate Woudstra of EOS Healthcare Marketing to discuss how to harness the power of data to take your practice to new heights. You know, guys, we talk a lot about vision on the show, and you even hinted at it earlier.
Does one need to have a very clear vision of what they want for their practice before they spend any time on marketing?
Vision is something that you should be thinking about and naturally people are going to have an idea of what it is that they want to do. I mean, going in and being an associate somewhere, you're taking bits of information and deciding, okay, what would I do in these situations? So the vision is something that you need to have, but you can start with, Hey, where do I want to open a practice?
And then assessing that information around that market to then help create your vision and bring your vision to that next level. For instance, you can have the most elaborate vision in the world for the most elaborate practice you could ever dream of. But if you're not looking in the right market for that, then it's just not going to work, right?
The data side of things is very important so that you can somewhat create the vision that's going to make you very successful and bring that to life. But again, the vision is the backbone to the practice and making sure it can say like if a market's good or bad based on your vision right? One vision may work very well in a market and not in another and vice versa.
So the vision of the doctor and what they're trying to accomplish is very important. But that can also be molded by the data and what's happening in a given market as well.
There's all those different pieces that you fold in to this. The application of that is when you get push that into the market to see how well it be received or if it's even engageable based on that market finding.
And can you tell me a little bit about your theory when you're working or developing a marketing strategy for a new client? Can you walk us through that?
And how you marble that together.
When we start, it's a conversation to obtain what that vision of that doctor is, and then taking all that information from that conversation overlaying it into the market and uncovering the homes with the highest probability of coming through the door for that practice, then assessing those individual homes and saying, okay, what are they going to respond to? So for me, I don't come into a marketing strategy and say, okay, here's your one size fits all plan.
And if you do social media, no matter where you are, it's going to work. That is not the case. And I will tell you as a fair warning, anybody that comes to you and says, here's your strategy without doing any research doesn't know what they're doing. You have to obtain that information. You have to overlay it into the market so that you can uncover what's going to work best for you.
And that's going to look different if you're in downtown New York or if you're in rural Nebraska. Your marketing strategies will change and the different elements to your marketing strategy. So your Google advertising, your social media, your direct mail, those are going to work in different areas, better than other areas. But those elements also depend on the foundation of the practice, which is getting into the brand.
Your website design, the actual build of your website is vitally important. Now from a SEO standpoint, search engine optimization, then getting into the Google ads, everything works in synergy. Really. It's when we're working with doctors that are either starting up or buying where we have a more limited budget is where we have to really start diving in and saying, okay, what are my needs that I have to have?
What are the elements after those needs that are going to help me grow faster?
So if those that do have a smaller budget or they're just starting out, what are some of those must haves? Are they always the same or does it again depend on their market?
It depends on the market. The common thread behind it is I need a brand, I need to have a logo, I need to have a website. And search engine optimization in 90% of the markets is going to be a foundational piece to your puzzle. The other elements are going to be where you have some move and shake in those other elements with Google advertising, social media marketing and direct mail.
But all too often on a more limited budget, we need to make sure you have a brand, you have a website, and that website needs to be built properly now. The basic DIY type websites just do not work anymore. The competition is too great and Google is looking at more than just the looks of your website.
They're looking at how that site is built and that's going to help in the rankings. But those would be the three elements of branding, website and SEO that tend to be the foundation of the practice. And then the other elements, you're going to have some shifts based on the market that you're in.
Being part of the organizations that are local.
Yeah, that's a great point. Can you speak and you kind of, I think hinted at it too, to the difference between marketing and advertising?
That's like a product to marketing, yet to advertising. Advertising is the execution of that research and the avenues that you use to reach your target market, right? So Nate was just talking about that. You have your core essence of what you use, but it's your outbound marketing and your whether it's the passive style of marketing, whether it's SEO or whatnot, or an active style of marketing, whether you're walking into and posting church bulletins and walking into schools and that sort of thing or direct mail.
Right? So ultimately, one is the research, one is the execution. All too often you're going to hear that marketing and advertising are the same thing. In reality, they're not.
And the good way to catch that if you're talking to somebody is again, if I come to you and say, you're a start up dentist, here's your plan. I know I didn't do the marketing. I'm just going to execute on the advertising. A doctor's not going to go into surgery without taking x rays first. Yeah, the x rays are the marketing for that doctor to say, okay, where am I going?
And how am I going in? What do I need to do to make sure that this is a successful procedure? I'm not just going to dive in and say, let's just start cutting around, see what happens. Right, right, right. You lose your license pretty quick. The marketing is what we do that ensures the success of the advertising.
That's code for we don't know, right?
Lots of that going around.
It's a stab in the dark and hopefully it works.
Yeah, that's a great point.
So if someone's looking to start, acquire, or expand their practice, where do they start and what's the best way for them to really market it successfully?
It starts with the data side of things. And on our end, how we operate with that is we have what's called a viability study. A viability study is the assessment of a market to understand that market's viability for the vision of that practice that we're trying to open in that area or we're trying to buy in any given market.
The viability study is the starting point. Whether you're starting or acquiring, that's going to give you the answers of can this be successful, can I be successful and do what I want to do with this practice in this market? Once you have that, you find the location, you say, this is great. Then you dive into, okay, I know that my market is a viable market and I can be successful here.
Now we take that information, we dive deeper into data and we start obtaining the information needed to develop that marketing strategy like we talked about earlier. Once we have that in place and we start time lining things out and we say, okay, what needs to start when? Where do we need to focus first? And we develop a plan for that practice so that we can market them very strategically, very data driven, and move that practice in the direction of the vision that they had going into it.
From when we said, Hey, can I do what I want to do? Is this going to be a viable market for me?
But the data is going to support you all the way through so you never have to guess ever again. Ten years from now, we're all high fiving if you opened up your practice because you're like, I never envisioned I would have been where I'm at now.
Yeah, that's awesome. Very exciting. Guys. You know, if our listeners would like to use EOS to help them market their practice by harnessing the power of your real time data, how can they get ahold of you?
Awesome. Well gents, this was really eye opening and thank you for teaching us the different types of data sets and how to utilize them from one data nerd to another. We appreciate you.
Thank you Corey.
Thanks for joining us. Because you've listened to this whole episode, we assume you were entertained or at the very least, learned something new. If so, leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Have a topic you'd like discussed in a future episode? Drop us a line in the comments section or send us a message on social media.
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The Path to Owning It is brought to you by the team at Provide, and it's produced by Podcamp Media, branded podcast production for businesses, podcampmedia.com.
Producer Dusty Weis, Editor Emily Kaysinger, Sound Engineering by Beatrice Lawrence. For Provide. I'm Corey Brown. Thanks for being on the journey with us.
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