Skip to content
Log in Pre-qualify
Background image

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

Episode transcript

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
Capturing real time data, so the way a doctor looks at how marketing should perform and how to transact and what the expectations for marketing is completely different now because we have so many more insights, we can ensure that security of success.
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

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. 
Like what you hear? Follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever else you listen. 
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.

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
Thank you, Corey. Glad to be here.
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

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?

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Nate
Nate Woudstra

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.

People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

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?

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
Yeah. Right. Most people don't correlate data to marketing, when naturally they should be. A lot of people think marketing stands on its own and data is its own beast. And really, you require data to really understand how to maximize the performance of your marketing. So let’s really talk about like the data component of things. So data begins with an understanding of what's happening in your market or any market for that matter, where the opportunity is, where do they exist, what are the hurdles, those sort of identifiers.
And then you overlay the marketing plan into that marketplace to ensure a greater level of success. That's really where it begins. 
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

And where does your love for data in the healthcare industry, where does that come from?

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
Yeah, that's a great question. When I started the business… and understand I started this way back in 2001, right? And data was a small component of maybe what you would use for marketing purposes, right? Data was very limited. It's not like what it is today, though. I had this brainchild as I started a marketing business, “Hey, if I could understand what was happening in a localized market, I could better gear my marketing services so I could get better performance and a greater return for my clients.” That would make perfect sense. 
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. 
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

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?

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
Absolutely. So why don't I start with census data? Census data, If you don't know it, it's considered in census blocks. These are every ten years they're processed information that's snapshot at that time. So 2010, 2020. The minute we get to 2011 or 2021, that data is already old. Matter of fact, it's not even made available for years. So by the time you have access to that data, the market has already transformed.
So we have a term what do we call that, Nate?
Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Nate
Nate Woudstra

Census data means, “we don't know.”

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
That's code. So if you go to anybody that's providing you demographics based on census data, we translate it as that means they really don't know. It's kind of a stat. It's like throwing a dart and hopefully we get something right. So we say that jokingly. That's only because we understand what the flip side is. So capturing real time data, data that transacts at the street level on a day to day basis where we can harness that information so that we can provide more clarity, better information, relevant information so that the doctor can make better decisions for their practice, whether they're establishing a practice, opening a practice, or they're somewhere in the midstream.
Yeah, at that point.
Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Nate
Nate Woudstra

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.

People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

That would have been the first thing I would have thought to do. 

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Nate
Nate Woudstra

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.

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
This is an exciting time because what's happening right now is with more and more information, more data points that we're able to capture, we're revolutionizing the way people look at marketing. So the way a doctor looks at how marketing should perform and how to transact and what the expectations for marketing is completely different now because we have so many more insights, we can ensure that security of success, right?
That's really ultimately what will provide.
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

And where does one access real time data? If they don't own a marketing company that specializes in it.

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Nate
Nate Woudstra

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.

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
Let's think about that for a second. So good information in, good information out. So if you're relying on bad sources of data, you're going to have bad results, right? How do you qualify good sources of information versus bad information? That's something that's a whole different beast. So when you begin to look at you're an individual and you're like, Hey, I want this information and you got to Google or you're going to contact some company that does demographics, right?
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.
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

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?

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
Corey I would say a lot of the practices out there, whether they're a concept, thinking about starting a practice or obtaining a practice, or if you're at growth stage, right, there's a whole lifecycle with growth, maturation and decline typically. And then you're flipping maybe at some point in there right? There's an application for data at every single level.
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.
Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Nate
Nate Woudstra

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.

People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

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.

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
Absolutely. If you think about it in terms of measure twice cut once to ensure success before you would spend a single dime on whatever your plan might be.
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

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?

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Nate
Nate Woudstra

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.

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
If you're understanding kind of the vision you want for your practice. So what's the patient experience going to be like? That's the first thing a lot of doctors talk about. They talk about what services they're going to provide. What is the interior even look like in the office? Is it you know, what are they going to think about my level of care and what's that experience going to be like, not just interacting and what's the culture we're going to have?
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.
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

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?

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
Nate is the individual that works with all of our doctors and he helps strategize. He does all the research, we do all the findings. Then he takes that information back to the doctor and he walks through with them to understand what the challenges are in the market, what the vision is for that practice, what the true application is when it comes to the different variables, when it comes to marketing, right?
And how you marble that together.
Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Nate
Nate Woudstra

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?

People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

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?

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Nate
Nate Woudstra

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.

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
And there are some rounded out components to that too, that we add in when we're coaching our clients. One of them might be community based marketing and how they engage in that. So that's at the street level.
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

Being part of the organizations that are local.

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
Absolutely engaging schools and whatnot. Those are things that are very cost effective and yet can be very effective.
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

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?

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
Absolutely. So marketing is the research that is required. So it's the Q&A discovery of, Hey, what is it that I want to get out of my practice? It's also understanding what the market will bear. It's doing all that. It's really trying to figure out what is it that I'm trying to achieve and you're answering those questions. So we talked about the data component.
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.
Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Nate
Nate Woudstra

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.

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
And what a doctor can actually do is if they have a relationship already in place, they can ask these questions to their provider, whoever that that marketing company is is, Hey, where are you getting this information? How do I know that the findings support what your actions are? What are the anticipated results that I need? That I'm going to get? A true marketing company that gets that isn't going to be like, Well, we had another doctor that tried to work for them.
That's code for we don't know, right?
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

Lots of that going around.

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
Yeah. You'll hear that, a lot of codes like so again if you're hearing certain things of like I don't know we'll get in there and we'll try it and see if it works or you know, worked with other doctors or we had a friend, it worked with this doctor friend of mine. That's code for we don't know.
It's a stab in the dark and hopefully it works.
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

Yeah, that's a great point.

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
Don't confuse activity for achievement. It starts with understanding that marketplace and then executing based on those findings.
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

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?

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Nate
Nate Woudstra

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?

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
And Corey, It's important to understand that this is ongoing year to year. So this is not something that's transactional. Like, I do this and I'm done. No, your market is ever changing. The services that you're providing are going to evolve, your practice hopefully grows and perhaps you end up opening another practice or expanding or whatever that might look like.
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.
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

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?

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
They can reach out to us directly. They can go online.
Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Nate
Nate Woudstra

Yeah, they can go to EOSCorporate.com. They can go to EOShealthcaremarketing.com. They can email me directly at Nate.Woudstra@EOSHCM.com.

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
And I can be emailed as well. I'm always happy to answer any questions that are out there. Shayne.Harris@EOSHealthCareMarketing.com.
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

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.

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Nate
Nate Woudstra

Thank you Corey.

Podcast-TranscriptHeadshot-Episode37-Shayne
Shayne Harris
Appreciate you, Corey, thank you very much.
People Bubble Corey_Large-1
Corey Brown:

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.
If you're ready to take your practice ownership dreams into your own hands, be sure to visit GetProvide.com to pre-qualify and browse our practice marketplace or check out our news page for more helpful resources. 
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.

Provide Favicon

Provide is a division of Fifth Third Bank, National Association. All opinions expressed by the participant are solely their current opinions and do not reflect the opinions of Provide, its affiliates, or Fifth Third Bank. The participant’s opinions are based on information they consider reliable, but neither Provide, its affiliates nor Fifth Third Bank warrant its completeness or accuracy and should not be relied upon as such. This content is for informational purposes and does not constitute the rendering of legal, accounting, tax, or investment advice, or other professional services by Provide or any of its affiliates. Please consult with appropriate professionals related to your individual circumstances. All lending is subject to review and approval.

Expert tools of the trade

Get the financial tools you need to build the practice of your dreams (you’ve got this!).
Pursue an ownership journey with Provide
Get qualified for our veterinary loan products in as few as two minutes
Pre-qualify
Find the right practice for you
View thousands of active listings from top brokers for veterinary hospitals across the country.
Browse listings