Blurred image of a hospital hallway with the three M's of marketing — market, message, and media — overlayed.

TestThe Three Fundamentals of Healthcare Marketing

The Three Fundamentals of Healthcare Marketing

When it comes to promoting your practice, it can be tempting to dive straight into the many different healthcare marketing strategies available at your fingertips. To craft a strong, effective campaign, however, it’s best to always start with the basics: market, message, and media.

Core components of nearly every marketing strategy, the “3M’s” help identify the “who,” “what,” and “how,” of your practice’s promotional strategy. With these fundamentals in hand, your practice can better position its marketing efforts in relation to your ideal patients — leading to greater patient acquisition and retention.

In this article, we will explain these three different components, as well as share guiding questions to help your practice define its market, message, and media.


Market: Your Practice’s “Who”

The first of the 3M’s, your practice’s “market” identifies who you’re trying to reach with your marketing efforts. To define your market, look no further than your practice’s target demographic — the primary patients you want to serve, categorized by age, gender, healthcare needs, and more.

In general, your target audience will align with the typical clientele of your specialty, as well as your local population’s key demographics, socio-economic conditions, and available healthcare services.

For example, a dermatologist in Scottsdale, Arizona, may have a target market of elderly, local patients seeking treatment for various skin conditions. Alternatively, an optometrist in Lincoln, Nebraska, may have a more diverse target market, plus local and commuting patients. Because of their unique target markets, the two practices will have different marketing strategies.

To start defining your practice’s market, answer the six guiding questions below:

Identifying your target market

  1. What are the primary characteristics of your practice’s ideal patient (e.g., age, sex, location, income level)?
  2. What are the primary specialties, services, and treatments your practice offers?
  3. Which of your services and treatments are most popular among your clientele, which drive the most revenue?
  4. What are the typical behaviors and habits of your ideal patient?
  5. Does your practice have any pre-existing patient segments? What are they?
  6. What are your competitors’ target patient demographics?
African American patient sits and talks with doctor, both smile.

Message: Your Practice’s “What”

As its name implies, your practice’s “message” communicates its core offerings and its key selling points. In the simplest terms, your message is your practice’s what — what your practice’s specialty is, what services it provides, and what differentiates it.

Regardless of your practice’s core messaging, it must align with your target market’s habits, preferences, pain points, and needs. 

To define your practice’s core message, answer the eight guiding questions below:

Develop your core message

  1. What is your practice’s target market?
  2. What are the primary specialties, services, and treatments your practice offers?
  3. What primary pain points (e.g., specialty, treatment services, insurance provider) drive your target market toward your practice?
  4. What kind of tone and language appeals to your practice’s target market?
  5. What past messaging has been successful for your practice or competitors?
  6. What industry-specific terms must be included in your practice’s messaging?
  7. What are the legal and regulatory considerations to which your practice’s marketing must adhere?
  8. What are the primary goals of the marketing campaign (e.g., increased sales, brand awareness, patient acquisition)?

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Media: Your Practice’s “How”

The last core component, “media” is how you will deliver your practice’s message to its target demographic, such as through social media posts, email marketing campaigns, or pay-per-click ads.

Importantly, media strategies are most effective when they align with a practice’s target audience, core messaging, and marketing goals. Failing to align these components can result in costly, ineffective campaigns. 

For example, Instagram is primarily used by younger generations and patients under the age of 40. Therefore, a dermatologist who is targeting an older demographic would likely find the platform to be less effective than a plastic surgeon targeting younger patients. Instead, Facebook, which has a broader audience, may be more appropriate.

To begin building your practice’s media strategy, answer the seven guiding questions below:

Build your media strategy

  1. What are your target market’s preferred media channels?
  2. What method does your target market use to determine their healthcare provider?
  3. What is your practice’s marketing budget, available resources (e.g., time, personnel, tools)?
  4. What marketing tactics are your competitors currently using?
  5. What regulatory and legal considerations must be taken into account for the marketing campaign, media method?
  6. What are the goals of your practice’s marketing campaign (e.g., increased sales, brand awareness, patient acquisition)?
  7. How will the success of your practice’s marketing campaign be measured?
Doctor in white coat uses cell phone.

How rater8 improves healthcare marketing

Of course, marketing encapsulates far more than just email campaigns and social media content. In the healthcare industry in particular, online reviews can be a pivotal part of a practice’s digital strategy.

Luckily, rater8’s comprehensive reputation management solution provides practices with the exact tools they need to elevate their digital marketing efforts.

Designed specifically for the healthcare industry, rater8 cultivates organic 5-star patient ratings by sending patients automated post-visit review requests via text and email. To maximize a practice’s digital reach, our internal algorithm, pollin8™, directs patients to the listings and review sites where providers and practices need reviews the most.

Practices can even showcase their 5-star reviews directly on their website and social media platforms with rater8’s testimonials widget and social features

A true all-in-one package, rater8 also helps practices gather internal feedback through automated patient satisfaction surveys. With an average response rate of 26%, our micro-surveys provide practices with unmatched insights into the needs and concerns of their patients — backed with advanced analytics and benchmarking. When it comes to providing the best possible patient experience, no practice is complete without rater8.

To learn more about how rater8 can elevate your practice’s marketing efforts, schedule a demo with our team of experts today.

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Major Health Partners, Vanguard Medical Group, Michigan Orthopaedic Surgeons, Peninsula Orthopaedic Associates, Ortho Central, and Island Eye Surgery Specialists all contributed to rater8's free patient experience guide.

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