You will be redirected in
 seconds © 2015 | 5150 Palm Valley Rd. Suite 103 | Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 | P:800.533.4263 F:904.285.9944
studentdc logo
October 22, 2007
Article Tools

Marketing made simple: let the 4 P’s drive your program
By Dawn Bibbs-Morrissey

Hollywood makes conducting business look easy. With the exception of a few renegade television shows (think The Office) and movies (consider Glengarry Glen Ross), life as a business person is one long escapade interrupted by golf outings.

Of these lucky stiffs, there’s none more fortunate than the marketing manager. All this gifted individual needs to do is miraculously dream up the next big product that is going to set the world on fire and develop the next monumental campaign that will make that coveted 18-to 49-year-old male put down the remote control and gape at the commercial promoting the hot new product.

Hollywood would have you believe that hitting these home runs is a ho-hum affair devoid of any need for real skill or planning. As a 17-year marketing veteran, I can assure you that the act of "marketing" and/or "selling," strange as it may seem, does require discipline and planning.


Related Articles

  1. The business of business cards 
  2. Schedule your first year marketing events 
  3. Great practice promotion: give it away 
  4. Schedule your first year marketing events 
  5. Learning to read 
  6. Should you blog? 
  7. The best kept secret in chiropractic marketing 
  8. Should you have a practice blog 
  9. Marketing made simple: let the 4 P’s drive your program 
  10. Mastering the fundamentals of patient communication 

A patient walks into your practice. What is it you do first? Conduct an intake assessment. You don’t jump to the diagnosis. Whether you are new or experienced, it’s best to start with the fundamentals. In marketing, these fundamentals are known as the "marketing mix" or, the "four P’s": product, price, place, and promotion.

People’s interpretation of the "P’s" has varied slightly over the years. Still, considering what they mean for you and your practice is a good place to start. They will help you formulate your identity and ultimately develop a promotional strategy to support it.

Product (service). Think creatively. What do you want people to think of when they think of your product — chiropractic services? And, more specifically, what do you want people to think of when they think of your chiropractic services?

In marketing, there is one fundamental truth: Perception is reality. How do you want chiropractic care and your practice of care to be perceived?

The most obvious examples of how important this is are in the automotive market. To this day, American manufacturers are fighting the perception that Japanese cars are built better and built to last. Consumers concerned with safety gravitate to Volvos; and, the surest way to insure your status will be recognized by all is to drive a German car.

Look around your community and ask yourself the questions, "Do people appreciate the value of chiropractic care? Do people understand the outcome chiropractic facilitates? As a practitioner of a highly personal, yet commoditized service, how do I set myself apart? Do I want to set myself apart? What do I currently offer, or can I offer, that will differentiate me from my competitors?"

These answers can be simple or complex, based on both your own needs and those of your current and potential patient load. In fact, the need may exist to create complementary identities for both patient types — one identity that draws in the patient who is unfamiliar with you and one that speaks to the current patient.

For example: Nurturing an identity that says you are "accommodating" may be appropriate for both your current and potential patients. In this instance, you might determine that offering late or Saturday office-hours is enough.

Or, being viewed by your current patients as a "resource" may be most desired. Possibly, revamping your business plan to put forth a practice comprised of providers in divergent disciplines would best meet this need for establishing a referral network of other chiropractors.

Don’t be myopic in your answers to these questions. Competition comes in many forms. A yoga or pilates class is less expensive and may be far more accessible to the average patient and acupuncture may be more appealing. Consider all of your competition and your ability to compete with each.

Develop your identity(ies) and live it (them). Be careful and be realistic. Be honest when you assess your skills and the sustainability of your desired niche. And remember, you can’t be all things to all people. You won’t be able to carry it off and you will dilute the desired affect.

Price. The temptation exists to independently assign value to our work. "Independently" means not considering outside forces, but rather only what you intrinsically think your work is worth. Don’t do it!

Think about your identity. How, if at all, does the identity you’re nurturing influence your pricing? Your pricing model should be defensible and consistent with it.

Consider practitioners who want to be viewed as accommodating. As a result, they have chosen a business model based on the system that offers preferred status to patients amenable to paying a convenience fee. "Price" all but drives this model.

Does the identity you’ve chosen for yourself require you to be competitive with your pricing? Or, does your identity give you license to "name your price"?

Does your identity require you to establish contractual agreements with insurance providers? Or, does your identity lend itself better to a pay-as-you-go model?

And finally, does your identity say that you promote with price (or its equivalent) or does it remain unknown?

Place. "Place" refers to "distribution." Understand the impact your service and how its price influences "place."

Ideally, you want to be accessible to the patients who will most identify with your service. If the identity you’ve chosen for yourself is "accommodating," locating yourself at the outreaches of town may not be most appropriate.

Likewise, higher prices might lead to increased expectations for comfortable surroundings and easy-to-access service.

Sam’s Club warehouse stores across the United States are located away from town centers, are housed in concrete buildings, and do not offer bagging assistance — elements that are consistent with the discount retail identity the chain has created for itself. To keep prices for bulk items of name brand products low, consumers are asked to drive a little farther and do without the frills offered in the local grocery store.

Promotion. "Promotion" is the final step of the marketing mix.

Your promotion is the element that ties it all together by communicating who you are, how much monetary value you assign to your service, and how you deliver your service.

Depending on the identity you’ve created for yourself, the benefits of one element may be more salient than another.

A "promotion" can take many shapes that include one, or all, of these elements: print advertising, Web advertising, direct mail, telemarketing, word-of-mouth, etc. How you proceed will be driven by your promotion budget and the perception you want to create in the marketplace.

To summarize these marketing essentials:

• Groundwork is necessary before arriving at the promotion stage. Consider all of the elements of the marketing mix to develop a consistent and compelling story to deliver to your current and future patients;

• Be thorough in your understanding of the market and its needs and develop an identity that capitalizes on marketplace cues;

• Build a pricing structure that supports your identity;

• Practice in an environment and locale consistent with your identity and pricing structure; and

• Deliver a message that communicates the benefits of your product, price, and place to your patients.

Dawn Bibbs-Morrissey has both an MBA and BS in marketing and strategic planning. Her 17 years in the workplace have been spent in marketing and business development. She is currently the marketing and sales director of a healthcare association located in Chicago, Ill.

Find us on facebookFind us on Twitter
StudentDC Expert Insights
Perry Chinn

The Source of Fear...

"Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
Mark Sanna, DC


Over the last few months I have been thinking a lot about wisdom; what is it and how to... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
Anthony Lombardi, DC

Like Drano in Walmart: DC's need to be where people need us

When people get back, neck or other musculoskeletal pain, the first place the majority of people go to find... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
Alex Niswander

Why ICD10 is so complicated

Well, the good news its not as complicated as we thought. With a code set of 100,000+ codes, I think... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
Richard Quadrino, Esq.

Federal Court: Attempting to Reverse Prior Claim Decisions Through Post Payment Audits May Be Unlawful Under ERISA

Quadrino Law Group has won a motion in a U.S. District Court that may provide great assistance to chiropractors... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry

New Era Chiro Care Models

So much is changing in chiro practice these last few years. And will happen more and more as medical insurance continually declines. It's... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
Dr. Drew Stevens

Marketing Issues?

Rachel called me seeking chiropractic business advisory because her practice was down by 44% from the same period last... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
Shawne Duperon


What you focus on expands. Period. Still mad at traditional doctors for all they do WRONG? Consider this perception... Read More
Dr. Brian McAulay

Thank You

I'd like to extend a heartfelt "Thank you!" for making the first ever Parker Serves a fulfilling success. I'm... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
Zach Zavoral

5 Easily Fixed Causes of Negative Reviews

We could all use a little help with Yelp (sorry, that rhyme was too easy to ignore). Even if... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
Kelly Robbins

How is Your Story Affecting Your Income?

We all have stories we tell…stories about our lives and how we got to be where we are today.... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
Daron Stegall

3C Principle for Boosting Patient Compliance

According to Jerry Vass, author of Soft Selling in a Hard World, “the Buyer forgets 40% of what you... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
Daniel Sosnoski

October is National Chiropractic Health Month

It's always important to educate your patients and the public about the many benefits of chiropractic care. This month... Read More
Dr. Perry

Power of Conversational Pause

Pause If you find it hard to pause when making conversation, people can sometimes perceive it... Read More
Jean Murray

The Last Year of Chiropractic School - What to Do While You're Waiting

I talked this morning with a student who is just starting her last year of school.  She is going... Read More
Featured Videos

Buyer Beware
Who should you trust? Do your research on seller history and testimonials!

Chiropractic marketing success
Dr. Drew Stevens discuss chiropractic marketing success.

Building a brand
The importance of having a personal brand

Additional Videos
Recent Job Openings
Wanted: Chiropractor with Upper Cervical experience for an IC position
Apex, NC4/22/2015

We are looking for a motivated chiropracTOR with upper cervical experience desiring an IC position just outside ... More

Amazing Opportunity in a Principled Subluxation Based Cash Practice
Salmon, ID4/22/2015

Are you serious about helping people? Working hard?  ... More

Share office space-NJ
Little Falls, NJ4/20/2015

Looking for a seasoned chiropractor to share a 2000 sq. ft. wellness center. All cash using Cash Practice Systems. Fully staffed, busy metro area, easy access, and free parking. Call 201-463-6380. ... More