INSIDE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH PODCAST
Ep. #40 - Inside the Minds of Two Fertility Marketers, An Interview with Rob Taylor
There are lots of variables that make marketing to your patients a challenge. From age to regional differences, it isn’t an easy task and getting someone who understands both the world of marketing and the world of fertility can be beneficial. On this episode of Inside Reproductive Health, Griffin talks to Rob Taylor, owner of TD Media, another marketing firm helping fertility centers get results. They talk about trends they see in the world of fertility marketing, as well as some strategies that clinics, and physicians, can implement to increase their online presence, in turn, helping them reach their marketing goals.
Welcome to Inside Reproductive Health, the shoptalk of the fertility field. Here, you'll hear authentic and unscripted conversations about practice management, patient relations, and business development from the most forward-thinking experts in our field.
Wall Street and Silicon Valley both want your patients, but there is a plan if you're willing to take action. Visit fertilitybridge.com to learn about the first piece of building a Fertility Marketing System--The Goal and Competitive Diagnostic. Now, here's the founder of Fertility Bridge and the host of Inside Reproductive Health, Griffin Jones.
GRIFFIN JONES: Today on Inside Reproductive Health, I'm joined by my good friend and another fertility marker, Rob Taylor. Rob founded TD Media in 1995. TD Media helps fertility centers get results--fertility centers such as Reproductive Partners in Southern California, Conceptions Reproductive Associates in Colorado. They help design and implement acquisition systems such as Fertility Success Rates and the IVF Cost Calculator. Most recently, TD Media launched a learning platform called Conference Brain, which is currently used to run continuing medical education meetings for Pacific Coast Reproductive Society (PCRS) and the World Professional Association of Transgender Health. Rob Taylor, welcome to the show where no matter what software we use, all of my guests sound like they're in a brand new recording studio and I sound like I'm in a prison bathtub.
ROB TAYLOR: Well, better than the other way around! Thanks, Griff. Good to be on the show.
JONES: Yeah. It’s my way of making the guests feel good. So I hope you're in for a therapy session. This is free therapy for me talking to another fertility marketer, and I know that you said that you had a hard stop at one point, but my goal is to make this longest episode that there's ever been. I would just call whatever you're next engagement is and clear your calendar, because we might be here for a few hours.
TAYLOR: There’s daylight over here, but it sounds like we need whiskey or something.
JONES: Well, that's a small niche. So it is nice to be able to talk with people and who are in this niche. We--Fertility Bridge--is only in the fertility space. TD Media is and then does some other things. What all does TD Media do besides the things I listed in your bio?
TAYLOR: That's really it for us right now. Over the course of 20 plus years doing marketing, we've worked in a number of different industries and Southern California real estate was really big for us maybe 10 years ago, 12 years ago now, but we don't have any clients left in that space. So we've really focused on online marketing entirely in the fertility space and then have branched out to software as a service. We've always been a design-build marketers, where we not only do design, but we own the servers and do the programming. We have a couple of entities that you mentioned: Fertility Success Rates and IVF Cost Calculator--that we've programmed and own and market as internal properties. With that skill set, we've always been looking at ways that we can kind of become our own client in some respects and build properties that we can license or some other way monetize internally. So Conference Brain is sort of the latest iteration of that where we have a CME system, so continuing medical education. Most of the listeners will be familiar with these kind of meetings and realize that there's a lot of moving parts there--there's abstract submission, and exhibitor space sponsorship, and attendee registration, and all these various components that, in some cases, are managed by separate systems for each component, which creates some pretty big inefficiencies when you're trying to run a meeting. So by uniting it all under one platform, we kind of allow sort of an economy there in terms of the amount of work it takes to actually run the meeting.
JONES: I see agencies create digital products or different arms or software that service them. Sometimes that becomes the main core of the business. Do you see yourself doing more of this stepping more into the conference space?
TAYLOR: You know, I think for our team, it's nice because we can use the same skill set that we use to serve our fertility clinics to develop these programs. So there's not really any conflict. There's not really any sort of need to invest in additional resources internally with respect to talent. So honestly, for the time being, I see, kind of, running both in parallel. I mean we have a third-party donor matching system--Donor DB--that we've had for years and years and years and that's never been something we've had to take away from serving the marketing needs of our centers to run. So it really is compatible in a sense that it doesn't--it's the same team running, you know both things, building both things.
JONES: What sort of challenges do you find that are unique to fertility centers? I imagine that probably at other points, you worked with other kinds of businesses. I certainly did before Fertility Bridge. What do you think is unique to fertility centers?
TAYLOR: I think one thing in healthcare in particular and especially when you talk about non-insure-based, out-of-pocket, fairly expensive healthcare in this case, is the distinction between the medical staff and what I'd call the office staff. And how you can have top-notch doctors who are excellent at what they do and do deliver good results, and still have a system that is less than ideal because of scheduling or because of, you know, personalities behind the desk or something like that. So, with a lot of our other clients in other industries--take real estate, for example--you know, your marketing the real estate professional and they have a team, but typically the interaction is all with the real estate agent, right? But it seems like with healthcare there's definitely--you know, your whole team needs to be on point in order to deliver that kind of A+ experience and not be a liability quite honestly. I mean everybody wants to go home with a baby that's for sure, but the interaction and how they're treated while they're in process at your center, even if they don't have a positive outcome, can still yield a favorable impression. And actually leads to patients who didn't have success even referring their friends over and saying, “Hey, you know, they weren't able to help me, but it was sure great experience there!” And so I think that's a challenge from a marketing standpoint is you almost have to roll up your sleeves and get inside the business a little bit operationally and start suggesting changes. And it's it blurs a little from just straight marketing to how do you actually have that positive outcome? How can you yield that patient referral, which we both know is one of the top referral sources for clinics is the existing patient.
JONES: It totally blurs. I look at--I've got our own org chart. We operate Fertility Bridge on EOS. Do you follow that? Do you know that operating system? Familiar with EOS? Basically, it's that an organization is run by two people: the Visionary who's responsible for key relationships with vendors and strategic partners, who is responsible for culture, who's responsible for future value. And then the Integrator, who's like the COO. We're a small company right now, so I'm in both seats, but the goal is that Griffin gets to the Visionary seat and then it's based on that there are three core functions to any business and in ours you might split up operations into lab side and clinic side, but really, even in the largest of organizations, the most complex, you don't split these categories up into more than seven functions. And there's three core functions, which is finance, basically money coming in, money coming out; sales and marketing, how we get the people that give us the money; and operations, how we deliver it all and keep it all together. And I believe that if you're going to be world class at any of these, you probably need to have a little bit of overlap into the other. So I can't really tell people how to manage their books or do all of their billing, I can look at it a little bit. Operations, I can give a little more insight, it’s still not a lot, but the extent to which I'm able to do those better, the more I can help with the sales and marketing function.
TAYLOR: Yeah. Yeah, and I would say in a clinic setting, operations really can be subdivided between the medical providers and the hat do you want to call them--the experience providers? You know, I mean the people that greet you at the front office and the people they answer the phone and the people that answer your emails when you have questions, if that's not the provider. or the nurse practitioner, or whatever. So there's a distinction there. I think that the outcome is important, but the experience is also important. And I think a lot of centers have really good protocols for the medical side of things, the outcome, but maybe not as stringent protocols or well-thought-out protocols for the experience side of things. And it could be to their benefit to sort of formulaically look at that and say, how do we measure out the success, happiness of patients and how do we work to improve it?
JONES: Rob, that's impossible. Every fertility specialist that I've ever spoken with has the best clinic, they have the best success rate in the country and their competitor sucks.
TAYLOR: Yeah, that’s fine! Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We can look at data, like on FertilitySuccessRates.com. We can look at live birth rate per transfer and it's not the sole indicator--I want to be clear about that--but it is a good kind of touchstone of you where the center is at. And obviously patient populations differ and all of that, but if you want to look at numbers, that's not an unreasonable number to look at--for every transfer they do how many healthy babies are born? And even better, how many are healthy singleton babies, right? But do we have that same kind of touch point or data or something? I mean, yes, we do--Yelp reviews, right? Like how many of your Yelp reviews talk about billing mistakes, or talk about the rude personality, or the long wait times every single time they come into the office? And how do you address those things like that? I'd say operationally in the same way that you look at improving a protocol, medical protocol that’s maybe not operating as well as it should. I don’t know.
JONES: I don't think it's just fertility specialists do that, many business owners do this, but I think it's one of the quickest ways to mediocrity which is to say that we're so great and everybody else stinks. And it's something that I hear a lot when I talk to prospective clients and I--first off in most cases, the competitor doesn't stink. It probably has fairly comparable success rates, there's some that are really above others, there are certainly some that have better experiences, but most people are at least delivering some sort of baseline of a product. At least doing some parts of it well. And I just refuse to do that with my own company. Marketers are way worse than fertility specialists! You talk to a marketer, every other marketer suck somehow, we have the secret sauce somehow, and I think that’s just carte blanche to arrive at mediocrity. I will never say that there are other competitors in the market. You and I--we can compete for some deals sometimes. I never in a million years say, “Rob sucks. TD Media sucks at that.” You know what, they're probably pretty good. There's other who are probably pretty good. I am so obsessed with fine-tuning this system in building my team to make this, that's all I'm focused on. I don't think it's because other people stink. And then I have to actually look at, “Okay, well, what are we not that good at?” And have a real self awareness and I just don’t think improvement can come without it.
TAYLOR: I agree with that.
JONES: So with fertility centers, one of the ways that I see that challenge manifesting itself is that I think there's a lot of folks that are pretty happy right now. I had Gina Bartasi on the show from Kindbody a couple weeks ago and I look at a brand like this and I think if you are anywhere New York, how are you not pooping your pants?! There is this brand that is so clearly dialed in with the current demographic, and has the funding, and as the right people in place, and has the acquisition strategy and I think the reason why people aren't freaking out is because they’re pretty good.
TAYLOR: Yeah, right now.
JONES: What do you say about how people are doing? I think, even more in our field than others, there is probably a lack of urgency.
TAYLOR: Yeah. Yeah, it's a good question. I mean it's obviously an unproven to this date. I mean, I don't know the numbers that are doing and how much they're able to monetize this idea. It is a new, let's just say, a new strategy to acquire patients and provide some level of care prior to turning them over to a fertility center. So, to degree that they're successful in gaining traction and making that the standard way--because I honestly still think referring physicians are always going to be you know, that's your top tier, that strategy. Go out and see the referring physicians and bring them gift baskets--that doesn't go away, I don’t think. I think most women already a relationship with an OB/GYN and if there are fertility challenges will probably initially consult with that person. And then at the point that they need to move forward to more advanced treatment, will rely on, or at least consider, a referral from that source. So, you'd have to disrupt that sort of acquisition chain way down at the OB/GYN level, I think to make a significant dent. I'm not saying it's not possible, I'm just saying, I don't know that they're doing that yet. And honestly, I haven't looked at it to know the numbers or anything like that.
JONES: I'm not as convinced that asked to be so far down the channel because I mapped this out with my Creative Director and my Account Manager. We mapped it out like swimlanes. Like how does somebody go all the way from being someone that doesn't even know that they're trying to conceive, all the way down to someone that goes to the clinic and leaves with successful treatment. What are all of the different stops along that journey? Right? And there's a lot of them.
JONES: And there are so many points where people can get stuck at the OB/GYN level. There are so many points where the doctor might not really investigate how long they've been trying for. It is very common. How long you been trying? Three months, six months, even though they haven't been having sex with contraception for the last three years. They've been having sex without contraception. And the doctor doesn't refer them, or the doctor might attempt to--sometimes the OB/GYN will do an IUI without ever testing the male partner. There are years wasted at the OB/GYN.
TAYLOR: Oh, for sure, for sure, for sure. I just think that that's probably in, medically speaking anyway, traditional medical establishment, right? That's probably the first stop for a lot of people and so by marketing to those folks, like I said, that’s probably top tier strategy, at least it has been for our centers. When we look at where the patients come from, that's always the number one usually is from the physician referrals. And that may change. We haven't seen, I don't believe, have seen a drastic decrease. I mean Kindbody isn’t operating in our market yet, so we’ll see if that changes.
JONES: So I tried to address the issue of patient attribution right off the bat, because I think it's fundamentally broken. What are you doing to attribute where new patients are coming from?
TAYLOR: Yeah. So we really focus on the digital online strategy, right? So, we can definitely create a program for physician referrals, if it's a new practice we can write up a how-to and even farm the data and say, here's the schedule of who you're going to go talk to, and all of that stuff. We're not boots on the ground in the market, so that requires a person at the practice to do that. But in terms of digital--and so the point of that being that we rely on the centers to kind of feed that back to us. Anything that's not from an online source, whether it's physician referral, or friend referral, or anything like that. But when it comes to online, we rely a lot on conversion analysis. So, we set up our sites to really try to channel people through a form when possible. I think there’s a lot of benefit to that. I think there's the center's that maybe just have an 800 number and kind of hide the contact form or don't have a dedicated consultation request form kind of miss out on some of the rich data that you can get from that. So, it’s like something anybody could go to any of our sites and look at. It's not a trade secret or anything. But we always have two forms: one for contact, one for consultation, and then potentially others if there's like a special type of market that we want to--LGBTQ, for instance, and we want to measure the response rate to those kind of promotions, then we would build a dedicated form for it. We really want to encourage people to fill out the form, as opposed to call. Calling, we can look at the length of the call and say, ok, well if we have a dedicated number for a new patient consult and the call lasts over 60 seconds, we're going to count that as a conversion. But we don't know the source necessarily. Obviously, when they call, we just attribute it to phone call, but with the rich data that you can get through analytics, we have a really good idea of for instance, how many people come over from Yelp and fill out a consultation request form. And then we can look at, just broadly, for every X number of consultation requests, what's your attrition rate? Like, how many don't show up in the office? What’s your fall-off rate? And how do we work to maybe improve that? And then from the ones that show up in the office, how many actually scheduled treatment? And so we really look at like, a three-step conversion process and we can kind of extrapolate from the averages--for every 10 patients we get in the door, we're going to have X number of patients seek treatment. And that lets us do things like assigned value to the acquisition from AdWords, for instance, so that we know okay, if we’re acquiring at X dollars, we're fairly confident that that's going to be a positive ROI on the backend based on our attrition numbers at the two other conversion points. So, we really don't rely a lot on patient-reported data because it's just erroneous. Somebody will say internet and they really meant Facebook, like internet is so broad, it shouldn't even be a source! If you're asking patients, where did you hear us from us, it should be Google, as opposed to the internet, or Facebook or social media. Yeah, so specific questions are better than general categories honestly. But with analytics, we look at that every month and we say, okay, here's how many conversions we got, here's where they came from. You know back in the good old days, if you remember when you could actually look at organic keywords and see from Google how many conversions you got for specific keywords. Those were good days because you could kind of discover a little bit more about visitor intent based on keyword choice and augment some of your strategies that way, but those days are kind of gone now. But we can at least see the source. So we know from FertilitySuccessRates.com for instance, you have an optimized profile on that, gives you X number of new consults as opposed to contact right? So there is some overlap where people will go in and schedule a consult through the contact form, which is not ideal, but we measure both and attribute a greater value to the consultation form fill. So we get good data from that is the point, and we don't have to rely on some kind of patient-submitted data. Although, they do still ask a question on the intake form and feed that back to us so we can kind of get some reality check to the numbers that were showing.
JONES: How often is that accepted or do you sometimes hear, well, yeah, sure. This consultation form is attributed to this AdWords campaign, but they could have just been referred by their doctor and then they came and they just saw that ad when they were checking us out. And they really came from the doctor, but they checked out that ad and then they came to the contact form that way--the schedule consultation.
TAYLOR: Yeah. I mean that's a fair question. We don't honestly get a lot of pushback because I think the feeling is getting them in the door is of paramount importance and if it takes them clicking on an ad in conjunction with being a referral, referred from their physician, then let's get that done. While there may be cohort kind of factors like that, I think at the end of the day if we can attribute it to an ad, then the center doesn't have really an issue with counting it in that bucket. We’re not trying to do anything to dilute the numbers or to make us look more favorable, we honestly just report what we see. And if there's some discussion about the validity of it, then you will engage on that as we need to, but that has never happened. I mean generally speaking, we're pretty good at getting the numbers where they need to be and everyone's generally pretty happy with the results that they're seeing. So us going back and reporting on where they're coming from is just sort of our due diligence to let the client know that we're looking at the numbers every month per our contract. And if we do see a dip, we’re--at most of the centers we work with over a year, we're really looking so to make sure that the number stay where they are as opposed to. And then there's always new sources of referral traffic, for instance, so it's enlightening to look at that. But yeah, we don't get a lot of pushback from that.
JONES: Well, you talk about self-reporting being erroneous, but it's all erroneous in my opinion in a vacuum because Google AdWords attribute differently than if you look at the conversion sources paid search in Google Analytics, that attributes differently. or Facebook ads manager definitely attributes differently than does Google Analytics. Google Analytics being last click attribution. Facebook saying they were served the ad and then they went through it--they had 30 days to convert that point, and then Facebook counts that as a conversion.
TAYLOR: And we look at like we look at last attribution primarily. I mean, we will look at the difference and see what the cohort factors were, but bottom line, the thing that led them to the site where they filled out the form, the most immediate thing to us is the most important. And not to the exclusion of the other things, but if I see that when they click on the ad, they're more likely to convert then when they click on the Facebook post 20 days previously, then to me, it's more important to capture the prospective patient when they're in the mindset of taking action. So if they’re clicking on Facebook ads and just sort of browsing centers and they're not quite so sure about where they want to seek treatment, you know, we want to be in that group of centers, but when it comes down to talking about if we needed to cut budget, would you want to cut budget from being in that first bucket or being in the bucket where yeah, we know when they click on the ad, they're converting at a much higher rate? So, we would want to you know optimized for that which converts more frequently, I'd say.
JONES: I see the impetus to focus most on last click attribution, but that could really cause you to disproportionately invest in some parts of the funnel as opposed to others where a more combined approach could be effective. And I'm thinking of an example of a business coach that I hired for example. If you looked at the last click attribution, it would have been whatever email that he sent me, but I did not choose him because of that email. To your point, it's like well, that was the that was the final straw that they made it happen, but it isn't the reason why I chose him. If he sent me that email, I wouldn't have ever done that. Maybe it got me to do it sooner, your argument could be well, if you didn't do it sooner you may have just as well never done it. But I did it because I know somebody else he worked with, I did it because I listen to his podcast, I did it because I've done one of his free workshops, but that email would be what gets the attribution, if we only look at last point attribution.
TAYLOR: Sure, sure. And like I said, it's not to the exclusion of the other factors. Like I would never say, don't do the free seminars because we're not getting anybody to sign up on the day of the seminar. Like, anything that can get people in the door, even if they're not making a treatment decision, that point is good. So, we have to balance it. You're right. You're right, but when it comes down to reporting it, when it comes down to where are we going to spend our money, we have to look at something. And to me, looking at the data point of well, what is generating the consultation request is the most logical place. The other things are more difficult. You can look at in analytics, you know, they have cohort analysis. You can see how frequently other platforms were involved prior to a conversion. But if you’re like--I don't know, I mean most of our centers the new patient who--or the new visitors who have never been to the site before converted a much higher rate than the people who are returning. So, I'm not saying it doesn't exist--it certainly does. There is this reputation brand development component that people want. Some patients will want to know a lot and experience a lot of the brand prior to making a treatment decision, but then there's a whole lot of other people that are just ready to move forward and they want to find a center that they feel has the best chance of yielding a successful outcome and that decision process takes place over a couple of days, not really months. So, we have to measure something and we have to sort of make the best choices we can, given the data that's available. Same thing with success rates, you know, you shouldn't make a sole decision based on the live birth rate of center. You should go meet with the doctors and experience the staff to some degree and sort of just to see if it feels like the right place as well. It has to satisfy the heart and the head, so to speak, but at the end of the day, if you want to look at data, that's not an unreasonable point to consider.
JONES: So let’s stay on this because I think we can solve this and get a huge parade at ASRM for finally vanquishing this issue. So we triangulate attribution because last click attribution is, for the reasons I described, it just does not encapsulate all the ways the person makes a decision. It is extremely important for all the reasons that you talked about. So last-click attribution, making sure call rail is installed on the site, so that we know where the phone calls are coming from, in addition--whether we're steering for contact forms or not, we still need to know where the phone calls are coming from. Right? So that last click attribution, usually coming from Google Analytics, and then checking it against AdWords and checking it against Facebook, but let's just call that digital last click attribution in one column. And then we still do self reporting because it's really important to have that against the last click attribution. Normally when we start with people, they have like one question that sometimes it's in the EMR or it's in the doctor's chart of “How did you hear about us?” And it's one singular open-ended question. So again, it doesn't do all of the things that help us understand how the person came to this decision. So we ask all new patients, usually like to have it outside of the EMR, every new patient gets it at intake, and it's a survey of yes or no questions: Did you see us on social media? Yes or no. Were you referred by a doctor? Yes or no. Were you referred by a friend? Yes or no. Did you read online reviews? Yes or no, etc.
JONES: I want to see the yes and the no because when we look at single source attribution and then we look at multi-source attribution, we see a different story. So to me, that means I got more data, which is better data because if I only look at the single source attribution, to your point, doctor's number one every time. Doctor referral when I look at yes or no, where you referred by a doctor, that doctor referral drops to about 55-60 percent and it's almost always under thee online, which is 70%. So that shows us then it's a different story, it shows us okay, people are still mostly coming--there's still a slight majority of people coming from doctors--
TAYLOR: But does it though? I'm not sure it does because I mean every center has a website. So if your question is, yes, no, did you you know see us on Facebook? I mean, I guess you'd have to look at the question. You're asking if you're just asking, did you see us on Facebook? Okay. Yeah. I checked your Facebook page. I saw you had one. I saw you had a X number of likes, but is that the thing that motivated me for treatment? Or is it the fact that my doctor who I already trust that this is where you should go? I mean you do due diligence, of course, you look at these other attributes, but what's the real motivating factor? I wonder if there's just another way to ask the question, like ranked in order of one to ten, what was the most important thing in making a treatment decision here? And sort of get added a different way as opposed to just yeah, I saw your Facebook, but it's not really telling me how much that influenced my decision. You know what I mean? It's a good idea though I like it. And what’s your compliance rate on that, though? We have a hard enough time getting people to show up with the new patient form!
JONES: The compliance issue is not with the patient, it’s with the center. So the best way to have a center adopt this is to give them an iPad or tablet to say here's the one survey that just goes on. I give it to them at intake, keep it separate from the forms. That's got us way and then we just make sure that the center is filling out. Everything that you and I are doing is really sort of, like, to do the best that we can without a totally comprehensive CRM that integrates with the EMR so we can see everything from from beginning to end. What it does also show us though, if what I'm seeing is okay, they haven't done any social media campaign in--pretty much in their history, or they’ve only done a little bit. And then we'd start doing something and they start doing something and I see five people seeing social media per month, and then within a few months that goes up to 25, and I'm triangulating that with last click attribution, and then I'm also checking on volumes. I have better decision-making information.
TAYLOR: Sure. Yeah, that's that sounds valid.
JONES: So it's one of the things that we do, but I just--and we're starting to do a survey, top with patients because we're drilling into this. Okay, if you were referred by a doctor, were you just referred to one? Were you referred to multiple doctors? If you were referred with that, was it a strong recommendation, or was it just an option? Were you not referred at all? And so we just have a couple dozen respondents at this point, so it's still a small sample size and I want to get a statistician to help me get a really big sample size and and ask better questions because I know that the REIs will rip apart the simple way of asking questions that I am right now. But we’re clearly seeing a trend that most people--the majority of people--are not getting one singular strong recommendation for an REI.
JONES: Which means that they are tiebreakers in the decision and I think this also affects with what you ultimately end up pursuing as marketing solutions because if we're just talking about bottom of the funnel in this way, last click attribution, then why--I mean, do you need to do any strategy at all or do you just go right into AdWords?
TAYLOR: No, of course you do! I mean, like I said, cohort analysis that you look at and you can see can see in analytics what percentage of visitors came from social media channel prior and didn't convert and then came back to the site and then converted. That number, from what we see, is fairly small. So, in terms of visitors to the website, now, I'm not saying that they couldn't see Facebook not click on it, or see an ad on Facebook for the center, not click on it, not go to the website ever, and then eventually land back on the website and convert from AdWords or something like that. That stuff wouldn't show up in analytics, obviously, because they never clicked over in the first place but they had been influenced by something that they saw another channel. So your point of asking for data from the patients themselves, provided that you can get compliance there from the centers and from the patients and they don't feel burdened by answering the questions, I think is a good idea.
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JONES: I get the impression from conversations we've had in the past that you're less bullish on social media than I am based on conversions. One, is that right or two, is it still the case? And if it is, is it the part of this discussion?
TAYLOR: Yeah, no it absolutely is and so it depends, is the answer to that, right? We have a center in Colorado where there's one doctor in particular that is just going gangbusters on Instagram right now, and really developing her personal brand, and posting frequently, and really growing her personal following. And not every physician is going to do that, obviously. In that scenario, I think social media is amazing. When you can actually get the doctors to use it and connect directly with prospective patients, that's gold. But you know, the flip side of that, the kind of stuff I see a lot of are just these sort of meme posts or just sort of just fluff-- the 999th person to report on the Kardashians, whatever, I mean, it just doesn't add value to the brand. It doesn't add any value to the patient. And so when it's used like that, I'm not a big fan of it. And I just see that you know, frequently. I think what we have kind of arrived at as a happy medium is to have physicians contribute content as they can because I think it's not enough to just report maybe on the latest trend in fertility, but you really need sort of a, here's why it's important or here's how we're integrating that in our practice or some sort of tweak on it that's not just reporting it. Something that personalizes it and gives it a spin unique to the center that it is being attributed to. And so when we can do that, we find that that works very well and it definitely a strategy that we incorporate. I guess a lot of centers will come in the door, I'm sure you have this all the time, and say, okay, will you write content for us for Facebook or Twitter? Can you post on our behalf, kind of thing. And you know it just, to me, doesn't make a lot of sense if you're just being another me too out there. It’s not enough to really move the needle, in my opinion. So we typically don't suggest doing that we can call and interview a physician and yeah, we obviously keep our ear to the ground as far as what's going on in the industry, and if we hear something interesting we can schedule a phone call, get a quick 10-minute read on why this is important how it might affect the practice or the patient population in that area, and then write something on their behalf, submit it to them for approval, and go from there. But I think without that kind of personalization, that it's a little bit of a hollow--not the most positive strategy to employ.
JONES: I’m against what you just described so I’m so glad you brought that up because I think social media is, without a doubt, the most expansive of any of the buckets that we can mess around with in digital marketing. It can mean so many different things and affects so many different things. In a way that--Google AdWords is Google AdWords. You can optimize, you can you can get it better to be super effective, but it's paid search. Social media can mean anything and so when somebody says to me, “Yeah, we're good on social media.” I say, “There's no such thing.” It is a universe that expands forever. I totally agree with Gary Vaynerchuk when he says that social media is a slang term for the current state of the internet. And it really is the slang term for anything that has to do with consumable content to the point where if we're just posting stuff like, “Hey, we're doing social media ads!” It's like well that could mean something or could mean completely nothing. You describe the content that's generic that gets recycled that everybody's doing, that somebody's probably paying a cheap agency to just look on Google News for fertility that day and then post that link. Or it can be the solution that turns your current patient base into a word-of-mouth referral network. We have had to do a lot more things to get that activated for some clinics than others. For some clinics, it's just like there are dry forest and that timber is, like, completely dry as a Californian, you might not like this analogy, you just drop a match and it goes on fire!
JONES: There are other clinics were that's where I start to see more of the experiential things that maybe aren't connected and it takes a lot more remedial help to get that going, but that can be the difference when up-to-date. The biggest issue that we've had--one of the biggest issues that we've had--is that most people don't talk about infertility. Sometimes, even their closest friends and that was true all the way up until just a few years ago. And now we have the opportunity to where not only are they talking about it, but they're saying, I went to Smithtown Fertility Center. I saw Dr. Smith. Here's a picture of my child. Here are all of the feelings that I felt about this before going to see Dr. Smith. This is how Dr. Smith made it better, and we love him, and named our child’s middle name after him. All of a sudden, I see that as this person's former coworker or cousin and that's a word-of-mouth referral that never would have existed. And the clinics that are all in on this can see double digit increases and new patients and procedures just from organic social.
TAYLOR: But it takes an investment, like a willingness to share and willingness to be human on part of the physicians, you know? It's not enough just sort of post even testimonials right? You can make a graphic of a nice testimonial that you got and and post it, but you're taking a picture with the happy parents that bring their newborn in at your center and posting that, that's at least sharing something--sharing your image at the very least, right? And I think that a lot of the older physicians, especially, maybe are a little reticent to sort of break down that patient-physician barrier and sort of share some aspects of their life. I mean the physicians that do social media really well, I think are the ones that are posting, just like you and I would, in terms of sharing what their interests are, sharing, what they're doing on a day-to-day basis. Also, obviously, sharing knowledge about infertility and treatment options and those things, but not just making it an ad. Not just making it a sales pitch, but really like being human. Should be called human media or whatever, right?! Because it's not--and I think that's a challenge and not every physician is going to be able to pull that off. But I think the ones that do have the ability, kind of connect with their patients or prospective patients even before they step foot in the office and sort of give a sense of who they are and what their dynamic is like and build that trust even. Which is kind of a far-out thing to say, but people trust what they know and the more that they can know about the person that they're considering for fertility treatment, I think the more likely they are, barring some other unfavorable aspect, to feel comfortable enough to make a treatment decision there.
JONES: And there's a two-year window, right? In most cases, probably average of a two-year window, where we probably could get somebody to make a decision and there's just so many reasons not to. All of these different vehicles via social media are our abilities to address those different areas so that we can make that cycle shorter and consequently, draw in more people. And you make a great point of that--you don't think that some physicians are going to be capable of doing that, I agree. And I think if they plan on being in business for more than just a few years more, that they need to employ people in the practice that are. They can document and participate in some way. Because I look at--when I first wrote about Instagram a couple years ago, I was talking about practices doing it and there were very few doctors doing it. And now there is a contingent of mostly younger female doctors, probably six to ten of them, that are killing it on Instagram. Some of them are associates, some of them are not even 36 years old, and they've got waiting lists already, they’ve built out their own practices already. And if we were to pool a hundred thousand women ages--either a certain age that are active on Instagram and said, do you know--I'm not going to name them by name, or I'm not going to name the other guys name--but you know these other established physicians who we would recognize as the main speakers in our field. I'm betting you we’re seeing way more of these newer physicians named as recognizable as opposed to who we know to be the established sort of leaders.
TAYLOR: Agreed and you know, the associate who's building up--its influencer marketing here direct from the source, so it's nice. It's not even influencer--I mean, you’re your own influencer in that respect. I mean, you're the one who's building up your own brand and saying--I think the young associates that are doing that now have a little bit of extra cred when they go to negotiate partnerships, or join another practice, or something like that. They're kind of building this following and that goes with them and it's not attributed to the practice. It's attributed to them, it walks with them now. If you’re changing geographic locations, there's some ramp up time in a new location, but you know an Instagram profile with 1,500 followers looks a lot more attractive than 50. So I think even if you were to move across country, that following that you built up in a specific geographic area is still probably transferable in terms of a benefit in a new geographic area. It just pulls the curtain back, you know? And I'm not saying--there should be a distinction between the provider and the patient. I mean, there are obviously two separate roles and I'm not saying that it should be so familial that you just like, go out with them and hang out socially, that's not at all. Like I think that's probably not at all what I'm saying, but the idea that you can kind of reveal a little bit. Patient goes in and is revealing a whole lot about themselves in that initial consultation, pretty much laying it all out on the table, right? And so to not compensate for that, but sort of equalize that a little bit, I think establishes trust, makes people feel a little better about sharing and feels a little bit more reciprocal, perhaps. and I think that's a huge benefit in terms of the heart decision. You've got the head decision, the heart decision and depending on your makeup, you're gonna use one more than the other or maybe split them in between, but it's good to probably to cover both bases where you can.
JONES: So conversely, I love that you talked about that brand equity being built by the individual physician in this case, transferable with the individual physician.
JONES: Conversely, if that brand equity is not built for the practice, then a perspective practice has less to offer a perspective physician that they would like to hire. I think it's one of the issues that were seeing. When we're talking to independent practices, especially single physician practices, they’re having a real hard time finding the doctors to either replace them, or even the smaller 3-4-5 physician groups are sometimes having a pretty difficult time finding another doctor to join their group. And no small part of the reason is that there's lots of that brand equity. I always use the analogy of you're selling a really expensive old house. It still needs all of the capital improvement that you're probably not going to let them make while you're still living in the house.
TAYLOR: Hmm. Yeah, interesting. Yeah.
JONES: So if we're a practice that is really active on social media and we have a pipeline, we have a word-of-mouth referral network, that's something that we have to offer new physicians as opposed to if we just say, “Okay, you're going to have to come in and make some--bring bagels to doctors and figure it out.”
TAYLOR: Yeah. Yeah. No, I think it's harder to probably build up a following around a brand in this space as opposed to a person, but it's not impossible. I think because, depending on the practice and the patient will have a primary care physician within that practice, they may be seen by other physicians, but I think the treatment decision seems like it comes down to a choice of the individual physician a lot of times as opposed to the brand of this center. At least that's what we see in the testimonials and there's definitely cases where the patient testimonials will say, you know, doctors X Y and Z were all fabulous, I saw them all. But they'll usually have one that they've, at least in the initial consultation, they’re meeting with one, right? And so that's the thing that drives the treatment decision, typically, is how that consultation went, how that initial--that feeling with that physician is.
JONES: So what you're describing is what I mean by some needing a lot more work to build that because I think you're right, it is easier for an individual physician to do. The exceptions to that often are, if you are a Midwest small market practice, you can build that stuff right out. The most powerful practice social media presences are small market Midwest. My hypothesis is that these are really family-oriented places and it really sucks if you're in your late 20s to mid-30s, late 30s, and you don't have children and your friends do because there ain't nothing for you here. And so find your community through these practice’s social media communities. That's my hypothesis of why that is. But I just noticed that, like, we just started working with one small Midwest practice and I already know that it’s like man, we're gonna light this up! It’s just my hypothesis of why that is. On the coastal side of it especially, it takes more to do that, you're right. People have more attachment to the individual providers. So there are ways of doing it. One of the ways is, if everybody in North America or every fertility center in the world isn't doing a baby reunion, you’re completely missing out.
TAYLOR: I completely agree with that.
JONES: But that's one way! But you know what, there was one clinic that we worked with. You know who is a rock star on social media? We have the providers on, they get maybe a couple thousand likes on a good day, then we have this person, and they would just get hundreds of engagement. It was the phlebotomist. I don't know why!
TAYLOR: Just a good personality? or just I mean--
JONES: I'm shrugging my shoulders here for everybody can't see my non-verbal calls, but yeah people loved her! And they would get dozens of comments! So I don't know what it was about this person. I never actually met her in person and she wasn't a super extroverted person, but whatever she did, made people love her and by using her likeness on social media, that got people to talk about their practice, introduce their friends, to people in a way they never would. So it usually will take longer if you're not a small Midwestern, maybe small South or Western practice, but if you put in the work, there are. Just whatever it is, if it is the phlebotomist, keep using it because that's the equity that you're trying to find.
TAYLOR: And I think you make a good point in try a bunch of things and see what works, don't just think it has to be the physicians. It’s an excellent point. It's a pretty low cost thing to experiment with, generally doesn't take a lot of resources to put together a post or record a video. And you should maybe go through and see maybe have a rock star nurse that's there that everybody loves, and she just has that great personality and warm and whatever. That's an interesting idea.
JONES: One thing that you and I think have in common is we just always want to give more value than we take. I think there are some marketers that probably don't care. I see a lot of those people hawking online courses in my YouTube feed.
TAYLOR: And they all required like, a year contract or something! And I mean, not to speak about business practices. I'm not sure if you do that or not, but you know one thing we always do is we don't work on anything but a month-to-month agreement. And if we're not providing value every month, then we want to walk away from the relationship, too because somethings broken there. So that's one way that we just kind of stand by our work. And it happens, you know, there's cases where somebody's nephew just graduated from college and got the ear of somebody in the practice and they think they can do a better job internally and you without any kind of evidence to support that, it gets the green light. So there is a downside there. But yeah, I figure why--it just bought us another eight months of time even. Do we really want to be in that relationship where it maybe we're even helping to educate somebody who's gonna eventually take over into the work? So yes, we don't ever try to keep people as clients artificially, I guess is the way that we tread off right there.
JONES: Yeah. We're the same way. I would never go right into a 12-month engagement and then the first thing you do is strategy, so if somebody wants to take that and have somebody else implement it, they can. In fact, it probably won't make sense for, especially a lot of the larger groups.
TAYLOR: That makes a lot of sense! That’s one thing I noticed in listening to your podcast. You have that little thing about just getting the strategy in place first and that’s so important. I can't tell you. I mean, we're the same way. We generally don't do strategy without the engagement of build out because I find there's trouble handing it off to other people because we actually design and build and do the strategy, as well. It's just generally more efficient to have us kind of do it all, but the idea that you just, hey, we need a new website. Well, okay, let's step back from that first and let's look at A) What’s wrong with your current site? What's good with your competitors’ sites? How's your social? What’s your social reputation like? And look at all of these things because if we're just going to pour more into a leaky bucket or whatever the analogy is there, it's not going to yield the kind of result it can. So look at the conversion chain first. What percentage of visitors, what your conversion? Right? That's one of the first questions we will always ask. Do you have a consult request form or if you have a contact form? What percentage of your visitors fill that out? Contact is a little problematic because a lot of those patients are in treatment already, so you can't really distinguish based on the ones that aren't. But without those numbers, it's hard to have a target to improve against. So, I think it's an excellent point that every center should consider if they’re looking to do a redesign, it definitely--you have to do the analysis ahead of time.
JONES: Do you make them give you Google Analytics before you?
TAYLOR: Before we agree to take the project, if they are comfortable give me access to the whole site, I'll ask for like six months--let me see a six-month window of what’s the traffic like. but honestly most of them aren't even measuring conversion. Honestly, one really good selling point is like well, if you're not then there's something broken with your system because how are you measuring the result of what you're doing? So, I’ll give that one out for free, I guess!
JONES: AndI'm glad that you talked about that with the strategy because I think very often, it’s where people like to invest at least amount of time.
JONES: And it's the most important and so there's a thought I engineered a while ago. I hang out with a lot of other digital agency owners. I don't get the impression that you do. Do you?
TAYLOR: Not really, no.
JONES: So I'm talking to one another digital agency owner. He has a niche for credit unions and we're at dinner and I said, “Man, I just want all of my clients to be case studies.” And he looked at me and he said, “If you got even half of your clients to be case studies, you’d be world class.” So I want to be world class and I don't want to settle for half either. So if I wanted all of my clients to be case studies, what would I have to do? What would need to be in place for that? So I reverse engineered that. And so before I go into what we do, this ties into my question before which is, I know that you want to return the investment for a client. If you've got everything that you needed from the client, if you were saying, “Hey, you're gonna be a case study.” This is gonna work. What do you need in order to set you up for success?
TAYLOR: So we definitely need the time to do the analysis. We need to look at the competitive environment. We need to look at the traffic they're already getting. We need to look at the conversion chain. So all of that research before we even suggest what we're going to build, right? And then, honestly, we need--and we get this, we're fortunate with the clients that we work with--so we need buy-in and we need them to trust us that when we say, “Look, you don't really want to have three different colored fonts on this page and two of them underlined and three of them bold.” And like, I mean, it's a, you know design questions--there's always the impetus to make this the most important thing and then this the most important thing and then this the most important thing, you end up with three most important things. I mean, if you look at the upper right corner of a lot of websites out there in this industry, it's like, okay, you have your donor login, you have your pay button, you have your schedule consultation, you have your language switcher, all trying to compete for the same real estate, and that just two detracts from the effectiveness of the design. So we really come in and say, “Look, if you're gonna hire us to do this, then we're not saying we're going to give you our suggestions, and it would probably be a good idea to adhere to most of them.” Not to say we're not pliable, I mean, if there's other demands, then we will try to factor those in. But we come in and we say, look we need to agree. What's the most important thing? Schedule consultation form fills? Okay cool, then we are going to work backwards from that and we're going to optimize the site to do that. And that means that the upper right corner is not going to have much crap in it--it’s going to have a schedule consultation button. And no, we're not going to put the phone number up there because we don't want people to call! They'll find the phone number if they really want to call. We want them to fill out the form. And so getting that buy-in and that trust and that adherence to our suggestions, I think is really critical for us to be able to build a successful outcome for them.
JONES: You said the two biggest things which are buy-in and time. Buy-in and time. And so we put that up front. That's the first thing I did when I restructured the way we do engagements. I looked at everything every engagement that I had been successful in and the ones that we hadn’t. What is the difference? Those are the two things that I had.
JONES: So those are the two things that I had asked for up front. Buy-in and time and if I don't get those up front, I won’t even engage.
TAYLOR: And we have a clause that nobody--they can't hire a competing party to do an analysis of our work. We've had a couple of agencies that have had relatives or something that just want to kind of chime in on and give their opinion on things and it just creates a competitive environment where we're having to sort of substantiate, before we even do things, why we should do them. And we've been in the business long enough that you know, we have a pretty good idea of what will work. And so just getting the trust, it's really the trust. If they want carry around the legacy, the baggage, of the three agencies that have failed them in the past into this new engagement, then--there are cases where we probably just aren’t going to do that. You know, it's just unfair to us and I get it, people have been burned and they don't want to get burned again so they're cautious the second or third time around. But we just hopefully can resolve that ahead of time by, here, call this number, talk to this doctor, ask them what it's like to work with us a somewhat how their business was and then you just getting that kind of on board attitude where we're all working in the same direction. I think is important.
JONES: I can't stress that enough. Because if you don't have that, then every single thing that you try to do, if it doesn't get sabotaged, is vulnerable to sabotage.
JONES: Every single thing like, adding something to Google Tag Manager, or just a single page navigation change, or adding a particular page, or optimizing a page. or optimizing an ad set, or using a certain creative, or running a certain campaign. Every single thing is liable to extra scrutiny that slows the progress down to the point of ineffectiveness.
TAYLOR: Yeah, and I mean I want to be clear, like every center we work with has a Marketing Manager on staff. They have somebody--not everybody, but the bigger centers--have and we work really well with that person. I tell them, “Look, my job is to make you look great! I want to make your job easier.” So, I try to establish that relationship and make sure it's not competitive right from the get-go.If they had half a foot in digital or they used to do digital and now they just kind of want to outsource it, but they still want to have an opinion about it, those are probably not great relationships. The ones that have worked really well for us are the ones that are, you know, they definitely have a firm grasp of the brand and the strength of the brand and have a picture of how they’re unique in their marketplace and can kind of get us up to speed in a really quick way in terms of what the differentiating factors are or some of the weaknesses of their competitors. Obviously, we do our own analysis as well. But they’re really vested in that story of the company, but they don’t do digital. They just rely on us to execute. And they’re also open to interpretation or augmentation of that story based on our research and as we are to them as well. So I don't want to give the impression that it's like we've got to have complete control and we know everything. Definitely, it really helps to have somebody on the inside who's in a marketing function that you work cooperatively with, I think.
JONES: That is such an important relationship that you talked about and wanting the marketing manager to succeed, wanting them to look successful, to not have it be competitive. I noticed that it's often the most competitive--it has the potential to be the most competitive during the sales process.
TAYLOR: Well, they’re the ones that know the most about what you’re doing! They’re the ones, generally, who are going to be having a big voice in terms of whether you get hired or not because it’s their domain.
JONES: Right. I still want the people that are the ultimate stakeholders in the room making that decision. And the reason is not because I don't trust the marketing manager, because I don't think they're doing a good job, it's because, if we're talking about doing something that's really transformative, if we're talking about something that's like real significant, we need to be able to wax philosophical and have a conversation at a higher level than just like, how much does the website cost? What would you do for Facebook ads? We need to have that and I can't ask a marketing manager to expend that capital on his or her own up front. I would rather put my neck on the line to have that conversation directly with the stakeholders. Because if the marketing manager has to do that in the beginning, then three months, six months in the engagement, if something seems weird, or something’s slower, or not the expectations on one side or the other, then it's the marketing manager that has to put all of their political capital and like that's their job. They have other things going on and I don't want them to have to do that for the agency.
TAYLOR: Sure. Sure. Sure.
JONES: So I set that up and beginning like, “Listen, I want to talk to you, but I need to be able to talk to the person who's ultimately--the people that are ultimately--holding the stakes in this as well because I need to get their buy-in. I need to get them to buy in and not have you get them to buy and because otherwise there will be too much pressure on you later on.
TAYLOR: Yeah, I mean that definitely in the acquisition phase of new business, it's essential to talk to the people that are actually, maybe not writing the checks, but funding the checks, right? But then, we found anyway, on an ongoing basis, generally those stakeholders become less available. They're busy seeing patients. That's not what they do. So our primary point of contact in terms of getting a pulse of like, how'd is the practice feeling, what's it looking like, that is generally coming through the marketing manager in terms of them saying, “Hey, we have this initiative or we're seeing a little decline or we really want to ramp up this patient population, or whatever it is, or we want to respond to this thing that our competitors are doing,” that's generally directed through the marketing manager. So like you said that relationship is really critical in the initial acquisition phase, but then also, on an ongoing basis.
JONES: That’s the idea. I don’t want to have them super involved for a number of reasons, but I need them at the beginning for all of us to agree, for all the people who are here, all of us to agree. We want to get gross profit to A. We want to get the number of same-sex patients to B. We want to get our egg freezing program to C. We want to get our egg freezing program to D. We all need to agree on that at the top level. Not something that's been dictated to the marketing manager. At the top level, we all need to say, like, we're in it. We're in it together to do this. We're going to get you there no matter what, so then we can go off with the marketing manager. And so then when we run a certain campaign later, the marketing manager is able to approve it, is able to get it done in a way that isn't so scrutinized because they know it's in service to this master goal that we all agreed was the most important.
TAYLOR: Yeah, agreed. Yep.
JONES: Is there anything in the sales process that really gets to you? You've been doing this a long time and I think you're a more--you're pretty cool-headed guy. You probably don't take too many things personally, at least I don’t get the impression you do. But is there anything like in the engagement or the sales process the really bothers you?
TAYLOR: Not really. I mean, I never take it personally. Like, if we don't win business then you know, they made a choice for whatever reason. If when they come back to us in six or eight months and say, “Hey, we signed this contract for another year, but we're not getting the response or results that we wanted. Could you help us out on this other project?” We generally wouldn't take that engagement. But it doesn't bother me. It's business. Yeah, some people are fixated on the cost of things as opposed to the anticipated return on that cost. And I can't really fix that. All I can do is educate them and say, “Yeah, this is what we do. Here's where we've done it before, and we don't take engagements where we don't think we can do something similar.” If somebody comes to me with a great website and conversion flow is perfect. The reputation is perfect. And they say, “Hey (not that that ever happens, just theoretically) we know we want to double our patient population.” I’d probably have a real hard time just saying, “Yeah, we can do that.” I would work on managing their expectations and looking at what I really thought was possible and then give them a more realistic expectation. And if that's not what they want to hear, then that's the way it is. So none of that bothers me I guess is the point. Yeah, just maybe people ghosting. Like if you take the time to write a proposal and then they just don't even reply to like a status update or anything like that. I've had that happen a couple of times, I think that's just rude, but you know still doesn't probably keep me up at night.
JONES: There's only one thing in the sales process that I've identified offends me because I don't take losing business personally. In fact, when people say--because our process is really clear and it's really firm. I don't bend on it. And the one person just said recently, “Hey, we really respect to process. We get it. We just don't feel like doing that,” And I said, “Not a problem at all!” That's what I'm screaming for!
JONES:They're just looking for, oh, can somebody do other stuff? The answer to that is always yes. There's always somebody that can do other stuff. If we're talking about like, what is it really? Then here's the information that we need. Here's the time commitment and here’s the ground rules for the discussion.
TAYLOR: Yeah, it doesn't sound like that bothers you, it's just, it's a stoner.
JONES: Oh, no, no, no, not that part. So there's that part--that part of it bother me. If somebody says that--actually, I like that. That person and I will have a relationship. I’ve had a lot of relationships that start that way. And then they come back and we do business together. If anybody tells me like we went with these guys because they were really cheap and they didn’t want to do the strategy stuff, they just wanted to do the--that doesn’t offend me. It like, ok, I see where your head’s at, it's not something I would recommend, but I see where your head’s at and I get it. The only thing that offends is when people ask me to sell them something that I, from the beginning, am so transparent that I don't do or sell. So there was a recent conversation--and maybe it's an amalgam because I’ve had a few of these--but I said to the folks, listen, we don't engage with people right off the bat. We don't go into 12-month engagements with people off the bat and do long-term engagement. The first thing we do is this little Goal Diagnostic. Here's all the details for it. Then we do the strategy, and then we do a project, and then if you want after that, then we can engage. And it's like the only decision that you have to make right now is do you want to spend $600 and two hours? That's it. That’s the only decision you have to make. And if my eBook, if all my podcasts, all my speaking, all my blogging, isn't enough for you to say yes to $600 and two hours, then that's fine. But that's all--I am not trying to sell you a long-term engagement right now because I don't know if that's going to be good for us. I don't know if I can really help you. And this person just wanted to take it to that route. Well, we want a long-term engagement and what that would be like and we need to see all of A B and C. I said that's not the way my process works and I've only said it a hundred times. It's on my website. I'm just so transparent about that. I am not trying to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn. If you wanna double your IVF cycles we’re going to really strategize what it’s like. I’m not going to say, like, here's what it's going to be right off the bat. And so the only engagement that I want to do with every fertility center is that initial consultation that we have and then we'll see from there. But sometimes people just want to go right into it. They want me to--it's like they want me to sell them. I don't want to do that.
TAYLOR: I feel like we do a little bit of that goal diagnostic work just as part of the sales process as opposed to like splitting it up into a separate billable item. Like, we kind of just have that conversation as a way of screening whether or not we would work with them. But it's an interesting idea to have a little engagement.
JONES: Well, you know why I did that, right?
TAYLOR: No. Why?
JONES: It was our sales process.
TAYLOR: You got tired of doing it for free?
JONES: Partly, yeah! It takes up a lot of time and it’s really valuable. And the other half is, I want them to be bought in. I tell people, if you want your $600 back--
TAYLOR: It's not about the money. It's just about them having an actual business relationship with you as opposed to just--yup. That makes sense.
JONES: I told you this was going to be therapy!
TAYLOR: No, I get it man!
JONE: I think people listening to this--think about the new ones that we explored about this tiny little niche which fertility marketing and yours and my different perspectives coming together like, this is what I'm seeing and this is what you're saying. I think this is so valuable. You could do with any expertise you hire, any strategic partners. Like I would love to go to a room full of accountants and hear them complain about their clients--us. So I can really understand. Okay. Okay, if I were in able to engage with them in this way--
TAYLOR: How to be a better client to your accountant?
TAYLOR: That’s a good point.
JONES: And I do try to do that for my accountant and I do try to do that to other people because I look at the people--anybody that I'm paying is effectively a team member of mine. And there's a way to treat your employees if you want to get the best result from them. And I think a lot of that can actually be applied to all the people that you might otherwise call experts, or strategic partners, or vendors, in that order.
TAYLOR: Remove friction from their work process. Wherever you can, make their job--don't do their jobs for them obviously--but where you can make it easier for people to do what they're good at. Get out of the way. Make it happen.
JONES: It's especially when there are people like you and I that are not selling bridges in Brooklyn. I know Rob Taylor is not selling oceanfront property in Iowa. Let the guy who his job. Help him help you because--I cannot sleep if a client even perceives that we’re not giving value, I think about it when I make dinner, I think about it when I'm in the shower, I think about it at the gym, it dogs me. And so it's like--and I want that to be unequivocal and that's why I think I take it a little more personally if I'm treated as a vendor in that way.
TAYLOR: Makes sense.
JONES: Rob Taylor, we have had an amazing conversation, in my opinion. I hope!
TAYLOR: We’ll see! We'll see what the comment are like.
JONES: This is what Rob's and I’s cocktails after everybody goes to the nest, this is what Rob and I are doing.
TAYLOR: Minus the cigars and whiskey!
JONES: Which I thought it wasn't so early in the day…
TAYLOR: It is a little early...
JONES: Rob how would you want to conclude about your thoughts for patient acquisition, for business development, for marketing for our field? What's the notion that you'd want to conclude with our audience?
TAYLOR: I think just encouraging practices to look at the whole patient experience. Not just what happens with them in when they're seeing the patient one-on-one, but what's their wait time like? What’s the billing--what’s their billing mistake ratio? Because it's just so hard as a marketer when you have a practice that is producing good results, good success rates, but then they have all of these other negative factors that pulls their reputation down. It’s really easy to say this is a great center by success rates, you probably will get pregnant there. And then have to fight against the, “Yeah, but I wait an hour every time,” or “Yeah, but you know, the billing mistakes,” or “but,” and all of these things. Honestly, it seems like the medicine is the hard part and that other stuff should be fairly easy compared to the level of science and medicine that's being provided. But for whatever reason, it sometimes doesn't get as much attention. So I think valuing the patient as a referral source and doing everything you can to make sure they leave happy even if you're not able to provide a successful outcome. I mean, we see in some of our practices patients leaving reviews saying, you know it wasn't successful, but I had a fantastic experience and I would rate this practice five stars and the fact that I didn't get pregnant is not their fault. It's just that they tried everything and I feel like I was treated with respect. You can make a win out of even an unsuccessful outcome, I think in terms of your reputation.
JONES: Rob Taylor, owner of TD Media. Thank you so much for coming on Inside Reproductive Health. It's been a long time overdue.
TAYLOR: Thanks, Griff. Appreciate it.
You’ve been listening to the Inside Reproductive Health Podcast with Griffin Jones. If you're ready to take action to make sure that your practice drives beyond the revolutionary changes that are happening in our field and in society, visit fertiltybridge.com to begin the first piece of the Fertility Marketing System, the Goal and Competitive Diagnostic. Thank you for listening to Inside Reproductive Health.