The Myth of Chiropractic Marketing Fishing Poles

The more fishing poles you have in the water, the more fish you’ll catch, right?

I’m not a big fan of this analogy, and here’s why.

First, let’s look at what’s true about it.

It is certainly true that you want to have more than one marketing method being used in your office. And seeing as most chiropractors don’t have any solid marketing strategies in use, I can see why so many marketers are teaching this analogy.

In fact, many chiropractors expect there to be one magic pill that fixes their marketing woes. Relying on only one marketing strategy in your practice, even if it works great, is a recipe for failure. Hey, my Ultimate Chiropractic Ads work great in getting hundreds of new patients and thousands of dollars into your practice over time, but I have never claimed they’re the only marketing method you’ll ever need in practice.

With that said, let’s look at the fishing poles analogy a little closer.

More fishing poles is always better, right?

Are more new patients always a good thing, or does quality factor into the equation?

I don’t know about you, but I’d take 10 referral new patients over 50 telemarketing new patients any day of the week. You see, quality of patients is a big factor as well. Therefore, all marketing methods are not created equal.

I realize when we start talking about patients (people) having a measurement of quality associated with them, it’s going to make some doctors uncomfortable. I hope you realize I’m not talking about the way they dress, talk, or even act. Truth is, there is only so much time in the day. I would rather spend that time working with people who really want help and are willing to pay full price for it.

Back to our fishing poles analogy. After hearing it, you might think, “if having more marketing strategies is always better, why not 50 of them? Why not 100? Why not 500?” and so on.

I grew up fishing. My grandparents fished the rivers of Central Texas. My parents still fish the lakes every summer. By the time I was 18, I had eaten more catfish then most people do in a lifetime (and catfish is not the healthiest fish either!) I still like to go with my kids, when I can actually get away.

And there’s one thing I know about fishing…there’s a limit to how many poles you can handle at one time. At most you can hold one in each hand, then maybe have 4-6 in holders on the boat if you are really good. What do you think is going to happen if you try and add a couple more?

It’s very likely you’ll spend all your time just trying to keep your lines baited. If you get more than one fish on a line at a time, you’ll be in a bind, and maybe even loose one fish or both.

Now you could hire a “fishing pole” manager, akin to a marketing manager. And now that person can handle 8-10 poles while you can still handle your 8-10 poles. But the manager has to check with you every few minutes to see if she’s doing it right. Plus, you still got to tell them what kind of bait to put on the line, how long to leave the line out there, how far to cast, etc.

And what happens if you get a line tangled up? Now you’ve got to go mess with that and clean it up. Are you seeing the similarities to your practice yet?

Here’s the point…

You can only handle so many fishing poles at one time. That’s not being pessimistic, it’s just being real. It’s much better to have 8-10 really strong ones, shaving off the bad ones and adding news ones as you go along.

Perhaps over 5,10, or 20 years you can build up marketing strategies that can be left alone to work. By using the internet you can plug in many marketing methods which will run on autopilot, taking up a very small amount of time. But getting 100 strategies set up? Not likely.

That’s why you’ve got to make sure your 8-10 are working well. I recommend doing niche specific marketing like PI marketing, decompression marketing, neuropathy marketing,  and fibromyalgia marketing. You should do market in the newspaper, on the internet, through referrals, in office marketing, snail mail, email…even the radio and TV is your budget allows.

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7 Comments

  1. Dr. Beck,

    Great post, I would also add that for your each of your marketing poles there needs to be a system in place for handling that marketing. Once you have the right marketing poles in place its just a matter of using that system to repeat the marketing that is working.

    Todd P. Sullivan, DC

  2. drbeck at

    Dr. Sullivan, I agree and thought of discussing that very thing. However, the article was getting quite long already. Sounds like a good topic for a future post.

  3. Jeremy at

    Great post…you make some great points. Your post further displays the 80/20 principal and that there will be 20 % of what we do that yields 80% of the results so why not focus on those aspects as you point out but also maintaining quality. thank you for driving those points home…enjoyed the analogy!

    Jeremy

  4. Dr. Dan at

    Good, sound advice that I believe can help with my marketing. I often find myself with too many fishing poles out there. Thanks for the perspective and as always, looking forward to the next post.

  5. Jared at

    Great post. As a young doc I have always been told the more pole in the water the better. But I struggle with that concept because im always on the search for something new to add and not taking care of the ones I do have, so I am sure the ones I have do not produce as they should. Internally I have always believed that I need to reduce the number of poles and find those that pull good quality patients. Again great post.

  6. Your post reminds me of the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none“. And, unfortunately, this mentality is quite prevalent within our profession.

    Whether it’s your fishing pole analogy, someone else’s spinning plates, or just too many hats for others, your point was well articulated and those that come across this post should take heed by focusing on the few that produce the greatest ROI.

  7. Great that you are sharing your thoughts and experiences with the rest of us so that we don’t have to repeat the same mistakes others have done before.

    I agree, one can’t manage too many systems or poles at the same time. Most of our time should be spent treating patients.

Comments are closed.

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