Smart Doctors Don’t Buy into the “Last Click Wins” Myth

last click myth, customer journey

To hear some news reports tell it, you could be forgiven for thinking that Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas won the team gold all by herself, Carmelita Jeter had no teammates for the 400-meter relay and soccer goalie Hope Solo lived up to her last name and won the final match singlehandedly.

Needless to say, others’ contributions were equally important even when they were overlooked.

Unfortunately, too many medical practices take a similar approach to their web marketing. Instead of seeing the larger picture, they focus exclusively on the single traffic source that delivered a “lead” and, ultimately, a new patient.

Known in marketing circles as “the last click method” of assigning value to different channels, it might more accurately be called “the last click myth,” as it completely ignores the role other content properties and media channels may have played in bringing patients to that source in the first place. As we’ve discussed before, consumers are on a purchase journey that is rapidly upending the way they interact with the companies they’re considering doing business with.

The “customer journey” sounds linear, a trip from A to B. But the new reality is that it happens across multiple sessions, sites and devices, notes a recent report from Econsultancy.com. Products get discovered, researched, compared and purchased across multiple touch-points, in owned, earned and bought media. There are literally dozens of channels that can influence the sale.

Consider, for example, the path someone considering a facelift might take. He or she will likely search the web, click on ads and read patient stories from others who have gone through the procedure. And the particular path will likely be as unique as the people embarking on it.

Our research at RealSelf has found that people go online to research a cosmetic surgery procedure for hundreds –even thousands–of hours, says CEO Tom Seery. The notion that one single website accounts for how they selected a doctor is simply incorrect.

The solution is to take a more holistic approach, to recognize that consumers book consultations with doctors they’ve discovered and validated through information they’ve collected from a variety of sources. Invest your online energy in those online properties that let you engage with them at the beginning, rather than at the end, of the process.

Savvy marketers understand that you don’t capture your audience with just one message, just one pretty picture or just one perfectly placed advertisement, notes the Econsultancy report. It’s a complex process of planting the seed, nurturing it and finally harvesting the fruits of your marketing efforts.

When you think of it that way, you begin to realize that trying to win with a last-click-wins strategy is a losing proposition.

Doctor Takeaways

1. Understand where your patients are coming from

When new cosmetic surgery or treatment patients come for consults, they almost certainly chose you over other doctors. Ask them where they encountered the practice online, what websites they found helpful toward gaining confidence to book an appointment and how that affected their decision. That’s where you should devote your marketing efforts.

2. Understand what your analytics are saying

The process of assigning value to multiple channels — “attribution” in marketing-speak — is still evolving but it’s getting better all the time. Last year, Google introduced Multi-Channel Funnels, an analytic tool that tracks the sequence of interactions over time and highlights the role various channels play. Your webmaster or marketing agency should be able to provide the reports; if not, it may be time to make some changes to the roster.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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