URGENT MESSAGE: When considering the options of expanding an urgent care center, it is difficult to justify allocating money toward marketing campaigns because the return on investment is not definitive. However, correctly understanding and effectively implementing marketing metrics can be fundamental in strategically building continuously improving—and successful—urgent care centers.

As an urgent care owner, determining the value of marketing is difficult because a consumer’s perception about a company cannot be quantified. In any industry, a major concern with marketing is the inability to justify a return on investment (ROI), minimizing guarantee that a marketing campaign will be successful.

While it’s true that marketing efforts cannot produce quantifiable facts, as a business operator it’s important to realize that marketing can offer valuable metrics necessary to create financial estimates and support strategic building. According to Metrics That Marketers Muddle from the MIT Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, there are five key metrics that business operators should be aware of when evaluating the success of their marketing strategy: market share, net promoter score, the value of a “like,” customer lifetime value, and ROI.

Guidance for Urgent Care Centers
Market share is important for anticipating success in the urgent care marketplace. Identifying the market share within a region can help determine the potential optimization level for your urgent care center. Generally, marketing experts want to maximize their company’s market share as much as possible because they believe an increase in market share will lead to an increase in profit. However, treating this as the ultimate goal can be damaging to the success of your urgent care center. Instead, market share should be used as a metric that calculates expected sales volume within a region. By doing so, an urgent care center can anticipate expected profits rather than using the metric as a gauge to dominate competitors.

Net promoter score (NPS) is an indexed score that measures the willingness of a customer to recommend a company’s products or services to others, usually reflecting the customer’s overall satisfaction with a company’s product or service. While NPS should not be a focal point in urgent care, incorporating the value of a simple metric is important to improving your customer’s experience.

The value of a “like” refers to social media campaigning. The impact of a “like” can be similar to that of a customer’s endorsement; receiving a customer’s endorsement on social media, further, can be a valuable gauge reflecting the popularity level of your facility within the community. Social media users recognize your urgent care service, location, and customer experience. By creating a social media campaign, you allow users to remain up-to-date and in touch with your urgent care so they know where to go if an urgent care need ever arises. However, it must be noted that social media does not include everyone; therefore, it only measures a certain demographic.

Customer lifetime value (CLV) measures the present worth of all future value that a customer provides to a business. Some businesses do not worry about the CLV metric because they are not a service business. However, the urgent care industry provides service and is driven by patient visits. A clinic can have the best staff, supplies, and building but if a patient is not satisfied with their customer experience, the clinic will lose business. As an employee of an urgent care center, it is important to acknowledge that patients are the source of revenue and must be satisfied—otherwise, your job is at stake.

ROI is a financial calculation that can help you compare which project shows a better return on invested money. ROI is useful when deciding whether to expand your urgent care center, open a new urgent care, spend money on marketing your urgent care, or spend money on additional staff inside your location, etc. ROI is very versatile and can help quantify various solutions within a company. For example, a patient’s habit for visiting an urgent care center during the day is considered like an inverted bell curve; for example, an urgent care is busy from morning until afternoon. The quietest time of day is roughly 2 PM to 4 PM. As such, the ROI would indicate that hiring staff in the 2–4 PM window will be a bad investment because those employees will be sitting around with little to do. However, if you hire additional staff during the morning, ROI will be positive because additional patients will be seen and customers will be more satisfied by being treated quickly.

In conclusion, although these five marketing metrics do not constitute fact, they provide appropriate measures for judging the success of urgent care centers.

Aaron Williams is a student at North Central College in Naperville, IL.

Resources
www.alanayersurgentcare.com. Ten Activities for Marketing Your Urgent Care Center. 2009. Available at: http://www.alanayersurgentcare.com/Linked_Files/UCAOA_Top_10_Marketing_2009_10_06.pdf. Accessed July 12, 2016.

Bendle N, Bagga C. The metrics that marketers muddle. MIT Sloan Management Review. 2016;57(3):73.

Five Marketing Measures that Matter for Your Urgent Care Success

Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc

Chief Executive Officer of Velocity Urgent Care, LLC and is Practice Management Editor of The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine
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