recently cohosted a webinar on relationship marketing with eRelevance, a marketing agency from Austin. During the presentation, we discussed a conceptual model for new patient marketing that updates the marketing ‘lead funnel’.

If you manage marketing for a large group practice, you may already be familiar with the term lead funnel. A lead funnel is the age-old analogy used by marketing types to describe a traditional sales process. Prospective patients (sales leads) make an initial inquiry and, after passing through a process of needs evaluation, price negotiation, they end up in your office. It’s a funnel since, in most cases, the top is bigger than the bottom: more prospects than patients.

But the funnel analogy is imprecise since it focuses attention on the new patients that emerge from the bottom. Somehow we ignore (or forget) the potential patients that didn’t quite make it into your chair. In some marketing campaigns, this can typically be 60 to 80% are “in the funnel”. A failure? Hardly.