Being a successful chiropractor is not a right you have just because you’re qualified. The competitive landscape has transformed the practice into a place where real business and marketing principles need to be used in order to flourish, and those who don’t embrace it will be left behind.
Marketing isn’t an option anymore for chiropractors, and this is why.
Economics of Chiropractors
You might see this word and simply shut down, but stay with me because it’s a simple concept of supply and demand.
When the demand is greater than supply, chiropractic doctors have the leverage to be able to charge more, and fill their schedule easily. It’s the scarcity that makes people willing to spend more, and the desire to search makes marketing a breeze – because you don’t even need to.
Chiropractic care has been one of the most used alternative therapies in British Columbia. It was listed in the top 5 for 1997 and 2006 in this Fraser Institute’s report by Nadeen Esmail. Chiropractic care has also been more widely accepted than other alternative medicines or therapies by traditional physicians, and is often supported by extended medical plans. This has lead to more people graduating as chiropractors and entering the workforce.
So more recently we’ve seen increases in the number of chiropractic doctors and competing wellness practitioners solving similar problems, and yet demand for the service has stayed relatively stagnant. This translates to a customer who can be choosey, and less business savvy chiropractors start competing on price to get their business. This is a poor attitude to try to combat these forces as it brings down the entire industry. Instead we should look at how to attract customers to our service despite not having the lowest price. For this we use marketing and start augmenting the business with other attributes.
WorkBC’s 2022 Labour Market Outlook cited that employment demand for chiropractors and similar health industries is growing at a good rate of about 2% in most of British Columbia. Half due to replacement, half due to market growth. But by not taking into consideration self employed DC’s, other similar practitioners, and consumer usage, it is hard to get an accurate picture of the competition and market.
Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pooley wrote a very honest and bold article about their experiences as chiropractic doctors, a very negative outlook on the current and future states. It inspired me to keep thinking about what we really can do for the future. They described how it used to be easier, there was far less competition, you made a lot more money, and there were many new patients lining up. But now it’s getting a lot more complex and difficult to sustain a practice, if you even managed to get one going. You can’t sit back and accept a changing or declining industry, either fight back or start working on a new career.
I Want You To Fight Back
Very few are going to be proactive about their practice. They are stuck in their ways, and they aren’t sure even what the next steps are. But if you’re of the few who do take a stance in this business atmosphere, online, offline, content, social media, advertising, networking, and customer experience, you still have a very real chance of flourishing.
It is now more important than ever to think of your practice as a traditional business fighting in the world of awareness, likeability, trust, and experience. There are many industries where marketing and providing exceptional customer experience isn’t necessary, like retinal surgery, but chiropractic isn’t one of them anymore.
There is so much more you can do to become a business that your patients rave about. To give them extra value, service, care, and attention in ways no one expects. Starting from a good marketing foundation, and working that into every tactic and tool available at your disposal will ensure you come out ahead of the game and continue to do what you love – help people.
Advancing The Profession
By using these marketing tactics like creating content and an audience, you will also help to become a part of the atmosphere that can build awareness, perception, and relevance to the entire chiropractic community. With enough doctors advancing their platforms, voice, and engagement with the public it is actually possible to begin to affect, and increase the market demand and recognition from institutions and organizations.
It all starts with chiropractors taking up bigger roles as true business owners and marketers.