When you find out you have a budget that must be spent by end of your fiscal year, how should you spend it? We outline Foundation vs. Acquisition activities and the framework we use to help our clients spend the funds in a way that can help the entire fiscal budget of next year perform better.
In this week’s podcast, Jenny talks about utilizing end-of-year budget surpluses. One way is through Foundation activities, or one time projects that have a defined start and end time that set your organization up for success next year. The other are Acquisition initiatives, which help your organization finish out the current year in a strong way. Jenny offers advice on how to choose where to put that extra budget and how to choose the projects that will have the biggest payoff in the long term.
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[00:00:00] Hi friends. Welcome to today’s episode of We Are Marketing, Happy, a healthcare marketing podcast. My name is Jenny Bristow and I am your host. I am the CEO and founder at Hedy and Hopp. We’re a full service, fully healthcare marketing agency. I’m really excited to be here with you today to talk a little bit about end of fiscal year budgets.
I’ve received three phone calls this week. Today’s Tuesday. I’m recording on a Tuesday will be released on Friday, but I’m recording on a Tuesday. I’ve received three phone calls already from folks that have end of year budget surpluses, and they’ve called me and they’ve said, Jenny, we really want to brainstorm and talk about ways that we can invest this for our patient acquisition work.
And so there’s a structure and framework that I use to help people decide the prioritization of where to spend their budgets. And I wanted to share that with you today. So first, let’s set the stage. Let’s imagine, you have a new [00:01:00] fiscal year starting July 1st, and you just realized you have a budget surplus that you need to spend between now and June 30th.
So that way your budget for next year stays the same. We’re not going to talk about if you should just give it back or not. We’re going to assume you want to spend it, and you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to maximize your marketing for the year. So you’re going to spend it.
There’s two different approaches. You have either foundation or acquisition work that you can do. So I want to walk through that thought process. Vast majority of the time, I advise folks to spend that excess budget on foundation activities. What can we do between now and the end of the fiscal that will help make all of next year’s fiscal more successful?
So those activities may be something along the lines of patient journey mapping. What is their experience coming to your website, learning about a specific offering or service [00:02:00] line, and then actually finding a doctor, scheduling an appointment, mapping that out and identifying where you can improve the digital user experience.
Perhaps, it’s a Google local listings audit and optimization that could be a really impactful one-time activity to again, improve your entire program for next year and marketing budget success. Perhaps it is a content marketing strategy, doing an audit of the assets you have now and prioritizing maybe what you want to develop next year.
Maybe you need to clean up your messaging and you need to really become clear on the way that you talk about your organization, persona development, really figuring out who you’re talking to for your service lines or your offerings and really cleaning that up going into next year. Those are all foundation activities.
You can think of them as like one time projects that have a defined start and end time. And again, they’re going to benefit your entire 2025 fiscal [00:03:00] marketing output. On the other side, if you feel really great about your foundation. Maybe your conversion rates are super strong. You’ve already invested in all of those.
Then you can start proactively thinking about acquisition. Maybe you want to drive a really strong end of fiscal campaign performance. Maybe you want to test out some additional marketing tactics. I want to walk through again, the framework of how I help our clients think about where to put excess budget if it’s again, acquisition focused.
So you feel like your foundation is good. Now you want to focus on the actual acquisition of patients. Paid media is one place that a lot of folks want to put those dollars, some framework to think about paid media bottom of the funnel is really where people already know that they need what you’re offering and they’re just trying to find a doctor, they’re trying to schedule an appointment. They’re trying to get in. That’s Google and Bing and other search media, right? That’s pay per click. That’s really putting the money in [00:04:00] Google and making sure whenever people Google orthopedic doctor near me, they are able to find your services and schedule an appointment.
Interesting things you can test that maybe go above and beyond that, really thinking about social media. How do you, what, maybe you want to test some certain campaigns, maybe you haven’t done social media in the past, but that’s an opportunity for you to really be thinking more about who your average customer is or your patient is thinking going back to that persona that hopefully you have developed already.
How can we reach those folks? On a variety of channels online, and maybe you want to test out some fun channels like Spotify and Pandora, uh, streaming ads. Maybe you want to test there’s a variety of tactics that maybe are on your wishlist podcast advertising. Maybe there’s a variety of things that are on your wishlist that maybe you want to do just a little sprint for to be able to test the performance leading into the next year’s fiscal.
The one thing that I would always advise against and this is 1 thing that we’ve had a lot of folks ask us about is simply trying [00:05:00] to do awareness campaigns between now and the end of the fiscal and that may be something like a Facebook campaign that doesn’t have smart persona targeting or doesn’t have a good content strategy or patient journey behind it. It’s really just trying to get your brand out there.
Unless you’re maximizing and ensuring that every single patient who’s proactively trying to find you online can find you and schedule an appointment easily. I would never advise you to spend money on awareness. Ever. A lot of agencies would be happy to do the money, put it on programmatic.
Stop it. Stop it. Don’t do that. I actually don’t even allow our clients to spend money on programmatic unless it’s a very specific use case. And we feel really confident that they’re maximizing media otherwise. I’m not even to get into all of the privacy potential concerns with programmatic platforms.It really is just very low effectiveness um, and difficult to prove from a brand awareness perspective.
So, if you are finding yourself in this really fun [00:06:00] position, like a lot of folks are, end of fiscal have some budget leftover want to maximize it.
I strongly encourage you to think about foundation projects that you can do between now and the end of the fiscal year that can help make all of 2025’s fiscal output more successful. What have been your hiccups? What have been areas that are impacting your overall success. Is your cost per patient acquired too high with your media campaigns? Dig in and find out why if you can do foundational activities and improve the cost per new patient by 10%, that essentially gives you 10 percent additional budget for next year. With all other things equal. So if you are finding yourself in this fun position of having budget left, call me. I’d love to brainstorm and give you some ideas of what we see other folks doing. But again, I strongly recommend that you spend some time focusing on that patient journey and maximizing it.
One time [00:07:00] projects, maybe content audit strategies to improve searchability. There are so many ways to tackle it. It just depends on what your individual organization is struggling with. But again definitely recommend foundation versus acquisition activities. Thank you for tuning in today.
Hopefully this gave you some good food for thought. If you’re one of the many folks in this fun position right now, and as always we’d love to be your partner. So if you’re currently working on a patient acquisition campaign and perhaps looking for a new marketing agency partner, give us a call. We are a full service agency.
And we would love to work with additional providers and payers across the country to help you maximize your marketing budget. Thanks for tuning in today. Have a great rest of your week. We will talk to you soon.