Marketing drives word-of-mouth referrals

Samantha Toth, ABOC, offers a seminar designed to help doctors understand the relationship between strategic marketing and word-of-mouth referrals.

Key Points

About 3 years ago, Samantha Toth, ABOC, was giving a marketing presentation to a group of eye-care professionals (ECPs) when a doctor stood up and said that his practice didn't need to market because all of its referrals came from word of mouth.

That doctor's comment motivated Toth to create a seminar that she has since presented to ECPs nationwide. Her program is designed to help doctors understand the relationship between strategic marketing and WOM referrals. It also helps doctors identify tracking techniques and tools for successful marketing, and explains how to create experiences for patients that they will eagerly share with others.

"It wasn't thinking like a hospital," she said. "It was thinking more like a hotel."

Still, many optometrists don't take advantage of the simplest, yet most effective, tool.

"I ask, 'How many eye doctors ask patients for a word-of-mouth referral,'" Toth said. "You'd be shocked by how many don't make that a part of their patient experience."