In today's competitive marketplace, many medical professionals are being forced out of their comfort zone and into the world of marketing to grow their patient base. This is the case whether a sole practitioner, group practice or hospital chain. Additionally, with the increasing number of mergers and acquisitions in the medical field, it is imperative the branding of the combined entities is designed to retain existing patients while growing with new patients. Competing with the nearly 5,000 marketing messages an average person sees each day, medical professionals today are faced with the unique challenge of developing an effective marketing strategy that appeals to 30-somethings who have grown up accustomed to tuning out marketing messages and turning to their iPhones and other mobile devices for information on everything from which restaurant they want to go to, to finding a new health care provider.?Technology, advertising and the abundance in choices for medical care make it more important than ever for medical professionals to differentiate themselves in the market. Patients demand more information, attention and communication than ever before. Today's patients want their information when they want it, where they want it and how they want it. Another matter of critical concern is reputation management; any negative review must be dealt with properly in a proactive manner. Balancing marketing, brand strategy and image has become a growing concern for practitioners who have traditionally been able to focus on their patients more than their blogs. ?The first step in identifying the best marketing strategy for your practice or business is understanding the market and how your brand is represented in the industry. Recently, our company, Proforma, a marketing and brand management company, was approached by a client in the medical field who wanted to identify two major problems they were experiencing in their practice: Why were certain patients leaving and what was the market's perception of their business??Our market research showed that patients were leaving because they didn't fully understand the client's complete service offerings and they were unhappy with the lack of communication they were receiving from their physicians. Clear branding can help revitalize image. The client/company needed to refresh their brand and the way they communicated with their patients. By refocusing their brand with specific marketing goals in mind, we created a new marketing and branding plan that was in line with their target market. The first step was making a change in the way the practice communicated with clients. Technology is playing a major role in how patients expect to communicate with almost every business or service they use. An up-to-date, modern website is imperative. ?Consistent brand management is as important for maintaining a respected image in a business, as it is for communicating the offerings of a practice or hospital to its patients. An eCommerce solution can put all the pieces in place for the medical client to improve their brand consistency, and save time and money in the ordering process. Company uniforms, branded promotional items including stress relievers, journal books, slide charts, pens, apparel and more were added to the eCommerce site. By coordinating everything from their forms and pamphlets to their websites and social media, medical professionals can create a sense of professionalism and instill confidence in their patients.eCommerce solutions also can serve as a platform for creating brand consistency on a broad scale. Medical systems with multiple buyers can manage purchasing in one place. Products can range from promotional items for patients, staff uniforms and medical supplies for physicians.?How patients experience the office visit with their physician can also be streamlined to give them access to more information. Wristband USB drives allow patients to keep their medical information close at hand and it gives a quick and easy way to for physicians and patients to share information.?Matching barcodes help eliminate common medical errors that plague the system. Medical errors cost billions of dollars every year and puts patients at risk. Matching barcodes ensure medical information is recorded, documented and shared accurately and quickly. Using barcodes helps medical professionals be sure they are giving the correct medication in the correct dosage to the right patient at the right time with a simple scan.?Putting all the refreshed components together, helped the client reposition their brand in the industry and improve patient relations. Communication and consistency proved imperative in improving patients overall impression of the practice. Modern updates to an old marketing strategy helps every generation feel connected and invested in their medical provider.?Frank Nathe is the owner and operator of Proforma NextGen Printing Plus, the Orlando area Proforma office. With over 30 years of experience and more than $430 million in sales, Proforma remains focused on providing solutions to businesses worldwide for their marketing and branding communication needs. Visit Nathe at www.proforma.com/nextgen or he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.