Medical Practice: Who’s in Your Community?

Have you ever sat down to think about who is in the community you serve? Where do they gather? How old are they? What’s their gender? How many kids on average do they have? Where do they live? Have they gone to college? Do they use technology? Do they search for medical advice on the Internet? Where do they go online? Are they on Facebook? Do they use Twitter? How often do the text? What’s their socio-economic status? Are they rich, poor, middle class or all of the above?

I do. I think about these things to try to know more about the people we treat, we help, we advise. Finding answers to these questions helps me develop a message… the story I want to tell others about our practice. But more important, once we know who we’re talking to, we’ll do a better job addressing them.

Mega companies do this very well.  For example, cereal companies don’t design their TV ads for parents, despite the fact parents are the ones that buy the cereals.  Likewise, Toyota knows who buys Prius ( Sorry, I don’t know the plural tense of Prius. Priora? Priores? Priuses?) ; so they don’t bother addressing the guy that likes Hummers (RIP).That is because these companies know their community, their tribes, their customers.

Where does one start to answer these questions?

A lot of these answers comes from the doc’s. They know lots of little things about each patient, their families, their friends, neighbors, relatives, social-workers,teachers and so on. Granted, the data is not collected scientifically but helpful nonetheless. So involving the doctors is a no brainer.

Another great place to start is Facebook. When one opens a “business” fan page as opposed to a personal Facebook account, you get some very good statistics on the people that visit your page.

Here is an example with demographic info of our fans on Facebook. Check it out and see if there is anything that jumps out.

For the most part, this data has no real surprises. Except when one looks at the 13 to 17 age group. They account for 24% of our fans. That group is as big as the 35-44 year old and bigger than the 18-24 year olds. I thought that is pretty remarkable.

That means we have a lot of teenagers (mostly girls) that are interested in what we have to say.

Had I not asked who is in our community, I would have not come across data like this; thus never thought about how to address the 13 to 17 demographic.

Facebook data is just one example, and I know that 197 people isn’t necessary the biggest of samples. But it is a start.

The value in understanding one’s community is potentially huge. Not only for advertising purposes – like for Toyota and Nabisco – but for growing stronger relationships with one’s community.


  1. Love your analogy with the car manufacturers. The best part is the picture of the little girl swimming with the big goggles.

    Great minds think alike…I recently wrote a similar article for Medical News Orlando on “who’s on your team”. Your point is so on target for today’s practice to be aware of their community, patients and who is attracted to them.

    Great Post!