Who Is Responsible For Marketing A Group Therapy Practice?

One of the most common pains a group practice owner has when it comes to marketing is that their clinicians “won’t do marketing.”

  • They said they’d do some networking, but haven’t
  • I know they have a lot of stuff going on in their personal life, so I’m not going to hold them to doing the marketing they said they would
  • We all say we’re going to write for the blog and then it never gets done

When you have a group practice, you go from leading and managing yourself to leading and managing others. And managing others requires you to delegate responsibilities.

There Are Three Ways You Can Divvy Up Marketing Responsibilities

  1. You take the marketing responsibilities
  2. You take the responsibility of facilitating a growth and marketing strategy that is executed by others (CMO/marketing team manager)
  3. You blend both 1 & 2 together in some way

Here’s What Doesn’t Work

  • It doesn’t work to be unclear on who’s responsible for what.
  • It doesn’t work to say that clinicians ought to be marketing and then fail to set extremely clear expectations, coach them on how to meet them, and then hold them accountable when they come up short
  • It doesn’t work to take all the marketing on yourself and then feel resentful that no one else in your organization is stepping up to help with it

Get Clear, Make A Plan

The first step a group practice owner needs to take is getting clear on who is going to do marketing.

There are many ways to navigate figuring this out but thinking about your unique strengths can be a good first clue as to how marketing might be delegated or not.

If you excel at marketing and already have a lot of success as a personal brand, you might want to take on most of the marketing responsibilities yourself. 

If you excel at hiring, coaching, and managing people, you might want to mostly hire clinicians that can do marketing and delegate further marketing execution to consultants as needed.

If you love both, you can navigate a balance between the two.

Important: If You Want Your Clinicians To Take On Marketing Responsibilities – Hire Accordingly

I’ve seen this mistake over and over again: an excellent therapist expands into a group practice thinking that all they need in the therapists they hire is them to have the ability to do good clinical work.

They find great therapists and bring them on board.

Next, from a place of pure confusion around who is supposed to do what marketing, they start trying to “get their clinicians to do marketing.”

The clinicians then struggle to get any marketing done. It’s not what they love to do, it’s not what they are trained to do, and in many cases, they chose to work within a group practice because they don’t want to do marketing. 

They say, “yes yes I can start on that marketing task tomorrow” and then never get it done.

The group practice owner is then faced with disappointment over their marketing plan based on the participation of their clinicians totally flopping. They’re wasting a lot of energy trying to think of creative ways to motivate their clinicians to participate. It sucks for everyone.

To avoid this situation: 

  1. First, get clear on who will be responsible for what type of marketing in your practice
  2. Next, when you hire a therapist, it needs to be crystal clear as a responsibility in the job description. In addition to hiring based on clinical skills, you also need to hire based on experience with marketing and enthusiasm for doing marketing.  

Not only are you hiring new team members based on their capacity to do marketing, you’re also setting the expectation that marketing is part of their responsibilities from day 1. Setting expectations is your job and a crucial piece of being able to hold your team accountable.

It’s unfair to hire a clinician to do clinical work and then require them to do marketing. It is misleading. Stop doing that. 

But I’ve Already Hired Clinicians Who Don’t Do Marketing?

If you’re in the group of therapists who didn’t make marketing clear and you want your therapists to take on more marketing responsibilities, you have two paths.

One is to focus more on what marketing you want to do on your own or with consultants or agencies you hire. 

The other is to have direct and earnest discussions with your therapists about your ideas to involve them in the marketing. You need to be clear that you are expanding their scope of responsibility – that they are filling a broader job than the one they signed up for. Honesty and transparency on this is vital for the continuation of trust between you and your team members.

Another POV: What Job Do You Want To Provide? What Job Do You Want Yourself?

Another way of looking at this is in terms of the job that you want to provide and the job that you want to have.

There are a lot of responsibilities to be fulfilled in any group practice. As you grow, you are able to delegate more and more responsibilities to others through hiring employees or contractors to take on some of what needs doing.

As you have the opportunity to delegate, you should create and recreate the roles you hire for and the roles you fulfill yourself intentionally.

For creating roles for your clinicians, ask questions like:

  • What kind of job do you want to create for therapists?
  • What culture do you want to create on your team? What kinds of conversations do you want to be engaging in?
  • What kinds of collaborations and conversations outside of clinical work do you want to have regularly with your team? 
  • When you coach or consult with your clinicians, what types of problems do you want to help them solve? 

For creating your own role within your practice, ask: 

  • What do you want to spend your time doing? 
  • Is it freeing or frustrating to coach others on marketing?
  • How comfortable am I hiring and delegating marketing?

Being clear on your own role and responsibilities will help create the roles of others and vice versa. Thinking of both at once will help navigate you through.

An Important Truth: Most Therapists Hate Marketing

It’s important to note that if you’re going to try and build a practice full of therapists that are highly engaged in doing marketing, it will be more difficult to hire.

Basically, you’ll be looking to hire unicorns: therapists who love marketing.

Some of the traits they might have:

  • They want to be seen because they know that being seen will help them help more clients
  • Great listeners – they understand how to listen to their clients and use what they observe to message the value they bring and connect to others
  • Derive pleasure out of building professional relationships
  • They find content creation like blogging, writing, social content, to be joyful and life-sustaining
  • They are quick to adapt and agile learners

Is it worth it to hire therapists in your practice that love marketing? Yes. Is it easy to find? No. 

Following The Leader: It’s Up To You

You are the leader of your practice. As much as you need to be attuned to the unique skills and visions of the individuals that you hire, you need to match that with showing your team the way. 

Tough love: if your marketing vision is failing it’s probably not on the shoulders of the clinicians who you are failing to set expectations clearly with and then hold accountable – especially if you didn’t hire them to fulfill marketing responsibilities in the first place.

Leaders are clear and don’t muddy responsibilities together. So how can you get more clear on who is responsible for what? How can you create a culture that celebrates the work that is well done within the delegated responsibilities? How can you inspire your team to work in their own zone of genius while you are also working in yours?

It’s up to you. You can do it. I have faith you can find your way!

Kat Love

Kat Love

Hi, I'm Kat Love (they/them). Therapists helped me heal from childhood sexual abuse so now I help therapists with their marketing and business. Here on the blog, I share insights on things like marketing, social media, websites, hiring, and more. I created a solution to help you get your website copy written in the easiest way possible. I also offer a limited number of one-on-one coaching spots. Would love to help you get out there, do the important work you do, and create a life and business you love.