[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]economic planningIt is important to have a plan before the cameras roll. That plan includes the script-writing process, story boarding, scheduling, crafts services, casting, location scouting, as well as gear and crew lists.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]film crewLogistics is a big part of pre-production. Who is expected where, for how long, wearing what, saying what, doing what, with what kind of equipment, and what permits, licenses, and contingencies?


Are you thinking you’d like a video to showcase your message about your practice, a technique you use to treat patients, or something related to your authority as a specialist?

First, do not ask me for my checklist What?!

Don’t be afraid to ask us for advice, guidance, or ideas. That’s why we are here. But expect to pay for our advice. It comes from experience, training, and years of hard work. When you hire a consultant, you are not only paying for our time, but for all that went into what enables us to give advice at this point in time.  We don’t charge an override or a finder’s fee on the videographers we recommend. What you pay them is theirs to keep. What we charge you is the billable rate we charge for our time and the value we bring to your project, in pre-production preparation, flushing out ideas, logistics, marketing strategy, distribution strategy and how to position the video so it meets your objectives whether that means revenue, brand awareness, authority points, or something else.

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I just spent three hours reviewing and giving feedback to an intelligent medical practice COO, who is also trained as a nurse, and the founding physician’s wife of a three-physician practice operating three offices in two states.  They are nice people. They are smart. They work really hard at being good community members, good clinicians, and honest people. They are innovative and engaged. They just spent a significant sum of money and a huge chunk of their marketing and overall budget on re-branding the practice,  re-naming, a new logo, new EMR, new billing company, new remodeling for their office-based surgery center, a new administrator. They are eager to do many things, enthusiastic, and hopeful about a future that is scary and uncertain under healthcare reform.  They face rival threats from competitors, politics from hospitals, they have bills to pay, staff to contend with, and face all the challenges every other small practice faces in small towns across America. They aren’t looking for a free ride or to take advantage of me, but they are concerned about costs – just like every other business owner.

This 3-hour review was after providing two lengthy explanatory “how-to” documents, namely New Ways You Can Use Video to Market Your Practice and Video Production Costs for the Small Medical Clinic or Concierge Medicine Practice. My first mistake was to assume she would read them.  My second mistake was to share my personal video pre-production checklist. I use this checklist drawn from years of experience and formal training to plan a the production of a video project for a client practice.  Why was it a mistake? Because she didn’t know enough to be able to use it. To her, it must have seemed so easy 1-2-3, just fill in the answers to these questions and a video is produced.  My third error: sharing this advanced practitioner tool. I don’t share my tools for concierge medical practice transition because they are useless without the knowledge of how to use them.  When will I learn sharing tools is only nice when the tool user knows how to operate the machinery.  I should write this on the blackboard 500 times.

This medical practice COO is not your typical, trained and experienced COO. She is the doctor’s wife, loyal confidante, co-owner of the practice, super-mom to a busy son with a business of his own at the age of 24 and a soon-to-be married daughter. She has the best of intentions. But working with her has given me a new perspective on “not knowing what one does not know”  and how it relates to the D-I-Y approach to certain technical projects that should be left to professionals.

In fairness, these days, everyone posts videos these days shot with their cell phone camera, right? In fact, statistically, every minute of every day, 48 hours of YouTube video are uploaded by people with a YouTube account. But then there’s also Vimeo, right? and how many others? So heck, how complicated can it be to plan and execute a video production for your medical practice?

The truth of the matter is…it depends. How much do you value and respect your brand?

Pre-Production for your medical practice video involves four key things:

  1. The marketing plan of which the video is a component part
  2. The strategy of how the video will be put to use, its objective, and its promotion
  3. The script and storyboard, with thought given to duration and target audience
  4. Planning for all the participants (crew, actors, others), and
  5. The logistics and location scouting and setup for the shoot

To begin planning for a video for your practice, first come up with a few answers to these questions:

Who is the target audience for the video?

Arrows have one point on the tip at the end without the feathers, so you can only have one target per arrow! The target cannot be both existing patients and prospective patients. That takes two arrows. Therefore it requires two videos, each with a distinct purpose. Patients are people who already were a prospect and are now a current customer. If you want to use the video for patient education, training, post operative instruction, or information, the messaging is different than the audience who has not yet chosen you and placed their trust in your ability to care for them.

Who is the target and what do they care about, specifically? An established  patient already made a choice of provider, and now cares about getting better. A prospect cares about making a choice of whom to trust, which providers to avoid, and wants help to decide where to spend their money and place their trust. How will your video help them to do this? How does your product or service relate to those concerns? How does it compare with other choices out there? Is it equal? Is it better? How will you get that message across in a way that the message will be received?

Establishing authority in a subject

If you want to establish authority, how will you say something different than what is already out there? How will you steal away another authority’s lead spot that has already been claimed?  If this video is for information purposes does the market need another informational video? Consider this:

  • Search term: “Wrist pain video” | Results: 16,700,000
  • Search term: “Back pain video” | Results: 492,000,000
  • Search term: “Weight loss surgery video” | Results: 65,900,000
  • Search term: “Stem cell video” | Results: 57,800,000
  • Search term: “Concierge medicine video” | Results: 1,770,000

So that should give you an idea of what the market already has to choose from as far as those who believe they are making inroads as an authority on a topic. Where will your video place? Who will be the referenced authority in the video? What makes them stand out among all the others?

Call to action and expected /measurable results

So, assuming you can get people to watch your video, what do you want to happen when people finish watching your video? What is the call to action? How will you word it? But first, back up a second. How will you get people to find the video in the first place.

Distribution plans and getting people to watch the video

My friend, the COO answered on her worksheet, “put it on our website, YouTube, mail to them, email it to them, mobile video?”. In my feedback, I cited that her response was not a strategy, or a plan to be implemented. Instead, it was a list of places to post the videos.  But that’s where my “aha” moment occurred. She was answering to the best of her ability. Would you answer the same if asked that question? Perhaps. If you don’t know what goes into getting people to watch your video, you probably think that if you put it out there, they will come.  Nobody just “knows” that it doesn’t happen that way. If they did, why would people upload 48 hours of new video per minute? I know it because I was trained to know it. Until I was trained to know it, I had no idea how the magic happened. She wanted to save money with D-I-Y pre-production. She probably also hoped she would save time by using my checklist too. Nope. Now we are frustrated each with the other. I gave her a checklist she was eager to receive. I wasn’t being paid, because she’s a friend, so I didn’t take time to vet if the tool was beyond her ability to use it properly. Now she’s disappointed, I am sure. And I am upset that she’s upset. That’s how the phrase “Nice guys (and gals) finish last” and “No good deed goes unpunished.”

What she probably didn’t know about video distribution

When you send a video via email, often because of the type of link, it gets relegated to the spam folder. She probably didn’t know that. If you  embed the video, it could easily be too large to email. If you don’t convert the video to the proper format, you might not be able to fit it on a DVD. If you burn it to DVD, and send it, there is a cost to duplicate and mount on the DVD, a cost for the cover and cover design, postage, and people may not watch it once it arrives. If you place it on YouTube, how will they find it, and how long will they continue to watch, and how many other similar competitor videos will be shown on the right hand margin of additional similar choices? If you place it on your website, how will you drive people who are not yet customers to the website and then deep into the website to find it, and then watch it in its entirety?

What’s the point?

When I asked her to answer “What is the idea for this video?”, she answered,  “patient education, marketing, to present information on testing and treatment for [a particular disease] and topics related to [the disease]”. I have never seen a single arrow with that many points on it!

I believe that she figured it would be one mega-video of about 70- minutes, chopped into segments over 7 different-but-related conditions, each of about 10 minutes in duration. But I don’t believe she had any clue about what it would mean to produce such a project. She had four distinct purposes, four different objectives, 7 different conditions, and none of them had a connection to producing revenue by means of implementing a plan. Would you have answered similarly? It is a common misconception.  That’s not how it works if you want a good product.

Another common misconception is that video production crews should be able to film every scene, write every word of dialogue, and adjust lighting changes in a single day. After that, the footage is off to the editor for yet another single day of work. Clients, and even some production companies, overlook the value and importance of pre-production planning. In fact, the majority of production work occurs during pre-production not filming and post production. It is important to have a plan before the cameras roll. That plan includes the scriptwriting process, story boarding, scheduling, crafts services, casting, location scouting, as well as gear and crew lists. I know this because I’ve been educated in college courses and then benefited from hands-on work experience doing it. How could she know this?

Here’s a good rule to live by. For every minute of finished video, figure an hour of camera time with an experienced professional videographer, and 2-3 hours of pre-production time. An average cost per minute of finished video is between $2500-$4000 – often much more. If you are getting a “good deal” find out if it includes all your pre-production costs or just the videography and post-production editing. The average complexity project is usually 2-8 hours of production work for each minute of finished video.

  • Scriptwriter: $300-445 per page
  • Director/crew: $1300-$4000 per day
  • Editing suite: $155$455 per hour
  • Talent: $1000-1,700 per person per day
  • Tape stock: $50 per tape
  • Duplication: $13 per copy

These are merely averages for standard service and based on a simple shooting schedule along with a need for program distribution. If you add music fees, artwork, and sets, a promotional tape for your practice may end up costing more than the annual marketing budget. Given inflation and the wide variation in production costs, the quickest way to figure out how much your video will cost is to assume $2,500-$4,000 per finished minute of program.  Many teams also charge $25 per member of the crew for travel time, per hour.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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