Marketing – Sales – Outreach – What’s the Difference; Smart Flight Programs Know

Marketing – Sales – Outreach; What’s the Difference

By Rich Obertots

For clinicians and technicians in Critical Medical Aviation – everyone must be involved to some extent in Outreach. However – is it not the case – that most are highly confused – if not frustrated – if not enraged about just what it is they are to do and how to do it. Is this you?

In the soon to be published The Book of Outreach 2019 – you will be provided everything you will ever need to know to be highly effective at Outreach. In the meantime – here is a section from the book to help clarify the difference between Marketing – Sales and Outreach.

Three words and three concepts get interchanged a great deal in healthcare. They are marketing, sales and Outreach. It’s very common to hear healthcare professionals using these terms as if they were the same – and they are not. As it relates – especially – to Outreach – it is important to know the difference – because each is very different in what they accomplish and how they do it.


Simply put – going a little “Old School” here – marketing is about “The 4 Ps” – Product, Price , Promotion, and Place. Service can be substituted for Product. Why this matters to Outreachers is simple. Without getting into needless detail – just think of Marketing as Strategy and Messaging. The professionals in marketing determine the actual strategy then formulate the corresponding messaging and branding concepts and channels. Channels are the ways that the messaging and branding will be communicated.

As an example, they may decide their hospital will position itself as “The Region’s Leading Stroke Center.” Therefore – they will develop marketing campaigns and promotions that broadcast the message. A brochure to provide to Primary Care Physicians may communicate; “Refer your patients to us because we have evidence to prove the best outcomes with patients suffering from a stroke.”

Product – Stroke Center – The Best (Not The Best at Cardiac)

Place – Compared to all the other things we could do – or others do – our place in the market space is Strokes . We do Strokes (not Cardiac)

Promotion (Branding / Messaging) – All the hand-out materials, commercials, talking points, Social Media, Augmented Reality simulators at medical conference booths, etc. will message and brand “Regional Stroke Center” (not Regional Cardiac Center)

Price – The costs and fees – will also become more and more a factor in the future. These are to be published – however – at this writing – there is a great deal of confusion about how the price/costs compare between one provider and another. This is far beyond the scope of this book or what you should know – at the moment.

Bottom ECG: As an Outreacher – think of Marketing as the professionals and departments that decide on and create the STRATEGY, MESSAGING and BRANDING. They determined, “We are The Regional Stroke Center” – now you – as a “channel” – will be Outreaching that message in many ways (to be covered later.)

And keep in mind a great deal of marketing is “PUSH” one-way – like TV and Radio commercials, print ads, billboards along highways, post-card mailings and more. Outreach is extremely two-way – pull.


Many will say, “Outreach is just the same as sales. We just call it Outreach in healthcare.” I disagree. Here’s why.

Intent – Velocity – Aperture

A true sales professional’s intent is to know and communicate the message that marketing creates – then conduct a transaction – close the deal – get the sale! Very specific. “I sell a medical device used in diagnosing strokes and I need to close the sale on this device as rapidly as possible and move on.” That salesperson’s boss – also expects – hyper-focus on selling that device and closing the sales at the shortest possible sales-cycle (or highest velocity.) It is a transaction. Others will follow up for support.

There is also more push and one-way activity than in Outreach (I’ll elaborate more later.)

Like a camera lens, the sales professional’s aperture is very small and tight. Hyper-focus. Sell that diagnostic device. If they do anything else – they are likely to fail and be fired.

Yes – there is such a thing as “Solution Selling” and many sales professionals desire to have relationships and build trust – however – they are on tight timelines with high expectations to achieve sales at high velocity and their intent is to close the deal and do the transaction and move on. If they are not so minded – they and their company can fail.

If you are a full-time sales professional – I realize this is a very limited view. I just need Outreachers to understand this and how they operate in a different manner. This is not about bad or good – right or wrong – it’s about clarifying how Outreach differs in general and in process from professional sales in healthcare.


Intent – Velocity – Aperture

Outreachers also must understand and communicate the messaging that marketing creates. Just the same as sales here. However – the intent is about being the first resource of choice and a trusted problem solver. Your first priority is not about transacting a sale or closing a deal. When a sales professional completes a transaction – although they may periodically keep in touch with the customer – most often – support takes over the relationship. In Outreach – you always – above all are supporting and fortifying the relationship.

You deeply engage and are hands-on – a great deal of two-way – back and forth dialogue. Most often – it’s peer to peer. You may be employed by The Regional Stroke Center – and yes – you are expected to earn trust and stimulate flight requests or referrals to your Regional Stroke Center – however – your engagement style and velocity are often much different than a sales transaction.

Remember; “Understand and Astonish the Right Customers Consistently” is the Outreach mantra

As an example, if you are Outreaching with an Emergency Physician at the E.D. of a small rural hospital – your process is to first be her resource – be her problem solver. You are not first pushing a marketing message or pushing one way for a sale. You are pulling – catching not pitching. You can better earn trust this way. Therefore – you may devote a great deal of time to matters entirely different than getting a flight request or referral to your Regional Stroke Center.

You may be helping her to set up a Girl Scout cookie sale for her child and her classmates. You may be solving a problem she has finding an assisted living facility for her mother. All in the process of establishing an authentic appropriate relationship vs. “Closing a Sale” or conducting a single transaction. Your aperture is very wide open compared to the very small and tight focus of selling a medical device.

YES – you must earn the flight requests and the referrals to your Regional Stroke Center. And – frankly – because you devote intensive energy and time to the Emergency Physician – to truly earn her trust and loyalty – it is most likely once she begins requesting or referring to you – if you astonish – odds are – she will be highly loyal and consistent. That is the essence of Outreach.

When you do this with the appropriate number of Emergency Physicians and staff at her hospital – you then get to the ultimate objective; CMAARS (Critical Mass of Authentic Appropriate Relationships.)

At the Most Basic Level; What’s The Difference

Strategy/Messaging/Branding (Often Push)  Sales and Outreach both Communicate the Message & Branding

Transactional – One-Way – Push – High Velocity – Tight Aperture – Get to Close – Move On – Short Term

Be a Resource – Two-Way – Pull – Low Velocity – Open Aperture – Earn the Trust – Get the Call – Long Term


The process of two-way hands-on Human and Digital engagement with customers and community to implement the organization’s marketing strategy.

The tactical objective is; to understand and astonish the right customers consistently.

This upcoming April – The Book of Outreach 2019 will be launched. Here are the 7 Core Chapters:

• I – How To Set Up Customers for Success Mind-Set; Discovering and Acting On The Three Intrinsic Drivers + AIL ™

• II – How to Triage Customers to Attain Optimal Allocation of Scarce Outreach Resources – The OutreachMATRIX ™

• III – How to Execute the Most Effective Outreach Educational Events (Place-Based & Digital) – The EVERlasting Model ™

• IV – How to Measure Outreach Success; VACC Mission Metrics ™

• V – Outreach Innovation & Differentiation; How to Out-Outreach Your Competitors – NVO ™

• VI – How to Manage Customer Complaints & Conflicts; The AIR Process ™

• VII – Putting it All Together & Execution; Outreach Monthly Modular Plan ™

To be among the first notified when the book goes live – be in touch  330.623.5910

To learn about OutreachU and the impact that the know-how contained in The Book of Outreach 2019

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