I’m joined by Carl Mattiola, Co-Founder and CEO of Breakthrough Physical Therapy Marketing. Along with his partner, Chad Madden, PT, they have helped hundreds of clinics generate patients and grow their practices through applying sound marketing principles and techniques. In this episode, Carl shares some very important fundamentals of marketing and lead generation — including some common mistakes made by practice owners — and some of their best strategies that have moved the needle the most for the practices they work with. You’ll learn about the value of direct response marketing, how to leverage the “market awareness stages” to communicate effectively, and some of the best ways to convert leads into patients once they’re interested.
Welcome to this episode of the Undercurrent podcast. I’m joined today by Carl Mattiola, who is the co-founder and CEO of Breakthrough Physical Therapy Marketing. Now. It’s just called Breakthrough. You’ve shortened the name, right?
That’s right. You’re welcome, Garrett. Stoked to be here.
And today is going to be an interesting episode. We’re going to shift a little bit from our more typical conversations around clinical and neurological concepts. We’re going to talk a little more on the business side. We’ve gotten great feedback about other more business-oriented episodes in the past, and I think this one is going to be really interesting for those of you who are out there using the new being your practice or who have a practice generally. And with Carl, I’m really excited for him to share with you a lot of his approach to marketing, and what they do to help clinics generate leads. But before we get into those details, can you tell us a little bit about what Breakthrough is and how you started Breakthrough? And I think you’ll probably also have to mention your partner in the business, Chad Madden as well. So I’ll see you. It is up for you there to just please let us know about you.
Yeah, for sure. So my background, I’m not a physical therapist or a clinician in any way. I spent the majority of my career in tech startups and Tesla before starting Breakthrough. So, yeah, mostly software and a marketing guy. And I just had a passion for physical therapy and healing people naturally and solving some issues that I saw with the health care system. So that’s how we got started. I saw that there are a lot of solutions out there that can help patients solve different conditions that they’re not aware of. And at the same time. I saw healthcare consolidating quite a bit and noticed that there was a big challenge in the physical therapy space and in other markets where when patients used to be referred into practices from other physicians and those were being acquired by hospital systems. And the consolidation started to take place. Many clinicians needed to look elsewhere to find patients. To find a source of patience. And at the same time, patients were being led to, unfortunately, in my opinion, solutions that were unnecessary for them in some cases. And that’s what led to the opioid crisis and leads to certainty.
I mean, if you are a clinician in physical therapy or Chiropractic or functional medicine, that people are often led to even get surgery, that’s not quite necessary when they can and should be able to try out conservative care or alternative therapies first, they just don’t know any better. So they go into the doctor and they do what the doctor tells them, and often the go to the MRI, which can show something, no matter what, with my little knowledge, and then cause them to go down the wrong path. And that happened to me. So that happened to me when I was in college. I played football in college. Not a huge school or anything, not a huge athlete here, but I did get a shoulder injury, and I was told I needed to get surgery. And then I went back, and for whatever reason, as dumb as I was at the time in college, I still felt that wasn’t the right solution. I went and somehow stumbled upon a physical therapist who was able to solve my issue without me getting surgery. I was able to get back on the field quick. So I remembered that experience and have experienced many things with healthcare throughout my life with family and friends, and I just became passionate about helping to solve the problem, helping people learn how they can solve their pains, and their different health conditions naturally. And so I wanted to see how we could do that. And that’s how and why we started breakthrough.
Why physical therapy? First, I just had an affinity for the market, and I saw that the biggest challenge was there were physician owned practices popping up, as I said, consolidation. And it was really the biggest problem in the market, was, hey, how can we consistently bring patients into the practice without relying on physicians? Or how can we do it in general in a consistent way? And so that big problem is what we sought out to solve.
Why physical therapy? First, I just had an affinity for the market, and I saw that the biggest challenge was there were physician owned practices popping up, as I said, consolidation. And it was really the biggest problem in the market, was, hey, how can we consistently bring patients into the practice without relying on physicians? Or how can we do it in general in a consistent way? And so that big problem is what we sought out to solve. Ne of those people. And Chad is a very smart guy. He’s a great businessman, and he’s a physical therapist himself who happened to be in one of the roughest parts of the US. When it came to physicians and competition in general. Like, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has a ton of competition. There’s huge hospital systems. He’s got the three largest physical therapy consolidators headquartered right near him. And he was forced to solve this on his own ahead of time. So he did that in sort of an old school way. Then we kind of teamed up and came up with something more modern to help the market here, and the solution worked. And that’s why we’ve grown fast and we hope to help practices grow so that they can help more people solve their pain naturally.
That’s awesome. And thank you for sharing that. We’ve gotten to connect through a few mutual friends, a few practice owners that have new Fit technology and use your breakthrough marketing services to help them with lead generation. And so we’ve gotten to connect through some of these mutual friends here. And it’s been really cool for me to learn about what you do, what you and Chad do and your team do to help drive leads, drive patients into practices. And it’s very congruent with your intention there of helping people become more aware of these more natural, more conservative, and oftentimes more effective and healthy solutions. So it’s great. And I’m excited to give our audience a chance to peek behind the curtain and learn more about that because a lot of practice owners don’t know a lot about marketing and how to effectively and intentionally generate leads. A lot of times it’s locked, it’s referrals, it’s nothing that can be really intentionally turned up or down. And I definitely would love to ask you to share the biggest insights that you have in terms of high level strategy. What are the biggest mistakes that people make and what are the greatest opportunities that practice owners have in this physical therapy, sports medicine, health, wellness space? What are the biggest mistakes they make and the biggest opportunities they have in marketing in general in order to attract new potential patients?
Yeah, so, big question, and I’ll try to tackle it as concisely as I can. First of all, in health care, you have people who are really they get into health care because they want to help people. Typically they want to help people solve their challenges. And that’s enough to learn when it comes to it’s a big topic, it’s a big thing to focus on. And when you go and open your own practice, you don’t often realize that getting people in the door doesn’t just happen. You may think it just happens automatically. And it’s a challenge that I think a lot of clinicians face and worse. It’s something where, you know, depending on what type of clinician you are, at least in the medical world, it’s almost taught that marketing is bad and having to talk about yourself is a bad thing and talk about your solutions is a bad thing. And it’s been burnt into the brains, I think, of a lot of the whole system to where it’s like, yeah, people will come to you and or be sent by other physicians and that’s just how it works. So unraveling that belief and understanding that we can and need to take advantage of, we need to market ourselves and it’s not a bad thing and in fact it’s necessary in order to fulfill our missions as clinicians, in order to help people understand how they can solve their challenges.
We need to do this. If we don’t do it, things are going to keep going the way they are, where people are going to go into a big medical system through their insurance and then end up with suboptimal solutions. So those of us who are awake to these better solutions, it’s important for us to market ourselves and put ourselves out there and to go direct to the consumer. So I think that there are a lot of ways to market a practice. You can focus on marketing to positions and if that works well for you then you should keep doing that. You can and should continue to focus on marketing to your past and present patients. But the big opportunity is going direct to the consumer and I think that that’s the most important thing and that’s one of the things that’s the most difficult to do. So it’s the big challenge is going direct to consumer. But I think that it’s also one of the principles we talk about is you really want to make sure you have control in a business over your source of income because if you’re not able to control that then your whole mission goes out the door, right?