M-LAT – Pay No Attention to That Man Behind The Curtain (Medical Lead Acquisition Technology)

November 16th, 2007 by Will Scott

Pay No Attention to That Man Behind The Curtain: M-LAT, Medical Lead Acquisition Technology

I’ve mentioned before our current vertical focus on Cosmetic / Plastic Surgery.

I got a call from one of our clients who had attended a dinner in Los Angeles with 40+ of his colleauges in the LA area – “Doc-Hollywoods” he called them. As part of the dinner there’s a chance for vendors to present. At this one, the vendor was a company calling themselves M-LAT (Medical Lead Acquisition Technology).

To hear my client tell it, M-LAT told a story of their new, revolutionary $3 Million dollar product which enabled them to magically capture personal information the moment someone landed on one of the surgeons’ web sites. And then, the surgeon would be able to use data, mystically acquired by the magicians at M-LAT to market to those prospects who’d visited the site.

It was an exciting story. At least in the retelling. Now… to be clear, I wasn’t there. I did not hear them say that they could get the contact information just from a web site visit.

This is what my client asserts they said unequivocally.

So I decided to check it out. I visited the site of one of their clients (something of a poster-boy, in fact) David Hopp a Beverly Hills Cosmetic Surgeon.

And when I got there, after being redirected past a mandatory flash page I saw a pretty average web site with a video intro from the doctor himself. I was looking, searching, and not finding the magic which was going to mystically suck my contact information through the browser. How did these other-worldly medical lead acquisition technologies work and how were they going to acquire me as a lead.

And then, all at once, I saw it! It was an 800 # at the tail end of the video which stayed on screen. It was an 800 # with a list of extensions for different typs of information. What? An 800 #, a 24 hour hotline?

I know there’s no one in the doctor’s office at this time of day.

And then it dawned on me. We occasionally get call-forwarding numbers on behalf of our clients for call tracking. And one of the features is that the system tells you what number is calling, just like caller ID in your home. Ah ha!

Well, that’s a little boring. So, using my Skype out line I called the number – no need for the wife to wonder about some 800 # in LA. It was an information line, closing with “press X to speak to a representative”.

Then, my client faxes me the collateral material from the presentation. I now have a tri-fold slick which talks about what the system that I can study. I have to give these guys credit. They’re good salesmen.

From that tri-fold:

Three million dollar M-LAT Technology, Embedded on Your Talking Web Site

The Medical Lead Acquisition Technology System automatically turns your website’s visitors into live customer leads. This technology extracts key information that includes the potential patient’s phone number, as well as name and address. It instantly turns website browsers and surfers into valuable customer leads [unwritten magic: as soon as they pick up the phone] that your staff can contact and quickly book as consultations.

And then they go on to talk about other more traditional marketing techniques. Postcards, Direct Mail, Video and (Ah ha!) SEO & SEM. All of the other marketing techniques are pretty easy to understand and definitely advisable when used smartly.

So, I figured it out. M-LAT has perfected a medical lead acquisition technology. The technology is apparent when you dig a little deeper.

First, it’s not possible – without spyware – to magically acquire contact information from a casual web browser. But, once that browser calls an 800 # you have their phone number and can use that the develop other contact information. Better still, play them a compelling message and then have them talk to a rep.

In all, M-LAT (Medical Lead Acquisition Technology), seems to be doing a nice bundle of some traditional marketing tools.

  • Remote Call Forwarding (custom phone numbers) – a Yellow Pages staple
  • Info-line – again borrowing from the Yellow Pages
  • Direct Mail
  • Direct Response Advertising
  • Video
  • SEO / SEM

All of the above are good to have and enable better lead acquisition and management of the lead pipeline.

So, to sum it all up – from what I can see – M-LAT is offering a bundled suite of services, none of which are revolutionary and packaging it in pretty smart way.

If the presentation is as it was described to me, and having read the flyer, the pitch is disingenuous at best, misleading at worst.

Is it worth the money? Maybe. The good news for plastic surgeons is their margins. They can break even on a $3000.00 spend with one new patient. In any major market these techniques along with effective internet marketing will probably make their customers money.
I don’t know if the assemblage of the system cost 3 Million. Maybe it did.

The great news is that similar results can be achieved at lower costs by simply assembling the parts yourself. And if you do (or if you have a trusted source do it for you) you then own the system instead of the other way around – the system owns you.

Ask-Leo.com: How do I find out who’s at a particular IP address?