Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Marketing Practices - Ethical and Unethical
These attractive, professional looking folders might make it easier for their clients to hold all the many forms given them when visiting a real estate office, like listing agreements and contracts, etc.
Then, after they readily and happily accept your gracious promise of this gift, you could then began calling contractors like electricians, carpenters, decorators, furniture stores, plumbers and so on and began selling advertising space on the inside pockets and back cover of these folders. Innovative? Yes, and very ingenious to say the least.
The real estate agency is happy to accept your thousands of free folders for their use in better organizing the paperwork they are required to give out to clients. The contractors and other vendors are very happy when they began receiving calls from new homeowners asking for their services because the new homeowners saw their name on the folders.
And you, as the marketing genius made a nice income selling all that advertising space. Now all you have to do is use a portion of that money to purchase and deliver the folders with all the ads laid out on them. This is a marketing win-win situation for everybody involved. However, what if the industry was a different one? Say the medical industry?
What if you went into a doctors office and promised to provide him or her with a six month supply of folders for free to hand out to their patients to hold medical forms like HIPPA forms, receipts, etc.? Then what if you called specialists like cardiologist, oncologists, podiatrists, chiropractors, etc and offered them exclusive space for a price on these folders?
There are a couple of things in place called laws that might prohibit your ability to do this same thing with medical doctors. These are called the Anti-Kickback Statue and the Stark law. It is against the law for doctors to pay for referrals. It is against the law for doctors to sell referrals.
Even though you are a third party marketing agency, the doctor receiving the free materials in exchange for promoting a specific specialist may be in violation and the doctor paying for the exclusive space on the folder that is going into a specific doctors office may be in violation.
Here's the part of the Stark law and Anti-Kickback Statue that might apply taken from the American Medical Association's website: Paying For Referrals Illegal
Under Stark, a physician may not refer Medicare or Medicaid patients for designated health services to an entity with which the referring physician (or his or her immediate family member) has a financial relationship, subject to some exceptions.