General, Marketing with Mansfield

Now’s the Time to “GPS” Your Marketing for a Successful Year

Happy almost-end-of-the-year! What will your marketing resolutions be for 2020? The end of the year is always a good time to reflect on the results of your marketing plan and to consider what changes you might want to make for the upcoming year. They key word is “plan.” Think of it like GPS directions for your marketing. When you need to get somewhere, GPS knows where you are but you have to tell it where you want to go and then it gives you options on how to get there.

Know your final destination

I am willing to bet that when it comes to a marketing plan a lot of people don’t start with the final destination, where they want to be by December, in mind. Instead they start heading off “down the road” – destination to be determined.

Awhile back I spent a weekend at Frequent Traveler University. It’s a convention for people who not only like to travel but they also like learning about how miles and points can enhance their travel experience. It was perfect timing because all my travel and loyalty calculators reset to zero at the end of the year (jut the calculators, not the accumulated points or miles.) This is important because in order for me to achieve my travel-related goals for 2020 and beyond, I need to know by the end of the year how to structure my 2020 travel plan.

For example, if my goal is to acquire a Southwest Airlines Companion pass in 2020 so that I can bring a companion along for free in 2020, then I need to determine what strategy I will use to acquire the required number of Rapid Rewards points in order to receive the pass. The final destination would be 125,000 QUALIFYING points.

Know your starting point

I know what I am starting with in January 2020. That would be zero points. Remember those point calculators reset on December 31st. You might think that there is only one route to get there – not true. The final destination would be 125,000 QUALIFYING points OR 100 QUALIFYING one-way flights . In reality, there are a plethora of routes that will get me to my final destination. Route 1 is flying. Route 2 is a mixture of flying and shopping. Route 3 includes getting a Southwest credit card (with sign up bonuses) and those are just 3 routes. Some might take me all year to get there. Some might take me a matter of months. Some might be cost prohibitive and some will be relatively inexpensive.

Important NOTE – not all Rapid Rewards points are qualifying points and not all flights are qualifying flights.

The two things I know for sure are – where I am right now and where I want to end up. What I also know is that I would really like that pass sooner rather than later and I don’t want to waste money or time getting it.

Know your route options

Back to O&P marketing…if you know that you have 270 newsletter subscribers as of today but that you want 2,499 subscribers by the end of 2020 which route are you going to take? Just like getting the Companion Pass, there are a lot of different routes with different time frames and different costs. I have clear goals. Get the points to get the pass so that my companion can fly for free so that I can save a lot of money. I know most of my travel schedule for 2020 right now so I can actually calculate how much money I will be able to save depending on when I acquire the pass. That is very helpful in determining my route.

In our newsletter subscriber example, we have a clear goal of acquiring 2,229 new subscribers. We want to make sure that all of our new subscribers are people who are relevant to the success of our business and not just “route detours” for the sake of pumping up our numbers.

What’s your marketing GPS route for 2020?

General

American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) Annual National Assembly

The San Diego Convention Center hosted the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association’s National Assembly from September 25 through September 28. The convention center did a fantastic job simultaneously accommodating both the O&P conference and TwitchCon 2019.

You would have been in the minority if you had a working knowledge of both Twitch and O&P.

“It’s really great Twitch is here! What a fun and fascinating experience to share this convention center with all these ‘Twitchers’.” Ed McKenna, owner of Horizon Prosthetics in Colorado said. “I had no idea what Twitch was before I got here and I’m still not really sure how they do everything they do, but it looks like everyone is having a great time.”

AOPA hosted the O&P Leadership Event at Pirch Beach, directly behind right-center field at Petco Park. Board members and executive staff from the ABC, USISPO, BOC, NAAOP, and AOPA, the Amputee Coalition and AAOP enjoyed an amazing view of Max Muncy hitting his first career grand slam which helped the Dodgers clinch home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs. Thank you AOPA – really a great night!

Great view of an exciting game!

“This was a great event hosted by AOPA. I was honored to be included!” Elizabeth Mansfield, USISPO Chair said. “It was so nice to be outside with all these fun people after a day of meeting rooms and PowerPoints. We were right on the field and…on the JumboTron!”

Congratulations to Erin McGraw and Charles Noble (Elizabeth’s cousin!!), both from the University of Pittsburgh Prosthetics & Orthotics program for their award winning poster presentations.  Here they are pictured below with the AOPA President, Jim Weber.

Erin McGraw, Jim Weber and Charles Noble

The 2019 American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association’s National Assembly was well run and well attended. The exhibit hall, presentations, events, and hotel accommodations were all exceptional and the weather was glorious.

General, Marketing with Mansfield

What Email Newsletter Marketers Know That You Don’t!

I have a collection of “oops” emails that I keep in a folder in my inbox. I would like to share some with you. “Oops – Corrected Date/Time Inside: Best Practices for Content Marketing Webinars” is one. I received it from Chief Marketer, a content marketing company in Connecticut. “We forgot something…” from Magazines.com, a company that believe it or not, sells magazines. “Oops! There’s been a slight mistake” from Thrifty Car Rental. “Oops!” from IKEA. “Oops! 5-Star Cupcakes We Couldn’t Wait to Share” from Betty Crocker. There a lot more, most with some type of “oops” or “apologies” in the subject line.

Mistake? Or No Mistake?

I do not know what you think, but I think that IKEA, Thrifty Car Rental and Betty Crocker have pretty sophisticated marketing departments and consultants. Of course, the people who work there are just that, people, and we all know that humans make mistakes. What if I told you that not all of those “oops” emails were mistakes – would you be surprised?

According to MediaPost, email recipients click on these emails because they are either curious or genuinely interested in figuring out whether the sender’s mistake is going to have an effect on them.

I think it is pretty obvious that a “Best New Cupcake Recipes” email might not appeal to everyone but that an “Oops! 5-Star Cupcakes We Couldn’t Wait to Share” might garner a higher open rate. Either you opened it the first time and are curious what you might have missed the first time, or you saw it, ignored it and are now curious about the mistake Betty made.

I hope you do not think that I am encouraging you to send out digital correspondence with mistakes on purpose. I am not. I hope you do not think that I am advising you to send out these emails if you made a stupid mistake that everyone can clearly see was a mistake. Take the date for example. One of my pet peeves about email newsletter programs is that even though they love to have a date section, one which often stands alone, the section does not update automatically. It seems to me that should be an easy programming fix. Even Microsoft Word knows how to fill in the current date once you start typing. Anyway, my point is that sending out an email newsletter with a November date in the middle of March is clearly a mistake. Especially if everything else in the email is timely. If that happens, you do not waste an “oops.” You just move on. Address it if you want to in the next issue but do not waste people’s time sending them an email over a spelling error.

Reason for sending?

What does constitute a reason for sending an “oops” email? Something that has the potential to have a negative impact on the recipient:

  • Broken link – this is a big deal.
  • Day or date of an event mistake – definitely send one.
  • Venue mistake – of course.
  • Incorrect directions – absolutely.
  • Sent the email to the wrong list – HURRY!

So you made a legitimate, oops-worthy mistake. Do not fret. The silver lining is that your apology email will probably outperform your original email. Just do not be that little boy that cried “Oops!”

Reference:

McDonald L. MediaPost. 2011. Available at www.mediapost.com/publications/article/141444/fake-oops-emails-stop-it-already.html

General, Marketing with Mansfield, Orthotic Prosthetic Continuing Education

Who’s a Winner? You’re a Winner!

Who doesn’t love a winner? Everybody loves a winner! Everybody loves to win. Winning something – and talking about it – can be a marketing bonanza. Even just making it into the qualifying rounds or final stages of a competition can get you great buzz.

Step One. Determine Eligibility.

The first step is to find some awards you are eligible to win. The Small Business Association is always a good place to start. Also, check out awards offered by your national trade and professional organizations. Your local chamber of commerce is another association that routinely gives out awards. Don’t forget to just…google!

Do you have a resident on staff? There are several awards available for O&P residents, too.

Research these organizations and others like them, but then go beyond professional and trade associations and do a little research on your vendors– big and small. Do you use Dell computers? They have a small business award. Have a business plan? The Miami Herald has the Miami Herald Business

Step Two. Plan Your Challenge.

Doing any renovations or remodeling or upgrading of computer or fabrication systems? The Cleantech Open runs the world’s largest clean technology business competition and are looking for the best clean technology ideas from around the world, according to their website.

Step Three. Toot Your Horn. Loudly.

Alright, you’ve found some awards for which you, your staff and/or your company might be eligible. Submit the application and make sure you monitor your progress. A Google Alert would be a great way to keep tabs on the contest so you know when the winners are announced. Hopefully you win but even if you’re nominated as a finalist or receive some kind of ranking you can still toot your own horn.

Step Four. Write a Release.

Submit it to trade publications. You might not even have to write it yourself. In many cases, the award organizers will actually supply the winners with a press release template for the award.

Of course you are going to put it in your email newsletter. This gives you a chance to share the award and with the people who are most interested in you and your business: your subscribers. You don’t have to be nearly as politically correct as you have to be in your press release. Make sure you link your announcement back to the original announcement or news story in which you were featured.

If there’s an image or logo that goes along with the award, use it. Whatever it is, if it has a symbol that people will recognize, make sure you put it on your letterhead, your website, your front door, your window, your service vehicles … use it.

Step Five. Link. Link. Link.

This where all that social media marketing comes in hand: Draw traffic. You need to link to the website listing the winners. Link to your announcement. Make a photo gallery of you receiving the award, of the award itself. Tweet it. Put it on your LinkedIn page; your Facebook page. Use links and use photos. People want to click and they want to look. Make sure they can do both.

Step Six. Keep Me in the Loop.

Last but not least, make sure you tell me. I am a one-stop word-of-mouth-marketing guru. I’ll tell everyone. Email me. Elizabeth@cecpo.com

General, Orthotic Prosthetic Continuing Education, Orthotics and Prosthetics State Meetings

2019 KOPA Annual Meeting – Hyatt Regency, Lexington, Kentucky

After two very successful years at the Indiana Wesleyan University Conference Centers – 2018 Louisville and 2017 Lexington – the Kentucky O&P Association switched it up and headed over to the Hyatt Regency Lexington. The meeting was held June 13-14, 2019. A great time was had by all!

8.5 credits available. Exhibit Hall Kick Off Reception Thursday night. All day sessions on Friday.

NEW FOR 2019!
6:00pm-8:00pm Welcome Reception in the ​Exhibitor Hall with Exhibitors!

Friday, June 14, 2019 – 7.5 credits

7:30am-8:00am Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:00am Welcome, Andrew Domb, CPO/L, KOPA President
8:00am-9:30am General Sessions – Medicare Success Through Education, Ashley DeCoteau, CGS, Jurisdiction B
9:30am-10:00am ​ Functional Solutions for Partial Hand Amputations, Hannah Smith, Naked Prosthetics

10:00am-10:30am AM Coffee Break with Exhibitors

10:30am-12:00pm General Sessions – Creating Meaningful Lower Limb Prosthetic Outcomes: Preliminary Findings of a 12-Month Pilot, Brian Gustin, CP, Forensic Prosthetic & Orthotic Consulting Services
10:30am-12:00pm Tech Talk – Fabrication Troubleshooting, Daniel Hickey, Bulldog Tools
10:30am-12:00pm Practice Management – Preparing Your Practice for Sale, Don Hardin

12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch with Exhibitors
Breakouts Sessions
1:00pm-2:30pm CAD/CAM Technology for Lower Limb Orthotics, Ray Speelman, CP, COF, WillowWood
1:00pm-2:30pm Lower Limb Prosthetics – Bionic Technology by Ossur!, Wayne Fichtel, CP, Ossur

2:30pm-3:00pm PM Snack Break with Exhibitors
Exhibitor Tear Down at 3:00pm

Breakout Sessions
3:00pm-5:00pm All Carbon AFOs are NOT Created Equal andThe Next Generation of Carbon AFOs, Noel Chladek, CO
3:00pm-5:00pm (continued) Lower Limb Prosthetics – Bionic Technology by Ossur!, Wayne Fichtel, CP


KOPA 2019 Meeting Newsletters

REMINDER – NO Fall KOPA Meeting. Get your credits this week.

All Carbon AFOs are NOT Created Equal…The NEXT Gen is HERE!

Denied! Common Documentation Errors You NEED to Know.

Preparing Your O&P Practice for Sale – next Friday in Lexington.

Will we see you in Lexington?

Exhibits only? Admin? New Registration Options at KOPA this year. Check it out!

June 14th- Medicare will be in Lexington, will you?

REMINDER – Hyatt Lexington Room Block Closes tonight at midnight! Book your room today.

General, Orthotic Prosthetic Continuing Education, Orthotics and Prosthetics State Meetings

2019 NYSAAOP – Citizens Preparedness at the Rivers Casino & Spa

The New York State Chapter of the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists ( www.nysaaop.org) held their Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions, May 15-17, 2019 at the Rivers Casino and Spa in Schenectady, NY.

25.5 continuing education credits were available as compared to 18.5 for 2018 and attendance was up 12%. As always, the very popular Exhibitor Theatre was held right after lunch on Thursday’s General Sessions.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the Citizens Preparedness presentation by Tech Sergeant, Matt Kassel, Army National Guard, NY Citizens Preparedness Corps and Staff Sergeant, Fernando Aguilar, Army National Guard, NY Citizens Preparedness Corp. This is a one of a kind presentation done by the New York State Army National Guard (we know because we researched whether we could have similar presentations done at other state O&P meetings.)

The meeting began at 8:00am on Wednesday, May 15th and concluded at 1:00pm on Friday, May 17th. Pedorthics, prosthetics, orthotics, practice management, billing, reimbursement and more!

Content Comments

  • Great job!
  • Excellent!
  • Thorough Presentation
  • Very informative. Looking to move our practice in this direction.
  • Very informative presentation
  • Great job – kept my interest!
  • 2nd lecture attended of presenter in the past 2 years. Provided consistent, relevant, and new information.  Kept my attention.
  • Knowledgeable, timely presentation on one of the most important topics in O&P today.
  • Bring him back!
  • He was a great speaker, very clear and knowledgeable.
  • Eye opening for Parkinson’s patients.
  • Nice presentation. Well done.
  • Interesting predictions of our future.
  • Well done! Valuable information and helpful to see success in a clinical setting.
  • Very knowledgeable / creative. Great examples.  Effective videos.
  • Really enjoyed the innovative fitting approaches and technology.
  • Before it even started I knew it would be the best part of the whole 3 days!
  • Excellent material and presentation.
  • For somebody in wound care this is perfect

The NYSAAOP will reconvene on Wednesday, May 11, 2020-Friday, May 13, 2020 at the Rivers Casino Resort and Spa. For more information, check out the chapter page at www.nysaaop.org

Exhibitor Comments

  • Excellent job! 1st night cocktail reception the best.  May not need 2nd night reception – not much traffic.
  • Very well organized, structured and laid out for both clinicians and suppliers. Enjoyed the professional shared meeting.  One of the best this year.
  • We appreciate all that you do to make these conferences work. It’s not an easy job but thank you for making it seem so.
  • Divide passbook into an “O” and “P” section – one for each product area focus.
  • Nice job CEC!
General, Marketing with Mansfield

Pro Tip: Use Treats as Strategic Marketing

IMG_4131(1)We have a lovely neighbor named Agnes. Agnes is an expert on…cat treats. In our little community, she is the go-to pet sitter. She has a couple of her own cats and is a big proponent of catching feral cats and having them spayed or neutered.

Whenever she spent time with the late “Slinky” (Tom’s cat), she always came armed with cat treats. Slinky was the epitome of a scaredy cat. He refused to come out from underneath the bed for anyone other than Tom. Not me, not the kids, absolutely nobody – except Tom.

As a cat lover extraordinaire, Agnes made it her mission to coax Slinky out from under the bed and establish a relationship with him. Treats were the number one weapon in her “we are going to be friends no matter what” arsenal. These were especially compelling since I can honestly say that “treat time” was not a regular part of Slinky’s day.

When used strategically, treats can be an effective marketing tool. I think most people associate treats with some type of food or beverage, which is perfectly reasonable. But, treats can also come in the form of… time off, gift cards, events or other non-food experiences. The key to treats is to use them wisely. Do not overuse. Overuse = nothing special. Once a treat moves from unexpected surprise to expectation you have lost the “specialness” of the gesture.

A lot of my readers work in patient care facilities. Any place that relies on human beings to provide care or services to other human beings is subject to waits and delays. That is not a criticism, just a fact of life. While discussing marketing tactics with a business owner – we’ll call him “Chad” – recently, he brought up an excellent example of how he uses “treat” marketing when the waiting room backs up and starts becoming crowded.

He said that now that so many people travel with their own coffee, he does not provide a coffee station in the waiting room anymore. Instead, when he knows they are running behind and people are getting antsy, he walks out into the waiting room and asks his office manager if she would mind going next door and getting some coffee and donuts. She takes the individual coffee orders and brings back treats for the office.

IMG_4130

What I loved most about that story is he, as a skilled marketer, realized and appreciated the value of taking a regular old perk (the waiting room coffee station) and turning it into a treat by offering it strategically.

If “Chad” had coffee and donuts out every day, even if they were Krispy Kreme and Starbucks, nobody would feel “treated” if he got behind. The coffee and donut run is, hopefully, a gesture that is appreciated and is not an expectation. Are you strategically using treats? Let me know!