General, Marketing with Mansfield

Pro Tip: Don’t Bash the Boss Behind Their Back…At Work!

hotdogs2__2__720Recently we took a trip out of town for a birthday party. Friends and family were all gathering for a multi-day celebration. All the lunches and dinners were going to be a chance for everyone to get together but one morning we checked Yelp for a nearby breakfast option.

We scrolled past a bunch of nearby restaurants and came up with a café that had perfectly acceptable reviews. We hopped in the car and drove over to a long strip mall that had all kinds of little stores and restaurants. It was hot! We were pretty hungry and we grabbed the first parking spot we could find. It was right in front of a place that specializes in hot dogs. I’d seen it listed on Yelp and the reviews were fine but I didn’t really consider it for breakfast since hot dogs… but it had a breakfast menu posted on a chalkboard out front and it sounded good so we went in.

It was tiny. There were bar stools at the counter, a couple of tables and a few low stools at a makeshift counter by the window. The staff was super friendly, the food was delicious and the whole dining experience was terrific. However, I write a marketing column so…even when I’m not actually writing the column, I am always thinking about what the next topic should be and, most importantly, how it will relate to O&P.

The friendly staff? They were lovely and attentive to us and to all the other customers and there were clearly a whole bunch of regulars. But, they would NOT stop talking about their boss. It was pretty clear the boss was the owner.  We were so happy with the food and the service that we went back the next day for breakfast. Saturday morning – we went earlier than Friday and it was jammed. Were the staff talking about the boss again? They absolutely were. In addition to talking about him, and actually mentioning him by name, they were also talking about his business partner or significant other. What did we learn after two breakfasts? He’s very strict and the staff does things all day long that they’d get in trouble for IF he knew that’s what they were doing.

An example? Someone froze the barbecue topping they use and the boss would lose his mind if he knew that it had been frozen because that is a major no no. Everything from the way they cleaned the grill, to how they prepped certain dishes and what the boss’ take on it would be was discussed in full detail right in front of all us paying customers. This town is a tourist destination and it’s pretty busy down there year round but not all the people in there were from out of town.  I know because the place was so tiny that you were eavesdropping on everyone in there just by being in the room.

When we left the restaurant on Saturday morning I knew our breakfast adventure would be the topic of the next column. I learned a lot about “Boss guy” during our two meals and I’m fairly certain that he would be looking for a whole new staff if he knew he was the main topic of conversation every day at work and that the customers could hear every word.

It shows a lack of respect for the customers if you think they are so invisible or unimportant that you can air all your dirty work laundry for them to hear.  How disrespectful is it to the guy paying you while you’re supposed to be working for him? What about the “no no’s”? What is one of those customers was the health inspector or, god forbid, some kind of blogger or online columnist?!

Like I said, the food was so good we went back a second time and the staff were friendly and the service was great. I’m sure there are some business owners out there in O&P land who have friendly staff, that provide good customer service and whose devices and services are top notch but who have no idea that their employees are publicly venting, either in person OR ONLINE about things that they shouldn’t be. If I were “Boss guy” I’d send a couple friends from out of town in and have them give me some feedback and then do some (re)training!

Have you had a similar experience? How’d you handle it? Let me know!

General, Marketing with Mansfield

No Marketing Department? So What!

Any worthwhile marketing plan uses different tools and strategies to achieve its desired outcomes. Advertising, direct mail, email newsletters, education-based marketing, webisodes, tweets, tv commercials, facebook ads, etc., are all used in an attempt to reach the target markets.

But some of them can cost money, sometimes lots and lots of money.  If you don’t have a marketing department or a marketing budget, not to worry. You just need a marketing plan. That plan should include press releases. While the marketing landscape has changed enormously in the recent past, one thing never changes and that is the need for content.

All of the channels – not just your “typical” old-school channels like an actual television channel or radio channel – but ALL the channels need content. So, put your thinking cap on and start brain storming about how you can make someone else’s job easier. Someone whose job is to create content.

Say that you’re the owner of an orthotic & prosthetic patient care facility. Say that you have an adorable puppy or an endangered bird or a miniature horse that required some type of prosthetic or orthotic device. You could post the story on your business facebook page, of course. You could show the before and after photos on your instagram account. You could tweet about it. You could send out updates in your email newsletter. BUT, you could also send a press release with photos to… your college alumni magazine or your hometown newspaper or the humane society where the dog was adopted from or the marketing department of the zoo or… there are so many “content-craving” channels out there that need to be fed. Don’t ignore them just because it’s so very easy to feed your own channels.

People expect that you’re going to be marketing to them, targeting them, utilizing your own content channels – like facebook or instagram – but by sharing your content with others you can boost your credibility. Sure, the zoo magazine or your alumni publication might have a slightly different focus or angle to the story but so what? We all can use help getting (and keeping) the word out there. Don’t be afraid to spend a little more time and effort making someone else’s job easier – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results!



2018 VOPA Passbook Winner

VOPA 2018 - Heather Morgan and Elizabeth Mansfield
Elizabeth Mansfield and Heather Morgan, CPO


Congratulations to Heather Morgan, CPO for winning the Passbook drawing at the Virginia Orthotic Prosthetic Association meeting last week.

Heather is is the Lead Cranial Clinician for Restore OPC, and was pretty excited about being the lucky winner.

“It’s my birthday this week, so it makes winning a little more fun.”  Heather said.  “I liked meeting and talking to all the vendors.  It was a really fun meeting!”

To quote our good friend Erin from Fillauer, “there’ ain’t no party like a Passbook party!”

The VOPA 2018 meeting was held in Reston, VA.  It was VOPA’s largest meeting, drawing attendees from Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina  and as far away as the American Virgin Islands.  There were 18 first-time attendees.


VOPA 2018 Meeting

hyatt reston
Hyatt – Reston, Virginia

The Virginia Orthotic & Prosthetic Association annual meeting starts 8am, Thursday, October 18, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, VA.  There will be seminars in orthotics, prosthetics and pedorthics.  Continuing education credits will be awarded by the ABC and BOC – 1 credit per hour of instruction.  The meeting ends on Saturday, October 20th at 3pm.

There are close to 40 vendors exhibiting and the ABC is a platinum sponsor.

VOPA 2018 Meeting Information


Below Knee Patient Education Literature

Brochure Cover

Below Knee Prosthetics: Preparing Your Residual Limb for Prosthetic Use (CEC BK Demo Booklet) is a 16-page, patient-education brochure that can be customized with your brand.

The front and back cover will feature your logo and contact information. The 3rd page is reserved for your story.  It will be about who you are and what you do.  Tell everyone what sets you apart and why your brand is important. Your educational material is part of your message – your branding. Make sure it’s an accurate representation of your reputation.

This is a custom brochure. So if you have high resolution images of your patients, staff, or facility you want substituted for the stock photos in the brochure we can absolutely have that conversation. We can even arrange to have a photographer come to your facility and take professional images.

Our content is written for patients. The brochure clearly explains the prosthetic process from the beginning. There is a glossary and section of frequently asked questions.  The questions can be changed to meet your preferences and the content can be revised to reflect the way you practice. The prosthetic process the patients learn about will be yours.

Need an order form?  CEC Custom Literature Form

We also have custom literature available for AK Patient Education.



2018 SCSOP Golf Outing Winners

SCSOP 2018 - Golf Outing - Winners
Bret Hanks, Dan Hickey, Andy Schmitz, Chad Feinberg, and Kelvin Jones

Kelvin Jones and the entire board of the South Carolina Society of Orthotics and Prosthetics would like to congratulate the winners of the 2018 golf outing.

“A 57 is no joke,” said Kelvin Jones, president of the SCSOP.  “This is the first year in about a decade the outing has been someplace other than the Ballantyne, and the golfers certainly rose to the occasion.”

The North Carolina / South Carolina meeting hosts the premier golf event in the O&P profession.  There are many outings hosted by state associations and manufacturers, but every serious golfer knows that NC/SC is where legends are made.  This year was no exception.

The Preserve at Verdae surrounds the Embassy Suites Golf Resort and Conference Center in Greenville, SC.   This 18 hole, par 72 championship course is challenging.  Most of the tee shots on the back nine are blind and all of the greens are undulating and fast.  The fairways are carved into a Carolina forest and the rough between the short grass and the trees is brutal.

Dan Hickey from Bulldog Tools ate up the Preserve like Carolina Barbecue.

“Dan was like Happy Gilmore out there,” said Andy Schmitz, team captain, from the OPGA.  “We couldn’t have done it without him.  Dan’s swing is pure and ice water runs through his veins.”

“I was just feeling it.”  Hickey commented.  “The head on Chad’s driver broke so I had to step up.  We all did.  I’m glad I could contribute and help the team bring home the trophies.”

Chad Feinberg from Nymbl Systems, and Bret Hanks from the OPGA complimented Hickey’s golfing prowess with solid, consistent play.  Captain Schmitz gave them a ton of credit.  “Everyone played well.  Chad and Bret should consider going on the PGA tour – really solid.  Grace under pressure.  We would have made sports center if it wasn’t for playoff baseball and Thursday night football.”

The meeting location for 2019 is undecided but the rumors are all pointing at the Ballantyne.  Think you can beat a 57?  See you next year.


2018 TSOP Annual Meeting


Thursday, October 11-Saturday, October 13, 2018

The 2018 Tennessee Society of Orthotics and Prosthetics is meeting this week in Memphis.  The conference will be held at the Marriott Memphis East, rooms are $144 per night.   The meeting agenda is impressive and covers a wide range of topics – 17 continuing education credits are available.

The TSOP Board would like to say thank you to the 27 vendors who have already signed up to support our meeting.  We look forward to seeing everyone in Memphis.

2018 TSOP Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions Registration Information