General, Marketing with Mansfield

Marketing Golden Oldie – Create a Top Ten List (or Four, Five, Seven…)

Here’s a top 7 list for O&P marketers.

7. Create information that educates. People enjoy doing business with those they know, like and trust. Create a top ten list such as topten that you can distribute to patients and referral sources alike. Sharing information that educates, and doesn’t just try to sell, establishes trust and credibility.

6. Ask for feedback. Everyone loves to share opinions. What they don’t like is to fill out boring, cookie-cutter forms. Make the form (paper or online) fun and easy. Don’t ask stupid or leading questions. Get creative. Then “talk” about any changes you made based on the feedback. Changed your hours? Let everyone know that it’s a result of the feedback. Open on Saturday mornings now? Let everyone know! Offering a different line of prosthetic socks or types of skin cleaner – let everyone know.

5. Record a podcast. Who doesn’t have a smart phone or access to a computer? Recording a podcast of FAQs (“Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Wearing a Scoliosis Brace”) and submitting it to iTunes puts you in front of the millions and millions of iTunes podcast subscribers.

4. See #7 but change it to YouTube. My mom is having trouble with carpal tunnel syndrome. She just watched a bunch of Bob and Brad videos on YouTube. Bob and Brad are “the most famous PTs on the internet.” Bob and Brad get it. They know people watch YouTube to learn….and who better to teach people about O&P than YOU! (They’ve got over 1.5 million subscribers, just fyi.)

3. Hold a contest. The prospect of winning anything is alluring. Do you need a name for a new product or service? Ask your target markets to come up with a name for the product and then pick the winner. Are you launching a new Web site? Tell your target markets that you will donate a can of food to the local food bank for every unique hit your Web site gets in its first month. Not only will you engage your target market to participate, you’ll be doing something newsworthy.

2. Got jobs? High schools, colleges and vocational tech schools all have career fairs. Put together a visually stimulating display of orthoses and prostheses and participate in a career fair as an unique way to market your company.Some manufacturers or sales reps might be able to provide you with an interactive upper-limb prosthesis display that people can actually use. Having students connect with O&P technology at a local level creates buzz.

1. Create a speakers’ bureau…starring YOU. With all the advancements in technology and the current media fascination with anything related to O&P, knowledgeable speakers are in demand. Offering to speak at non-O&P (think physical therapy, occupational therapy, rehab-adjacent, Rotary, churches, etc., etc.,) meetings, events and conferences can give a big boost to your marketing efforts.

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!