ever conducted an advertising or marketing campaign for contact
lenses, you were probably not overwhelmed with the results of your
efforts. While a number of factors likely contributed to the
campaign's poor performance, this article will address what I
believe is one of the most important reasons why contact lens
marketing campaigns fail: an improperly targeted audience.
What Lenses Do Patients Want?
Historical demographic information about contact lens wearers
focuses primarily on the entire population and is very broad in
scope. Until recently, eyecare practitioners haven't been able to
readily access demographic information for consumers who express an
interest in a particular brand of contact lenses. (Visit
ResMarkConsulting.com to request a free copy of Contact
Lens Brand Demographics: A Guide to Who Wants Which Brands). This
meant that if you wanted to narrow the target audience for a
particular contact lens brand offering, you had to guess the target
reality, because eyecare practitioners don't have targeted
demographic information readily available, what typically happens is
that everyone gets sent the same broad marketing message. Response
rates for this type of campaign tend to be very low because the
message misses the mark (is off target) for a large portion
(segment) of the recipients.
practitioners have made this mistake, decided that direct marketing
is too expensive or just doesn't work and subsequently given up
trying to promote contact lens wear in their practice through
ongoing marketing activities.
fundamental problems here are a lack of understanding customer
segmentation and its relationship to targeted marketing as well as a
lack of benchmark demographic data to use as a target. I'll explain
the importance of customer/patient segmenting and why targeting
improves marketing results.
Why Segmentation Works
you have $1,000 to spend on a direct mail campaign. For simplicity's
sake we'll assume your cost per piece is $1.00. If you mail 1,000
pieces (all the same) to the first 1,000 patient names in your
mailing list, you shouldn't expect more than 10 appointments (a 1
percent to 2 percent response rate with a 50 percent conversion
rate). This means each appointment costs $100.
segment your mailing list to meet certain target market criteria
(sex, age, prescription needs) and create three or four highly
targeted, product-specific direct marketing pieces, a response rate
of 10 percent is not uncommon. Applying the same 50 percent
appointment conversion rate yields 50 appointments, each costing
course, segmenting and targeting takes more work (which is why most
small business owners/marketers don't do it), but this example
highlights the benefits of completing the task.
segmentation is the subdivision of a market into discrete customer
groups that share similar characteristics. Customer segmentation can
be a powerful means to identify unmet customer needs. Companies that
identify underserved segments can then outperform the competition by
developing uniquely appealing offers.
segmentation procedures include:
Deciding what data will be collected and how it will be gathered.
Collecting and integrating data from various sources.
Developing methods of data analysis for segmentation.
Establishing effective communication among relevant business units
(such as marketing and customer service) about the segmentation.
Implementing applications to effectively deal with the data and to
respond to the information it provides.
essentially already collect all of the pertinent customer data: age,
sex and prescription. You can garner additional information from a
patient's history and/or lifestyle questionnaire (income range,
family status, etc.). The most common problem you'll face is how to
access this patient data to create segments.
still running your practice using paper files, the first thing that
you need to do is purchase or create a customer/patient management
database. Consider hiring a computer-savvy high school student who
could create and maintain a database for you on a part-time basis.
The more data points for each patient you can capture, the more
accurately you'll be able to drill down to find the perfect segment
that, on paper, should ideally meet your target group criteria.
Traditional targeting follows an analysis of your customer base to
find your most profitable segments and target those segments for
your marketing campaigns.
engineered targeting follows an analysis of the profitable/growing
consumer segments and targeting the prospects that should respond
similarly to the current market trends based on shared similarities
(see example in sidebar).
you've completed the tasks of analyzing your target market and
segmenting your customers/patients, the next step is to position
your offer. Positioning is an attempt to show a product or service
in a manner that meets certain desired wants or needs of your target
audience. For example, a female post-menopausal daily disposable
wearer is probably more interested in the benefits of comfort and
moisture as opposed to a teenage daily disposable wearer who is more
interested in the ease and convenience of a wear-once-and-throw-away
of positioning is to underscore one or two characteristics that make
a product or service stand out in the minds of consumers as the
answer to their wants/needs. Positioning should be the result of
in-depth consumer market research - finding out what consumers want
(benefits) and how a product/service can meet those needs.
most independent eyecare practitioners don't have the resources to
conduct their own market research, the bulk of the consumer research
has already been done by contact lens manufacturers. Look at their
various marketing and advertising campaigns to see how they position
their products to various segments. Combine that information with
what you know to be common sense and position each offer
Get More Bang for Your Marketing Buck
focused, targeted marketing campaign will help you achieve a higher
success rate and higher return on your marketing investment compared
to a broad marketing message that you send to everyone (and that you
target to no one in particular) just to see what sticks.
How Targeting Leads to Success
Jones, a hypothetical 38-year-old spectacle-wearing patient, was
recently online researching Night & Day (CIBA Vision) contact
lenses. If you knew this and proactively marketed Night & Day
contact lenses to him, chances are high that he would respond
favorably to your direct marketing communications highlighting the
benefits of Night & Day contact lenses.
that 70 percent of the online searches for the keyword phrase Night
& Day contact lenses were conducted by a male searcher and that the
top two age brackets were 35 years to 49 years (23 percent) and
under 18 (21 percent), would significantly narrow down the potential
target audience for proactive marketing communications about this