If you have a middle-of-the-bell-curve
general practice (after all, that's where bell curves come from)
like most of us do and contact lenses aren't the only service you
offer, then you already know that all your patients aren't
candidates for all your offerings. Kids aren't good refractive
surgery candidates and glaucoma patients usually aren't interested
in colored contact lenses.
thought process leads to what's referred to as market segmentation,
categorizing exactly which group of individuals
will buy which of your products or
services. Not all of your marketing can reach all groups. Each group
has unique needs, buying habits and problems that need solving.
challenge in creating a successful marketing message is to Sync it
to the particular segment you're trying to reach. Attempt to find a
match between your patients' likes and your message delivery
vehicle. For example, advertise contact lenses for golf in a golf
course, in that same golf club newsletter you can't effectively
advertise the merits of myopia control with corneal reshaping. That
belongs on a PTA bulletin board or Web site.
A Little Detective Work
this exercise in segmentation by asking patients about their
hobbies, favorite stores and favorite Web sites. You can also
casually ask which magazines and newspapers they read, which radio
stations they listen to and what types of TV shows they watch.
collecting and sifting through this data may lead you to discover,
for example, that younger pre-teen male contact lens prospects
prefer playing tennis over football. While in middle school, about
20 percent play a musical instrument but rarely practice it. They
spend 30 minutes per day instant messaging their friends and use AOL
to do so. Their favorite music is hip-hop, and they're acutely
concerned about their self-image.
with this knowledge, you can begin creating a targeted marketing
message. For example, you might consider holding a sports
vision-related seminar for the local tennis club. While waiting to
speak and while the crowd fills the room, you would refrain from
playing classical music in favor of hip-hop. When speaking and
attempting to relate to the parents, you can mention, Caring for
contact lenses takes only two minutes per day - certainly a lot less
than the time your kids spend chatting with their friends on AOL or
about the same amount of time they spend practicing their trumpet.
And while it's only a few minutes, the increase in self-esteem and
confidence that you'll notice will be profound.
cursory detective work above lets you build a factually based and
meaningful relationship that shows you under-stand your prospective
A Focused Approach
this approach with more conventional marketing that would have you
sending out a coupon to 10,000 households in your ZIP code. After
reading an offering from a dry cleaner, your prospect goes on to
read about your (yawn) large inventory of disposable contact lenses
and learns that we accept most insurance plans.
focused, directed approach will generally bring in fewer numbers of
patients than would throwing a broad marketing fishing net over the
entire community. But, it costs less and the fish you catch won't be
ones you'll want to throw back! Rather, because of your homework
they'll be ready and willing to spend money in your practice.