Planning Your Audiology Marketing Strategy For 2014
By Geoffrey Cooling
It has been an interesting year for our profession and our industry. At both a retail or Practice level and a manufacturer level. The discussions that we have had here and indeed the contributors to those discussions have been excellent. It seems more than probable that our business will change over the next few years in response to Patient demands.
The question is what will we do about and how will we prepare for it? I think each of us at retail level need to consider and plan for an unbundled model. In order to do so you need to investigate your cost per hour by Dispenser and then you can assess what your hourly rate is or should be. I am not saying you need to introduce it, but you need to know exactly what it is in case you have to introduce it.
Looking forward to next year and planning your audiology marketing strategy, what do you need to do? Assess this year of course, look at all your figures and your KPIs to assess how you did. Use that information to plan out your activity and focus points this year. In this way you can make informed decisions about the management of your Practice. Only with that information can you drive your business forward.
When you are looking at your marketing return on investment, remember that to mark any campaign or activity as a success the cost of the activity should be less than 12% of the return. I have heard some Practice owners talk about campaigns some times with the comment we broke even. When I question them further it is clear that they either just generated turnover and unit sales or actually lost out.
Don’t forget that there is a cost to every hearing instrument that is fitted. That cost including marketing is usually about 40% of the retail price depending on business model. When you factor that in you quickly realise just how much profit there is off any sale. It also quickly makes you realise what the break even point is on any campaign. A simple rule is look at the cost of the campaign, factor it as 12% of the notional return, do the maths and you know exactly what you hope that campaign brings in.
In other words an advert that costs 300 of your favourite currency should generate a return of 2,500 of your favourite currency in order to break even. Keep this in mind always when planning and assessing campaigns and you will never go wrong.Again use this calculation to set your marketing budget for next year. Base your budget for marketing on 12% of what your turnover was this year for the sake of ease. Then calculate a monthly marketing spend for each of your outlets. In this way you can begin to plan out your marketing activities for next year.
Look at your ROI on your audiology marketing activities last year, you need to assess the ones that gave you the best results. Why did they work, if used again will they perform as well? These are questions only you can answer, answer them and it will help you plan out your activities for the year. One thing is certain, there is nothing certain about marketing.
Things that have worked might not work again, but at least with all the factual data you can make informed decisions. The one thing I will say is that online activity is an imperative. It works and dependent on how you manage it, it gives a strong return on investment. Especially for small local businesses.
You should also look at your business levels over time for this year. There is always peaks and troughs for many reasons. Plan your twelve month marketing campaign around those peaks and troughs. Ask yourself is it worth doing extra marketing around the slow times ? Perhaps it would be more beneficial to sink more money into marketing at the busy times?
Unless you have the data to hand though, you can’t make decisions with any certainty. If you make one promise to yourself this New Years, make it I will gather the data obsessively. You need the sales source data to ascertain ROI on marketing. You need conversion rate by source data to understand which marketing is truly effective. You need to gather that data in order that you can them manipulate it to give you much needed answers.
Data is the key to good Practice management, you really need to believe that. It will give you the freedom to make intelligent decisions about your Practice. If you don’t collect it, you really don’t know what is happening in your business.