Building Your Offline Community

Community, A Sound Commercial Strategy?

By Geoffrey Cooling

I have had a consistent thought process percolating for some time and I would appreciate some thoughts on it. I have a long held belief that the rise of Social media networks is intimately linked with the ongoing sense of loss of community that appears to be endemic in our society.

Moving forward with that as the foundation for my thoughts I considered community and thought about the forms or types of communities that exist. I postulated that a community as an entity, if integrated into your commercial strategy could definitely consolidate and grow your market position. It would also feed into your Patient Retention and Referral strategy.

Initially I would like to put forward the possible benefits that I believe would accrue from the strategy, then I will explain the strategy and its deployment.

Target Benefits:

  • Increased Patient Retention & Patient Referral
  • A strong Hard Differentiation for your business
  • A clear strategy for Customer Advocacy
  • Reduced Marketing costs
  • Market position consolidation and growth
So how do we achieve this with a simple strategy? My thoughts are based on the simple but powerful concept of community, that warm and fuzzy feeling, the happiness when we belong. We know that we as a humans have an almost overwhelming urge to belong and we are usually unhappy if we do not. In practice every day I saw Patients who were disconnected, from society and often from their families. This was the beginning of the thought process for me, it has by no means reached its conclusion yet. So enough blah de blah.
I have touched on this before in one of my posts, the concept in its deployment is simple enough. Initially the strategy would be to encourage group rehabilitation sessions for new users, which could be led or mentored with your input by experienced hearing instrument users. This concept can then be grown to regular coffee mornings or social outings based around your Practices community.
The strategy does not necessarily need to cost you much and if you get buy in from two or three Patients to the strategy, they may well run it for you. The idea is almost akin to a social club or set of social events that assist your Patients to become part of a wider community centred on your Practice. The deployment of the concept is something I need to think about more, such as what events, how they would look, what form they would take? Please give me your thoughts on this.

About Geoffrey Cooling

my name is Geoffrey Cooling and I am the author here at Just Audiology Stuff. I have been involved in the Hearing Healthcare Profession for several years now. I initially worked as a Hearing Healthcare Professional for a large national retailer in Ireland.

After several years in Practice I was approached to work for a manufacturer, where I was employed for five years. I am now the Co Founder of a business called Audiology Engine. We design websites, undertake content marketing and generally look after everything digital for audiological practices. I am also a contributor to many hearing profession periodicals and websites.

I have written two commercially available books, The Little Book of Hearing Aids which is written for hearing aid consumers and Audiology Marketing in a Digital World which is written for Audiology Practice Owners. They are both available in Paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon. I also write for consumers on the website Hearing Aid Know, which is a website with the mission of demystifying hearing aids, their types and their technology.

I have a great interest in commercial strategy as it applies to Healthcare in general and specifically to Hearing Healthcare. I also have a great interest in the psychology of sales and human interaction. I have been involved with social media for some time, both personally and professionally. I find the engagement and discourse on some social media channels fascinating.

I instituted social media strategy for the company I worked for as an experiment. That experiment soon spread throughout the company and I am proud to say that the company is probably one of the most active in the industry. I would like to point out that all views, opinions and thoughts here are mine own. Unless of course they have been planted by the pod people, you just can’t take your eyes off the pod people. Those views do not necessarily reflect upon any views or opinions held by my employer, if I ever get another one.

I think that our industry is in the middle of a time of huge change, I think that the change will be forced by both internal and external pressure. I think that private Independent Healthcare Practices will have to be smart and lithe of feet in order to meet these changes. I hope that some of my blatherings are of benefit to those Practices, Independent Hearing Healthcare Practices need to survive. I believe that if that occurs it will be of real benefit to Patients.

I hope that I, and my writings will play a small part in their continued success.

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