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.
- 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.