Differentiation, I Am Truly Amazing, Honestly!

Simply the best, really!

By Geoffrey Cooling

After my last post pertaining to the survival of Independent hearing healthcare Practices, there was a bit of a debate. The key was differentiation, how do you differentiate? One person said we all say we are the best, I thought really? If you have to tell people you are good at something you are lost already.

Of course you all know I am the best, right? I don’t really need to tell you that right? No really? Quiet at the back Miller! Fighting a losing battle here, so lets move on. Differentiation isn’t necessarily difficult, nor is it necessarily expensive. You can drive differentiation through;

Service Offering

Patient Journey

Charging model

Practice deployment

Patient communication strategy

Aftercare strategy

Patient engagement strategy

Differentiation is about elements that are different from your competitors. For the purpose of the last article and this one, I am treating Independent Practices as a block, not individual retailers. Your competitors are the chains, the big box retailers. Your competitors are good at their jobs and getting better. But they are only good at their job, which tends to be a quite limited narrow service offering.

They sell hearing instruments, that is what they do. They sell them and increasingly they look after their Patients for follow up quite well. As a rule, they do not offer any wider services than that. No balance and vestibular, no VRA, no Tinnitus Therapy services, no communication strategy courses, no real counselling or rehabilitation services, no pediatric services. So you can’t differentiate your service offering why?

The planned Patient Journey is something that has been leveraged very well by some of the big box retailers. They have a set journey with a cycle of visits that is in fact designed to increase Patient engagement and encourage re-sale. They shout about it, aftercare for the life of the aid! But it is presented as a set journey, for now, why don’t you start talking about custom journeys. Custom care plans that are set via consultation with the healthcare professional and their Patient.

It’s really a differing description, but it is more powerful and it is a differentiator. At least for a while. Practice deployment is another thing that the big box retailers are getting very good at. No matter which of their stores you are in, you know that you are in one of their stores. The current trend is for the modern clinical feel. Paint your Practice, put in new seating, present it as cosmopolitan comfortable. That is a differentiator.

So please, enough whining about differentiation, if you think clearly, honestly assess your business and your competitors business. You will know what to do. We aren’t talking about marketing hyperbole here, we are simply talking about using your god given brains to save your ass. So if ye all are quite finished whining and blaming the world, it’s brother’ oh and its second cousin, you know the one who was doing that until she upped and moved in with your man? Can we now move on to discussing strategies that will help Independents survive and remain relevant?




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About Geoffrey Cooling

Geoffrey Cooling is an Irish hearing care blogger and the author of The Little Book of Hearing Aids and Audiology Marketing in a Digital World. He has been involved in the Hearing Healthcare Profession since 2007 when he qualified as a hearing aid audiologist. He has worked in private practice and for a major hearing aid manufacturer. He has become recognised as an authority within the field of hearing care and hearing aids.


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  2. Hi…really like all your posts and insights…added a lot of value to me. Just one small question if you answer,,,,How do you create a differentiation when all the prospect is concerned about Price Discounts and all competitors position themselves as cheapest. I am not talking about manufacturer retail stores or Walmart’s of the world, but even independent hearing dispensers….?? HOW to handle such customers …??? and create a differentiator

    • Thank you for your kind comments Ashish. The key with pricing is that your price needs to be worth it. That sense of worth is not based on your belief, but the belief of the prospective Patient. If you will not play the price game, you need to differentiate yourself through procedure, service and your Practice placement or presentation.

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