This article is a guest article by a friend of mine named Matt Neal. Matt is a direct marketing guru, although he will hate me calling him that. I met Matt several years ago and I was amazed by his mail marketing pieces, they were really fresh. His Business is called ROC (Results Only Consulting) and he agreed to write a piece for me, enjoy.
A self-sufficient, obviously well-healed, and headstrong baby boomer walks into your office. Before he even meets with you, as he’s pouring a cup of coffee for himself, he exclaims, “I want a pair of Whiz Bang 5000’s! My buddy got a pair from the VA for free and he loves them! I’ve heard I can buy them at Costco, but I thought I would come and see you first.”
You’re thinking to yourself, “Oh no, this guy hasn’t even had a hearing evaluation and he’s telling me what to fit him with! Doesn’t he know I have literally devoted my entire life to make sure he gets the best outcome possible?”
Would you believe our marketing team encounters this scenario with our customers every day as well?
“This marketing approach worked for my owner friend in Anytown, let’s just use this. He’s paying this small amount of money and killing it, can you do it cheaper?”
We think, “This practice owner hasn’t even had a market evaluation and they are telling us what to do! Don’t they know we manage and watch up to 1,000 promotions a month, and have devoted our entire lives to get them the best outcome possible?”
We understand that you didn’t get into the hearing industry to be a zip code expert. That’s why we are here to help. Most of you hate marketing but have had to spend a lot of time doing it. If you try to do what we do, but lack the passion, science, and artistic love for it, you will not only hate it, but it will steal your most precious possession – time. It will also distract you from the reason you got into this industry- either to change people’s lives through better hearing or make money for your family and team.
So let’s talk about WHY this is, and then we want to give you four things you can do that will stress-test your marketing plan.
Why, why, why have you been enslaved to sitting around and trying to figure out how to get opportunities MONTH-IN-AND-MONTH-OUT?
1. You need to invest money to move forward both financially and passionately. Without butts in the seat every month you’ll go out of business. I’m sure you’ve noticed the, “Hey I was just walking by and thought I’d get my hearing checked” opportunities are a thing of the past. This is because someone is talking to these people before they “walk by” (it’s us).
2. The manufactures are not experts at marketing. They are experts at making hearing aids then selling them to you. They do produce marketing but as a service. They know you need to do something so they want to have an option for you. It’s almost impossible to be good at all the different marketing mediums. If they were awesome at it they wouldn’t use companies like ours.
3. You have had to wear the marketing hat because most of the marketers in this industry are not achieving a good ROI. Up to and until about 5 years ago a crappy marketing plan produced good results. The profit margins were larger. Simply put, the marketing was less risky. This is not the case anymore.
4. It’s a unique industry and even amazing marketers from other industries in each discipline can easily fail, after all you are trying to sell something nobody wants. Drawing together a battle-hardened team of hearing aid zip code nerds, hearing aid creative directors (that don’t just trust their gut or copy others), and production teams that can get it right 99% of the time is, in our minds, next to impossible. It is possible (We feel like we’ve done it) but you have to be willing to spend the money it takes, remain intentional, and stay patient, because your competition is, and if you don’t you’ll lose market share and mind share in your community.
Now that we’ve talked about a few reasons you’ve had to be the “marketing guru stand in”, let us show you the path out of crazy town 🙂
1. Know your numbers – You would be surprised with how many practices have no idea what their patient acquisition cost is and end up marketing by feel. Marketing by feel is a hearing practice’s downfall.
2. Hold yourself accountable for what your responsibility is – make sure you and your team don’t blow opportunities. Is someone listening to incoming calls and working on improvement training? Does your team want to grow? If they don’t, are you willing to take extra time to fortify your team or cut some loose? Do you know their numbers?
3. Hold your marketing partners accountable for their responsibility! Marketers are supposed to be opportunity makers. Simply put, what does it cost to make the phone ring? We should be able to share real-world numbers, and no marketer should use their clients as guinea pigs. Be careful with people who say stuff like, “You should try this new piece, it’s killing it over there” they know your desire for “something new” and are usually just using you to do their homework or make money.
4. Have a long term, proven plan in place. The most successful practices that we work with stay the course. We can’t tell you how many practice owners market on an “as needed” or “this one better be a home run because I forgot about last month” basis. Reactionary marketing in this rapidly changing market is dangerous. It doesn’t have to be that way.
We named our company Results Only Consulting, because results are what matters the most. Everyone wants to be creative and play a part in what they feel are the fun parts of marketing. This is best left to the experts. We spend millions of dollars perfecting results-driven marketing and learn from successes, but mostly failure. You simply don’t have enough money to run marketing “experiments”! We exist to create opportunities for you, that’s it! It is our “Why”!
We are an objective 3rd party viewpoint to give you an honest answer about where your marketing plan is taking you. We are not the “keep our mouths shut and take the money guys”. Just email us and set up a time to go over the details.
“Just when you think all hope is lost, ROC comes in and saves the day! ROC has become an instrumental partner in helping our clients position and market their practices. ROC assists with the campaign from start to finish – including call review and follow-up. This type of service exudes their commitment to customer satisfaction and success. Thanks ROC for all of your hard work in making advertising look easy!”
Kristin Billich, Consumer Marketing Associate, Oticon
If any of this was helpful or you have questions and comments please email us. If you have a topic or question that keeps bugging you and would like it addressed in future – email us and let us know.
Marketing minute tip of the month:
If you are touching your target audience on the old quarterly model, your competition is talking to them more.
Thanks for your time, and let’s CRUSH the competition.
We exist to create opportunities for YOU!
Even though Matt Neal is a direct mail expert with years of experience, he can be found doing much more than creating personalized mail strategies and licking the stamps and envelopes to make it happen. In his professional life, Matt consults businesses with their marketing, their sales strategies, and staff sales training. He believes in over educating his clientele so that no issue is too big a hurdle. Matt has faith in the power of direct mail and in empowering business owners, and their teams, to succeed.
When Matt isn’t creating opportunities for business owners, he can be found golfing, surfing, fishing, dirt biking, mountain biking, or hiking with his wife and two daughters. He loves the outdoors and spending time with his family. This leads Matt to spend any possible free time he has travelling with his kids to expose them to a variety of people and cultures. This past year, Matt made a point to take his family on a three-month road trip, exposing his eight and nine-year-old daughters to 38 states and the grandeur of the United States. He also spent Christmas sharing the majesty of Machu Picchu and the Inca and Aymara cultures with his daughters as well as fishing with his eight-year-old daughter in the waves of Costa Rica.